ARTICLE: LAWYER DISTRESS: ALCOHOL-RELATED PROBLEMS AND OTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL CONCERNS AMONG A SAMPLE OF PRACTICING LAWYERS Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1995 Cleveland State University
Journal of Law and Health

ARTICLE: LAWYER DISTRESS: ALCOHOL-RELATED PROBLEMS AND OTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL CONCERNS AMONG A SAMPLE OF PRACTICING LAWYERS

1995/1996

10 J.L. & Health 1

Author

Connie J.A. Beck; 1 Bruce D. Sales 2 and G. Andrew H. Benjamin 3

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Psychological distress and alcoholism do not recognize socioeconomic or professional boundaries. 4 The increase in employee assistance programs and professional associations that are now actively addressing psychological distress and providing confidential counselling and alcohol treatment for their members is a testament to the rising concern about these issues. 5 One professional group, lawyers, is particularly subject to psychological distress which can manifest in a variety of counterproductive actions and impairment. This danger is of particular societal concern due to the influential and important roles played by lawyers as elected and appointed public officials, as policy advisors, and as advocates of public and private interests. 6

The findings of the research reported in this study, in conjunction with earlier studies, suggest that the professional and the personal well-being of lawyers is in serious jeopardy. Lawyers are working more, reducing vacation time, spending less time with family members, 7 are prone to alcohol abuse, 8 and face high levels of psychological distress. 9 The combination of elements suggests an impending crisis for lawyers' family lives. Although the data are not sufficient to suggest that psychological distress has detrimentally affected the lawyers' ability to practice competently, the warning signs are present. Further empirical study may well reveal that lawyer distress is having an adverse effect on the ability to practice competently and ethically.

The data and analyses presented below manifest a highly alarming fact: a significant percentage of practicing lawyers are experiencing a variety of significant psychological distress symptoms well beyond ...
 
 
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