Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday At The Bar: The Lawyer, the Addict A high-powered Silicon Valley attorney dies. His ex-wife investigates, and finds a web of drug abuse in his profession

A New York Times article that may be a bit of a shocker for people outside the profession of law:
Indeed, I ran across this comment in regards to it:
Did anyone else that read this article get freaked out? Not with the drug problem, but how someone can get so lost in their work?
So posts some special snowflake who is a law student.Surprised that somebody can get that lost in their work?  Lost in their work is the lawyers norm.

For most practicing lawyers, no matter what they do, not a day goes by where they don't think about their work.  And for many of them the assumption by people that they knew that they're some sort of alternative species that does nothing but think about the law anyhow, something like Homo Sapiens Lex, is so strong that somebody will bring it up no matter what.  I've been asked legal questions by people I know in locations as diverse as sporting shows and church.  I've been called at every hour of the day and every day of the week.  

Which is why, in part, there's "drug abuse in [the] profession", particularly if we consider alcohol to be a drug, which of course it is.

Alcohol, drug abuse, and addictive and destructive behaviors of all sorts of types, are rampant in the law.  I don't know if they've always been.  I suspect that they have not been to the current extent, but I also suspect that it's always been some sort of problem.  The "drunk lawyer" is a stereotype actually, and shows up in portrayals of lawyers fairly routinely.  The assisting lawyer in Anatomy of a Murder, is an aged alcoholic whom it is implied was brilliant but who fell into the bottle due to his work.  The protagonist in The Verdict is a dedicated alcoholic.  Interestingly, and perhaps saying something about the nature of their profession, alcoholic doctors is also a common theme in legal dramas.

I've never met an alcoholic doctor.  Physicians are pretty clean living in my observation, but I have seen alcohol and drugs take their toll in the legal world.  I frankly think that it's because a lot of lawyers are overcome by the stress of their work and take to alcohol and drugs.  It's pretty well known within the profession itself, which is why I'm surprised a bit by the comments from those who knew the fellow about that they were surprised by what happened to him and hadn't seen the signs.  If there were no signs, and indeed perhaps they were not, he must have kept them extremely well hidden.

Which brings me back to snowflake.  If you are surprised by this now, you have a real eye opener coming your way when you start working.

No comments: