Avoiding Liability Bulletin – April 2016
Shortly after writing the March 2016 Bulletin, where I wrote about “driving under the influence” convictions leading to disciplinary action by a licensing authority, I learned of a study of alcohol use by lawyers and alcohol use, which has been described as rendering “alarming results.” The study was conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association, and it concluded that as many as one out of three lawyers is a problem drinker and one out of four has some form of depression or anxiety. The study’s conclusions raise concerns for public protection, that is, the concern about lawyers with alcohol problems representing clients.
I don’t know how a similar study of therapists, counselors and mental health practitioners of all licensures would measure up, but that aside, there appears to be a fair number of potential clients for practitioners who can market effectively to those particular drinkers described in the study! On a more sober note, it is not surprising that licensing boards for all professions take seriously criminal convictions involving drinking and driving. While such a conviction does not necessarily mean that enforcement action will be justified or ultimately taken against one’s license, the licensing authority, when notified of the conviction, will certainly inquire.