I read recently about two disbarments of lawyers in Missouri – too bad they did not get help sooner. Jeffrey E. Bremer was disbarred after being caught sneaking heroin into a prison. Many many ethics violations occur because lawyers get addicted to drugs or alcohol. Lawyers get addicted to drugs and alcohol at two or three times the rate of the general population. Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure 16 states:
Substance abuse causes or contributes to incompetence and malpractice of the law by lawyers and judges, which damages the public and the legal profession. Substance abusers neglect clients, violate rules of professional and judicial conduct and commit crimes.
Lawyer Sean Bryant was disbarred after he stole money from his trust account for drugs and alcohol. The Post wrote that he took money for child support for a client and instead supported his habit. Click here for the article.
We encounter lawyers who are affected by drug addiction, and it is hard to know what to do about it. You don’t have to: Call MOLAP at (800) 688-7859 or visit their website here. MOLAP is a service of the Missouri Bar and has great resources. MOLAP is confidential and free. It does not report to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel and is not related to them.
The holidays are tougher for alcoholics and drug addicts. Have the courage to help impaired lawyers or other people you think might have a problem.