Is there a link between attorney substance abuse and malpractice?

If you count yourself among the many people across Florida who have recently hired an attorney, you probably did so with full confidence that the person you chose would advocate on your behalf to the fullest extent possible. Regrettably, however, some attorneys fail to hold up their end of the bargain, and this becomes increasingly common when they abuse alcohol – something that an alarming percentage of them admit to doing.

According to the American Bar Association, 18 percent of today’s practicing attorneys are “problem drinkers,” whereas only 10 percent of the general population meet the same terms. Additionally, attorneys who do drink too much typically continue to do so over time, with 25 percent of attorneys who have practiced for 20 years or longer meeting “problem drinker” criteria.

As you might imagine, abusing alcohol can make it difficult for anyone to keep up with the demands of a profession, and this holds true when it comes to practicing law. In fact, there is a definitive link between alcohol abuse among attorneys and their chances of being the subject of a legal malpractice lawsuit, with about 27 percent of disciplinary cases involving attorneys also involving substance abuse.

Just what is it about the law profession that makes those who work in it so likely to abuse alcohol? Practicing law is inherently stressful, for starters, which can lead many attorneys to drink. Some attorneys choose to drink in an effort to alleviate the intense pressure they may feel to win a case. Other lawyers may drink because they experience high levels of professional “burnout,” or because they regularly hear traumatic stories of clients, which can lead to something called Secondary Traumatic Stress.

This information about attorney substance abuse is informational in nature and does not constitute legal advice.


No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy



Jacksonville Office
1300 Riverplace Boulevard
Suite 401
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Toll Free: 866-542-1996
Phone: 904-396-1996
Fax: 904-396-1991
Map & Directions

Miami Office
1395 Brickell Avenue
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 305-200-8674
Phone: 305-200-8675
Fax: 305-200-8801
Map & Directions

West Palm Beach - By Appointment Only
301 Clematis Street
Suite 300
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Phone: 561-832-5991
Fax: 561-832-5985
Map & Directions

Panama City Office
305 Cherry Street
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-481-1386
Fax: 850-640-1247
Map & Directions

Tampa Office
10150 Highland Manor Drive
Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33610

Fax: 813-314-2163
Map & Directions