November 6, 2007
A South Carolina lawyer became intoxicated in a bar, walked to a fraternity party and snorted "one or two" lines of cocaine. He was observed by a police officer and arrested. Notwithstanding his entry into a treatment program, the South Carolina Supreme Court had ordered that he be suspended on an interim basis. He had also suggested that false statements be made to two clients to conceal his entry into rehab, but the statements were not made.
The court rejected the recommendation of its Commission on Lawyer Conduct for an admonition with costs. Rather, the court suspended the lawyer for 90 days. (Mike Frisch)
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The facts of this case illustrate how addiction can quickly lead to serious misconduct that harms the lawyer/addict (his family), his client and, to no small degree, the profession. Lawyers Concerned For Lawyers is a better alternative than turning a blind eye to the obvious or rationalizing that one doesn't "know" that another lawyer has a drinking, drug or gambling addiction, or is suffering from a mental illness. Making referrals to Lawyers Concerned For Lawyers could be a significant component of self-regulation.
Posted by: W.R. Chambers | Nov 7, 2007 9:18:56 AM