Who you calling crazy?

Posted Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Humor?, Law and Culture, Of Interest to Family Law Attorneys, South Carolina Specific

Today the South Carolina Supreme Court, at the request of our state bar, promulgated new rules requiring all attorneys and judges to attend one hour of legal ethics/professional responsibility education every three years “devoted exclusively to instruction in substance abuse or mental health issues and the legal profession.”  The Supreme Court’s rationale was that “members of the legal profession tend to suffer from higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide than other professions.”

So every three years one hour of my life will be spent listening to someone explain how and why I should avoid “depression, substance abuse, and suicide.”  How depressing.  I think I need a drink.

9 thoughts on Who you calling crazy?

  1. As a recoverying alcoholic with more than twenty-six years of sobriety, I look forward to attending annual seminars the length of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting so that I can learn about A.A. I wonder if I can get A.A. meetings approved for seminar credit.

    1. Thomas:

      My issue with this new requirement is the for the 80+% of the profession that isn’t at risk for depression, substance abuse and suicide, this will take away from legal ethics CLE time that would be useful. For the remaining 20%, most will either already be in treatment or be in denial about their need for treatment. I suspect only a very small percentage of attorneys will benefit from a requirement that we are now all required to meet.

  2. Linda says:

    oh, good! is it byob?

  3. I had previously run across this issue some time back while searching articles / issues in re. Prof. Roy Stuckey. I realize some will be unhappy about it for perfectly rational reasons. However, if I had my say in the matter there would also be random drug testing. (Hehehe) Some folks should be happy they have Jean instead of Lilly.

    1. Lilly,

      Usually I find your comments insightful if occasionally off topic. However, why would you ever think it’s advisable to randomly drug test attorneys? Why should I have to be subject to unreasonable searches simply to satisfy someone else’s curiosity?

      Except for jobs that are dangerous or involve security issues, I have a problem with any employer doing random drug tests of its employees. However given that employment situations are voluntary, it’s each employee’s decision whether to submit to such testing or find other work.

      I think the United States Supreme Court made a huge mistake in the case of Vernonia School Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 US 64 (1995) in allowing high schools to require drug testing of all high school students who wish to participate in interscholastic athletics and later, in Board of Ed. of Independent School Dist. No. 92 of Pottawatomie Cty. v. Earls, 536 US 822 (2002), expanding this holding to any students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities (great way to teach young adults that the law gives “lip service” to civil liberties). I don’t work for the South Carolina Bar and the bar has no right to drug test me.

      Do you really believe that lawyers should be subjected to random drug tests or are you merely trying to be provocative?

  4. I could just as easily take umbrage over the random drug testing of patients who are prescribed pain medication by their physicians. What interest does the government have in the profession of medicine and the private relationship between doctor and patient?

    The practice of law would have a higher probability of an impact on the public at large than the private relationship of doctor and patient. Stare decisis is followed in law—not medicine.

    The real question is my gentle person—what is the government’s interest in any of this? Life isn’t always just about you Gregory. (kiss/kiss)

    1. Lilly:

      There is a United States Supreme Court case, Ferguson v. Charleston, 532 US 67 (2001), in which MUSC’s drug testing of expectant mothers was found to be a civil rights violation. In fact one of my mentors, Susan Dunn, was one of the attorneys for these mothers.

  5. Erin says:

    Here in Texas, where I am in need of prescriptive pain meds due to a chronic and serious medical condition which has required even chemotherapy at times, I am required to submit to random drug testing by the government. Any doctor that prescribes pain medications to a patient is required to test randomly at the minimum of annually. So while they may have backed off on expectant mothers, the government does still have its nose in my medical business.

    My daughter was an athlete and had to agree to random drug and steriod testing as well as annual classes by UIL regarding these risks and dangers. She had the choice of NOT participating in sports or submitting. Just as you have the choice of practicing law and doing a different line of work. Keep in mind that many of our most influential people in this country are lawyers. Most of which are politicians and “the government” that are going around making these rules. So while I hear your issue with it, I have to say in your case most of those that are making the laws are in fact lawyers! lol.. You gotta see the irony there huh?

  6. Greg: I appreciate the concern. However, the CLE is not just so you or some other lawyer can recognize they have a problem. It is so you can be informed enough to to recognize that your law partner, co counsel, opposing counsel, associate or judge have a problem–and what to do about it. Our SC Bar Lawyers Helping Lawyers program gets almost NO self referrals. It is almost always someone calling about someone else. We want to make we take care of each other.

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