Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Has Paul Newman Stereotype in "The Verdict" Come True? ~by Legal Pub

I remember when a movie starring Paul Newman titled "The Verdict" upset quite a few lawyers.  The movie portrayed the leading attorney as an alcoholic.  While the alcoholic attorney won a big case despite being outgunned, the movie portrayed the profession in a state of dysfunction.  Many attorneys spoke out publicly against the unfair portrayal of a clearly impaired attorney who tarnished the image of the trial attorney.  Some attorneys swore such alcoholics in the profession were a rare anomaly. However, recently CNN, announced the findings of a new study which strongly suggests that lawyers are struggling with depression, substance abuse, and alcoholism.  Furthermore, the study goes on to explain that the profession's suicide rates are quickly rising. Worst yet, the study concluded that there is a high percentage of practicing attorneys who are alcoholics.

A survey showed that a significant percentage of attorneys are unhappy with their legal job because of extreme stress from deadlines set by clients, partners, judges, and filing deadlines.  For some reason, lawyers complained of long hours of sitting at a desk and reading cases and/or technical documents. In an attempt to escape this stress, too many attorneys apparently drink heavily.

The American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation reported that approximately 21-36% of attorneys drink at levels consistent to alcohol addiction. (If true, this is 3-5 times higher than the general population.)  Please see The Journal of Addiction Medicine, 2016, for the published survey. Similarly, the study suggests high rates of depression among practicing attorneys. So why is substance abuse so rampant?  Is the practice of drinking away stress a generally accepted practice in the profession?  After all, attorneys all belong to the bar, right?  Wrong.  Excessive alcohol use is a poor escape that typically only adds to the attorney's problems.

If you know of an impaired lawyer or are an impaired lawyer, please contact your state bar association.  Almost every bar association has an impaired attorney help program.  The practice you save may be more than just a practice... it may be a life.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Halloween Hot Water Ends College Career of Jonnu Smith ~by Legal Pub

A Florida International University football player got in hot water.  Unfortunately, the reason why he was in hot water was because his pregnant girlfriend poured the water on him.  While not covered in many mainstream media outlets, this event was a serious assault, if true.  The injuries from the boiling water will prevent the victim from playing again in college. It is uncertain whether Jonnu Smith will ever have a chance to realize his dream of playing in the NFL.  

So why would his pregnant girlfriend, Mary Gaspar, throw boiling water on him?  The incident allegedly occurred after the couple had an argument on Halloween night.   Jonnu Smith, a tight end for FIU,  – was arguing with Gaspar, who is five months pregnant.  Mary's primary complaint was that she wasn't getting enough attention from Smith. After the last argument, Smith returned to his dorm on campus.  Gaspar then allegedly went to the dorm and poured a boiling pot of water on Smith. 

Gaspar told police that she was feeling “emotional and stressed.” Gaspar hit Smith with the water because Smith did not react properly to her words. Smith sustained severe burns to various parts of his body, including his head, neck, back and arm. Gaspar was charged with aggravated battery and released on a pre-trial release order.

Smith has officially been ruled out for the rest of the FIU season. Smith was projected to be selected in the late rounds of April’s NFL Draft. The tightend caught 39 passes this season for 441 yards and three touchdowns.  Smith has 175 career catches for 1936 yards and 17 touchdowns.