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Lawyers On Drugs

July 18, 2017

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Secretly strung out on drugs, the Wilson Sonsini IP attorney had became increasingly erratic and distant from his family, while still managing to keep up on his work, before eventually dying of an infection attributable to intravenous drug use. The writer of this first-person article – the lawyer’s ex-wife who found him dead on the floor – says the last item on his cell phone record was a conference call, which he managed to make even though he was vomiting and too sick to sit up. In doing the article, she attempted to understand the last year of his life, why no one saw what was happening, and to what extent his story is part of a larger picture. “The further I probed,” she writes, “the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden.” A number of studies are said to have found that people who go into law school are healthier – less prone to depression and substance abuse – than the general population, but that in school something happens and they come out “significantly impaired,” and that from there things can get more complicated. There seems to be something about the practice, explains one lawyer. Being a surgeon is stressful, too, he says, “but not in the same way. It would be like having another surgeon across the table from you trying to undo your operation.

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