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CHARLES Elly is set to become the first Law Society president to campaign on the problem of alcoholism in the profession.
A speech to the September meeting of the Lawyers Support Group may end criticism levelled at the society of sweeping the problem under the carpet.
Elly has been campaigning on the subject for four years and is keen to use his presidency to help in this area.
He says: "I would agree that I will be the first president to speak about this issue. I am doing it first to help the solicitors concerned, and also to protect clients and the Law Society. Alcoholism costs us a lot of money through claims for negligence.
"More could be done to create awareness of it and to tackle it."
The society is funding research into alcoholism among lawyers. According to Alcohol Concern, the alcohol mortality rate in the legal profession is 55 per cent above the national
average, but below other professionals such as doctors.
The Lawyers Support Group says some 100 lawyers are on its books out of an estimated 3,000 alcoholics.
But recovering alcoholic solicitor Andrew Robinson, a member of the support group, remembers the days when "basically, they were far more worried about senility".
Elly will speak at 11am on 10 September at the Great Eastern Hotel above Liverpool Street Station in London. Details on 081-870 1601.