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At least 3,000 solicitors from City and large commercial practices are likely to have serious alcohol problems according to Barry Pritchard, the co-ordinator of the solicitors' charity Solcare.
Writing in The Lawyer this week, he reveals that in Solcare's first year of operation, all but two of the 83 solicitors it helped were from high street practices rather than large City or provincial commercial firms. Only 20 of them were sole practitioners.
Concerned by the lack of contact from solicitors in larger firms, Pritchard suggests this may mean problems were being covered up by the rest of the partnership.
"That is all very well in terms of risk management, but what about the individuals concerned?
"Are firms forcing people out, effectively dumping them on other unsuspecting firms? There is an issue here which larger firms need to address. Doing nothing is a recipe for disaster."
Citing a survey carried out by the Washington State Bar which revealed that 18 per cent of lawyers had an addiction of some kind, he estimates that of the 30,000 commercial firm lawyers who make up 40 per cent of the profession, at least 3,000 could have alcohol related problems.