Alcoholic lawyers targeted by new treatment centre

Lawyers are being targeted by a new luxury purpose-built addiction treatment centre in Kent as alcohol-related deaths in the legal profession are found to be double the national average.

Lawyers have the highest national mortality rate related to alcohol-related diseases and 30 per cent of male lawyers and 20 per cent of female lawyers “drink to excess”, according to research by LawCare, which is funded by the UK Law Societies, the Bar Council, ILEX and the Department for Constitutional Affairs,

The new centre Winthrop Hall is funded privately by highly successful vulture fund mogul John Moulton of Alchemy Partners, which unsuccessfully bid for Rover in 2000.

However, the current project undertaken by Moulton is in “his philanthropic capacity”, said CEO Leslie Reardon, although the centre is not a charity or not-for-profit organisation. But Reardon stressed that all profits made would be reinvested into the centre and that there would be several places at the centre that would be funded by Winthrop Hall on a pro bono basis.

The programme at Winthrop Hall costs £4,500 per week and is meant to last for six weeks, because research apparently shows that 6 weeks gives the best outcome. Those holding down jobs, however, can also discretely “slip into the service and out again” for shorter periods, “without [anyone] being none the wiser”, explained Reardon.

The centre incorporates the “12-step programme”, cognitive behaviour therapy and other approaches, though Reardon is keen to stress that it offers a “bespoke package for every individual client”.

The British Medical Association is also working on setting up a Lawyers’ Assistance Programme to aid members of the profession who have alcohol problems with a 24-hour helpline. Similar services already exist for dentists and doctors.