Cited Article

Lawyer Distress: Alcohol-Related Problems and Other Psychological Concerns Among a Sample of Practicing Lawyers

Case Citation

Iowa S.C. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Grotewald, 642 N.W.2d 288 (Iowa 2001)

Background

Suspending an attorney's license for sixty days for neglecting client matters, making misrepresentations to the district court, and failing to timely respond to the disciplinary board; his depression was a mitigating factor in imposing discipline.

Citing Quote

The evidence in this case reveals that serious depression often results from chemical imbalances in the brain that cause those afflicted to be plagued by growing and overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair. It also reveals that depression can take hold of a person without his or her knowledge or understanding of the need for treatment. The same type of evidence revealed in this case has been the subject of articles in professional journals describing the impact of depression on lawyers. See Gary L. Bakke, Brainstorm, My Experience with Depression , 61 The Iowa Lawyer, Mar. 2001, at 5, 5-7 (personal composition by President of the Wisconsin State Bar Association) [hereinafter Bakke]; see also Dennis W. Kozich, Status of Stress in the Legal Profession , 70 Wis. Lawyer, May 1997, at 31, 31 (discussing stress-related problems connected with the legal profession); Gregory J. Van Rybroek, Lawyers and Stress: An Anti-Quick Fix View , 70 Wis. Lawyer, May 1997, at 30, 30-31 (same). See generally Connie J.A. Beck et al., Lawyer Distress: Alcohol-Related Problems and Other Psychological Concerns Among A Sample of Practicing Lawyers , 10 J.L. & Health 1, 1-60 (1995-96) (compilation of results from extensive study of psychological distresses, including depression, and additional afflictions affecting lawyers) [hereinafter Beck et al.]. We also observed the same type of evidence in a recent attorney disciplinary proceeding. See Iowa Supreme Ct. Bd. of Prof'l Ethics & Conduct v. Erbes , 604 N.W.2d 656, 658 (Iowa 2000). With the state of mind brought on by depression, it is understandable how neglect, and even excuses for nonperformance, can become part of the disease. See Beck et al., 10 J.L. & Health at 1-5; Bakke, 61 The Iowa Lawyer, Mar. 2001, at 6. Thus, unethical professional conduct can double as a symptom of depression. See Beck et al., 10 J.L. & Health at 2. Moreover, these symptoms too often appear before the disease is diagnosed and treatment is sought. See Bakke, 61 The Iowa Lawyer, Mar. 2001, at 5-6.

Article Publication Date

1995

Volume

10

Issue

1