Did you know that every year, all licensed attorneys in North Carolina must complete 12 hours of continuing legal education classes? That may be less surprising than the fact that, of those hours, attorneys have a specific requirement for completing a class regarding substance abuse. Not substance abuse of clients, but substance abuse among lawyers themselves! These classes regularly cite statistics about how common substance abuse issues are in the legal community.
Fortunately substance abuse is not an issue that I have ever struggled with, but it is a stark reminder that lawyers are not so superior to the clients they represent, including even our criminal clients. Have you ever had an attorney who seems exasperated by your situation? Who blames you for your predicament? No doubt we all make the beds that we are sleeping in, but when we as attorneys view our clients as “the other,” it only undermines the vitality of the attorney-client relationship. No matter your situation or identity, this firm will represent you with vigor, treating you with the respect that we would give a legal colleague. We all make mistakes, and we all fall into tough situations. — MLH