Hazelden Launches Addiction Treatment Program Just for Lawyers

First, treat all the lawyers.

Or so says Hazelden, the Minnesota-based addiction treatment center, which has, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog (WSJ), created what might be the first in-patient program in the nation specifically designed for attorneys.

And it might not be a bad idea. While the WSJ blog post didn’t cite any specific studies, it noted that, “Studies have shown that [lawyers] have twice the addiction rate of the general population and are three times as likely to be depressed.”

The new Legal Professionals Program at Hazelden is overseen by its creator, Link Christin, a former lawyer in recovery from alcohol addiction. He said, “Lawyers are tremendously treatment resistant. They are nervous and [cautious] about committing to treatment and risking their reputations.”

According to The National Law Journal (free registration required), the actual treatment regimen is very similar to standard treatment — for example, patients meet individually with counselors and also in groups, and the inpatient program is about a month long.

So what’s different? Three of the treatment counselors are lawyers, and all of the other people in treatment groups are lawyers, too. They can attend a 12-step meeting in Minneapolis/St. Paul that’s just for lawyers.

And they get help repairing their careers when they leave.

Christin said that an inpatient program is helpful for attorneys. “We think this program lets lawyers put all their energy and attention into their treatment,” he said. “They often come here with lots of career concerns, and we don’t want them to be distracted by that during treatment.”


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