TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jun 9, 2021

The legal profession may struggle to identify lawyers experiencing cognitive decline, partly because lawyers are good at hiding their problems and redirecting conversations, according to the ABA Journal. The chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs also tells Bloomberg Law that lawyers tend to think they are invincible and find their identities closely intertwined with their work, both of which make it difficult to recognize when it is time to retire. Though no statistics exist regarding the prevalence of dementia in the profession, the number of practicing lawyers older than age 65 has increased more than 50% over the last decade and the legal field has double the percentage of older individuals than the general working population — all of which suggests this issue could be worse for the legal field. States vary on whether they require lawyers to report or intervene when another lawyer is impaired. At least a dozen have issued ethics opinions on duties, as has the American Bar Association.