Lawyers battle addiction and depression, too. Now they’re starting to talk about it

During its annual luncheon on Friday, August 25, 2017, at the Biltmore Hotel, the Cuban American Bar Association featured Brian Cuban, a Dallas attorney and brother of Mark Cuban, to talk about his personal journey with addiction, eating disorders, depression and suicide attempts. Cuban said it was important to have difficult conversations as the rate of suicides among attorneys is growing.

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If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255

Cuban American Bar Assoc. Zeroes In On Attys’ Mental Health

By Carolina Bolado

Law360, Miami (August 25, 2017, 9:47 PM EDT) — After the suicide in June of a prominent Miami attorney rocked the local legal community, the Cuban American Bar Association is making mental health a focus, starting with an annual luncheon Friday that featured attorney Brian Cuban — brother of businessman Mark Cuban — to talk about his struggle with addiction and depression.

Cuban, who joked that he is “a Cuban, but not Cuban,” told the crowd of attorneys and judges how he would go into court high on cocaine and attend mediation sessions hung over from the previous night’s drinking. His struggle with addiction cost him his law practice, his clients and relationships with family members.

It came to a head in 2005, when his two brothers found him with a gun about to take his own life. At treatment centers, he noticed that a large number of people there seeking help were attorneys.

Now that he speaks publicly about his battles with depression, eating disorders and drugs, he says he gets emails every week from attorneys struggling with mental illness.

“I think lawyers are very reluctant to deal with how they got there,” Cuban said. “We bring our baggage to the courtroom, to the office, to the hearing.”

Dr. Samantha Behbahani, a licensed clinical psychologist in Miami, told the crowd that the perfectionist personalities prevalent in the legal profession increase the odds of suicide among those with depression. She noted that while the suicide rate in the general population in the U.S. is about 11 per 100,000 people, it’s six times higher for those in the legal profession.

CABA President Javier Lopez, a partner at KozyakTropin& Throckmorton LLP, said he had initially planned a standard panel of judges and attorneys to lead a discussion on a legal issue at the annual luncheon, but after the suicide in June of Colson Hicks Eidson partner Ervin Gonzalez, he began to think of how to shift the focus to mental health.

Lopez said that about a month after Gonzalez’s death, a manila folder with Cuban’s book about his battle with addiction, “The Addicted Lawyer,” landed on his desk. Lopez called and made a pitch to Cuban, saying the volunteer bar association could not afford to pay a speaking fee, but that the community was hurting and needed to hear his story.

He said he plans to continue to address the issue throughout his one-year term as president of the association, with more events and seminars, as well as using the CABA pro bono program to help attorneys who reach out for assistance.

“In the legal profession, we are scared of showing weakness,” Lopez told the attendees. “Make your practice a priority, but never make it the priority.”

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Hold Your Applause. Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors Are Not Showing Signs of Strength, Yet

Both luxury fashion companies topped earnings estimates but sales were still weak.

By Lindsay Rittenhouse

 “Remember when Krispy Kreme first came out and you had to go to their stores to get them?” Castro said. “As soon as they expanded and customers could start getting them at the grocery store, they became not special anymore.”

Last May, facing declining sales, doughnut maker Krispy Kreme sold itself for $1.35 billion to German food conglomerate JAB Holding, the same company that agreed to take Panera Bread Co. private in April in a deal worth $7.5 billion.

Castro applies that of why Krispy Kreme lost its appeal to both Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren—to survive, they must get their products out of outlets and department stores, narrow their availability. She does not expect retailers that fall somewhere in the middle on price, including Macy’s, to have a place in the evolving retail environment.

She added: “Put your seat belts on and get ready for a wild ride.”

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Making the grade as a trial lawyer

By Mark D. Killian

Early in Javier Lopez’s career, a senior member of his then firm called him into his office and told him to take a seat.

The more experienced, well-respected trial lawyer looked young Lopez in the eye and told him he had a problem with his work. The senior litigator told Lopez that while he had considerable skills, “You are about a B-plus, maybe an A-minus, but you will never be an A-plus trial lawyer.”

“And that’s what I wanted to be,” Lopez, now a partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton in Miami, told the Young Lawyers Division board at the Bar’s Annual Convention in Boca Raton, while accepting the division’s Diversity Award.

“And, he said, ‘Do you know why? Because you put your family and your faith before your practice,’” said Lopez, adding the partner then went on telling him about family events that he had missed because he was busy at the office.

“And if you ever want to be an A-plus lawyer, that is what you’ve got to do,” Lopez said his boss told him. “I asked him if I was fired, and he said, ‘No you are not, Lopez, but you need to think about this.’”

“So I walked out of the office and I thought: Awesome!” Lopez said. “That is awesome. I can be an A-minus lawyer and have my family and my faith and my friends as my priority. And I think, to be a trial lawyer, you need those things to be the priority in your life because it is about people, how you connect with clients, how you connect with juries.”

Lopez told the assembled young lawyers that while their practices are “absolutely a priority,” it should never be “the priority.”

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