Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Where Do the Problem Solvers Turn for Help?
I was saddened to learn that a bar colleague had taken his life earlier this month. According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, Attorney James F. Ripper hung himself at his Wethersfield home on November 13th. He was 64 years old. For our readers who knew Attorney Ripper, you may know that he was a well liked attorney with 37 years of practice under his belt. He operated a solo practice and had a clean disciplinary record. He was like any one of us. He had chosen a profession which often provides a lifetime of stress. I forward my sincerest condolences to his family. A tragic end to a long distinguished legal career. According to the CT Law Tribune, it appears that Attorney Ripper's problems can be traced to when the real estate bubble burst. Apparently the financial status of his practice, which focused on commercial and residential real estate transactions, worsened along with the nation's economic woes. As those in solo practice well know, rent becomes due, staff needs to be paid, and the lights need to stay on. According to the Tribune, State Grievance officials believe that faced with overwhelming debt, he may have reached the breaking point and dipped into his client fund account to the tune of $125,000. Desperate times leading to desperate measures. We spend our professional life as problem solvers. We don't look for help. We provide it. Without hesitation, we take the greatest problems of our clients upon our shoulders. Divorce, jail, bankruptcy...you name it, we deal with it. Is it no surprise that most of our bar bretheren balk at getting help? According to the American Bar Association, it is estimated that lawyers commit suicide up to six times more than the general population. In one of the sadder aspects of the tragic story of Attorney Ripper, his office was located on the Silas Deane Highway in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. If you travel a few doors down from his Real Estate Resources office, you will find the Connecticut office for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. This exceptional organization provides crisis intervention and reference services to Connecticut lawyers who find themselves in turmoil. If you are experiencing problems concerned with depression, alcohol dependence or other issues, please take a moment to get help. To learn more about Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers in Connecticut or to contribute, please visit them on the web at http://www.lclct.org/about.html or call them at 1-800-497-1422. Most states have similar services as well. Lawyers often take many problems on their shoulders. If you are having problems, there is help.
Posted 3:17 PM