News: CNN story “Why are lawyers killing themselves?” Will Air Tonight at 11:00 pm 12/20/2014

Rosa Flores and Rose Marie Arce, CNN, has written a story  that concentrates on Kentucky lawyers who have taken their own lives – “Why are lawyers killing themselves?

I must confess that these stories strike a nerve with me, but is the nerve one of anxiety and distress from reading about lawyers whom I knew, respected, and some were my close friends but had no clue of the inner demons they had taken up residence and had driven them to such an end?

Or is the nerve that I practice in a profession which we have jokingly referred to over the years as a “jealous mistress” and knowing she can be a cruel one, as well?

Or is it that the world we live in that sweeps death and dying under the rug?

My dislike is a little more complicated than any one of these reasons, but I guess I do not like reading these stories because of the hurt suffered by the lawyers and their families to go through the death, then the news stories, and then the scrutiny again, as well as what it says about us as a society, as a profession and as persons.

Many of the families have shared and aired their pain.  For us to feel bad is a disservice to them and the lawyers.  For us to do nothing and continue the treatment in hush tones is our shame; not theirs.

I read these stories and am relieved our bar association is taking steps to address the causes and the consequences; steps to no longer treat this as a dirty little secret, because it is not.

On an even more personal note, the CNN story jumped out at me, and nearly broke my heart when I read it this morning.  It started like this–

Finis Price III was a successful Kentucky lawyer, a popular professor, and a sought after technology consultant. He also enjoyed a marriage so close that his wife was also his business partner. The good days ended abruptly when he jumped to his death in 2012.

“Finis was my best friend since we were kids,” Heather Price said of her husband, who taught at Chase Law School at Northern Kentucky University and managed a thriving practice until his death at age 37.

“I intentionally presented it as an accident. The taboo and stigma of suicide was too much for me to handle,” she said.

Finis was probably my best friend since I got out of the Army.  Someone with whom we shouldered burdens as well as joys together.  Everything from discussing legal and life issues on Saturday mornings with Benham Sims at IHOP to me bringing him donuts as he waited in line in the wee hours of the morning to get the newest Apple product.

Finis Price KJA Table

This picture of Finis is one when he was working a booth at the Kentucky Justice Association convention, and I had helped him move his equipment from his car to the hotel display area.  When I was carrying a 24 inch monitor on my shoulder like an old boom box, he did not yell at me to be careful but rather went into his characteristic smile which covered his face, did that little laugh, then said  “Nice iPhone”.  Ouch.

His wife Heather and I went way back too.  We worked at the same law firm when I moved to Louisville, and I remember the time she came into my office, saw a picture on my shelf  and asked how I happened to know Diane.  Well, we are married, I said.  Then I learned Heather and Diane went back many, many years too.

Louisville.  The biggest small town in the world.

The practice of law is a jealous and cruel mistress.  It makes demands on us that none of our spouses would or could imagine.

The time is for us realize that social media is not social and not a substitute for fellowship.

The time is for us to realize that the hard fights in and out of court are not necessarily without personal consequences and civility and professionalism should trump winning at all costs.

Judges need to be respectful of the time that lawyers might waste in their courtroom for motion hour and frivolous issues.  Time wasted is money lost; and that, my friends, is distress.

I could go on, but I won’t.

We have been trained and are capable of handling stress.  That goes with the territory, but that does not mean we are equipped to handle stress well or alone.  And, I will not even talk about bad stress, aka distress.

I hope this story and those from the families help us all.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are inappropriate, offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

One thought on “News: CNN story “Why are lawyers killing themselves?” Will Air Tonight at 11:00 pm 12/20/2014

  1. Mike, your comments on the CNN story are very thoughtful. Than you for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.