Biglaw Chair Opens Up About His Struggles With Alcoholism

I stand before you as an alcoholic with 31 years of sobriety. I’ve never talked publicly about it.

—Husch Blackwell Chairman Greg Smith opened up about his addiction issues at the firm’s 2019 partner retreat. He went on to note, “Drinking was so much a part of the fabric of my everyday life, socially and professionally. How in the world was I going to succeed if I was not drinking as I had before?” But Smith found that by putting his career on the back burner for a year he had the time to begin treatment, “The shocking thing about this was how much my professional life improved without me trying… Basically, when you acknowledge your humanity and flaws, when you subjugate your ego and you try to live a balanced life, it’s amazing how much better an adviser, a trusted confidant you are to the people you represent.”

Smith also emphasized the importance of talking openly about addiction issues in the legal profession, “We have to quit whispering about this problem. I can’t tell you how many people talked to me about their own issues. Once you pull the curtain back, it’s a whole different environment. I think it’s important for people in leadership positions to talk about this.”

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