Episode Notes

In this episode, Stephanie talks with Brian Cuban, author of The Addicted Lawyer. Hear Brian’s story of how he battled addiction to alcohol and cocaine starting in college, then law school, and finally as a practicing attorney.  

Brian and Stephanie also explore why a compassionate community is a must for everyone in the profession and three easy questions we can ask each other when we see worrisome signs.

Links from the episode:

Lawyers Depression Project  

The Addicted Lawyer 

If today's podcast resonates with you and you haven't read The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited yet, get the first chapter right now for free! Looking for help beyond the book? Check out our coaching community to see if it's right for you.

  • 6:31. The beginning of addiction
  • 17:31. The Peter Principle of Addiction in the legal profession
  • 21:17. Shame knows no hourly rate
  • 25:34. Priming lawyers to think about recovery



Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts 



Stephanie Everett (00:35): 

Hi, I’m Stephanie Everett. 


Zack Glaser (00:37): 

And I’m Zack. And this is episode 469 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Stephanie talks with Brian Cuban about his book, the Addicted Lawyer. 


Stephanie Everett (00:48): 

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual ReceptionistsNetDocuments  & LawPay. We wouldn’t be able to do our show without their support, so stay tuned because we’re going to tell you more about them in just a few minutes. 


Zack Glaser (00:59): 

So Stephanie, I and I think the entire Lawyerist team, were very pleased to have Brian Cuban on the podcast because he’s talking about very important matters here, and he’s very candid with his very important matters. And Brian talks a lot about addiction, as you can imagine with his book, the Addicted Lawyer. But in that, I think the conversation lends itself to a little bit different way of approaching the podcast this time. So we’ve got a little bit of change here. 


Stephanie Everett (01:31): 

Yeah, I mean, he even says that he thinks the power is in his story, like him being so honest and open about where he got to where he is now is part of what he does and what he teaches. And so I think what people are about to hear is that our conversation starts out and he very openly tells his story. To be honest, it flows a little different from our normal back and forth conversations we have for people. When I was having this conversation with him, it never felt appropriate for me to say, Hey, let’s take a break and hear from our sponsors. It’s just not how our story went. So in the moment I said, you know what? Let’s do this episode a little different. So if everybody will stay with us, we’re going to hear from our sponsors right now, and then we’re going to really have an uninterrupted conversation with Brian so that you can hear from him the power of his story and how it got him where he is now. And I hope that it helps anybody who may be struggling, but my cue is stay to the end because I think my biggest takeaway is what I need to do differently in my life, and it applies to everyone. And so I think there’s a powerful takeaway for everyone in this story. 


Zack Glaser (02:50): 

I think that’s a good point, is that we can all be on different levels of the spectrum as it relates to this topic, but it is, in my mind, important for every single person out there. 


Stephanie Everett (03:02): 

So let’s take a listen to the messages from our sponsors, and then you’ll hear my conversation with Brian. 


Zack Glaser: 

The Lawyerist Podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists. As an attorney. Do you ever wish you could be in two places at once? You could take a call while you’re in court, capture a lead during a meeting or schedule an appointment with a client while you’re elbow deep in an important case. Well, that’s where Posh comes in. They’re a team of professional, US-Based, live virtual receptionists available 24/7/365. They answer and transfer your calls, so you never miss an opportunity and you can devote more time to building your law firm. And with the Posh app you’re in total control of when your receptionist steps in. You can save as much as 40% off your current service provider’s rates. Even better, Posh is extending a special offer to Lawyerist listeners, visit posh.com/lawyerist to learn more and start your free trial of Posh Live Virtual Receptionist services.?  

And by LawPay. Don’t be the last to discover why the legal industry is raving about LawPay Pro. Say goodbye to manually recording your working hours and chasing down late payments.  Accurately track time, reclaim billable hours, and get paid faster with all the billing and invoicing features you need in one easy-to-use tool.  Plus, plans start as low as $19/month per user.   Visit www.lawpay.com/lawyerist to learn more. 

And by NetDocuments “As a lawyer, you’re working with thousands of client documents, trying to improve collaboration, and looking to leverage technologies that help make your work more efficient — All while keeping your confidential data secure. Experience a better way to work with NetDocuments — the #1 cloud-based document management platform for law firms of all sizes, whether you have one lawyer, or dozens. Find out why law firms are increasingly making the switch to NetDocuments to secure, organize, automate, and collaborate on their most important documents, emails, and digital discussions. To learn more, visit netdocuments.com/lawyerist (NetDocuments dot com slash Lawyerist). And for a limited time, Lawyerist listeners can get 10% off. Check it out and get started at netdocuments.com/lawyerist.” 


Brian Cuban (05:28): 

Hey, my name is Brian Cuban. I am a lawyer, although I no longer practice law. I’m a person in long-term recovery from alcohol and cocaine. As of this broadcast, I have over 16 years in long-term recovery. I am a mental health advocate and addiction recovery advocate primarily in the legal field. I’m also an author. I’ve written a couple books, my memoir called The Addicted Lawyer and my foray into novels, legal thrillers called The Ambulance Chaser. 


Stephanie Everett (05:57): 

Nice. Well, welcome to the show, Brian. I am so delighted to be able to talk to you today For those who might not be as familiar with your story. Obviously you mentioned it in your intro, but maybe you could briefly share your journey with us and how you got to where you are today. 


Brian Cuban (06:13): 

Sure. Just to give you the Reader’s Digest, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, though I live in Dallas now, I’m the middle of three boys. People might know my older brother Mark from the Shark Tank and the Dallas, Mavericks. I have a younger brother, Jeff. Neither of them have struggled with addiction. It all seemed to have fallen on me, and I’ve also struggled with bulimia and eating disorders. Yes, guys do get eating disorders. About 50% of all those with eating disorders are in fact male. That may be surprising to some of your listeners. By 18, I was struggling at Penn State University. I was struggling with alcohol, and by the time I graduated from Penn State, I was a full-blown alcoholic– alcohol use disorder. By the time I struggled with alcohol through law school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and that made it difficult to do as well. I graduated very near the bottom of my class. It’s funny, I didn’t even bother going to graduation because I was so ashamed and so ambivalent about law school, and it was all about my drinking and my binging and purging. But the serendipitous thing about that was back in 2021, during the ebb and flow of the pandemic, I was invited and gave the keynote commencement speech to their 2021 graduating class and wore the cap and gown for the first time. 


Stephanie Everett (07:36): 

Nice. Good for you. Congratulations. 


Brian Cuban (07:38): 

Thanks. I graduated Pitt Law as an alcoholic– alcohol use disorder, and alcoholic is a label. You can’t see me do it, but I put air quotes around alcoholic because it’s a label we give ourselves. It’s not a diagnosis. It’s a very often very helpful label, right? Because it allows many people to say, okay, maybe I am this and have a problem. But the actual diagnosis is alcohol use disorder, and there are a couple different empirical tools that are used such as the audit scale, A U D I T to determine whether someone has low alcohol use disorder, moderate alcohol use disorder, or severe alcohol use disorder. But for the purposes of this podcast, I’ll use alcoholic as the label. 


Stephanie Everett (08:20): 

I appreciate that. 


Brian Cuban (08:21): 

So I graduated from Pitt Law, then I moved to Dallas, Texas. The summer after I moved to Dallas, Texas I discovered cocaine, added that to my repertoire, and before I knew it, I was addicted to both alcohol and cocaine, and I was always a shy kid growing up. I was a heavy kid. I was even physically assaulted over my weight by some bullies. So I have a lot of trauma in my childhood, and it caused me to really have a very negative self-image, whether I got thin or muscular or whatever. I always saw this as I was often called at school, this quote unquote fat pig in the mirror. And so cocaine for a few moments, for a few seconds, for a minute, as long as the high lasted, I looked in the mirror and saw an attractive cool guy versus this awful kid, this self-hatred that I experienced in my young 24, 25 years every day. 



So I wanted that feeling and I became addicted to cocaine psychologically, and I would become physically dependent as well to different concepts, addiction and dependence. Dependence is how the body responds to the drug and comes to crave it, whether it’s opioids or cocaine or whatever else, whatever. Substance and addiction is more of a behavioral aspect, obsessive compulsive drug seeking behavior in the face of known and probable consequences. So I hit both of those. I failed the Texas bar three times. I did pass the Pennsylvania bar, but I failed the Texas bar three times because drugs and alcohol were more important than studying. The first time I took the Texas Bar exam in a roach infested Noell motel outside of Fort Worth, Texas. My study , the weekend before the exam, were three and a half ounces of cocaine, affectionately known as an eight ball, a fifth of Jack Daniels and a liter of tab and some Barbary books I’d borrowed that weekend. 



So as you might imagine, I failed and I failed again, but I finally would pass and become a Texas licensed attorney who was an alcoholic, who was addicted to cocaine and not quite the resume for the successful practice of law. I had my moments where I made good money, but was I an ethical lawyer? No. Was I a competent lawyer? Not always, certainly not. While I was struggling with drugs and alcohol. And so your listeners may be wondering, wow, does this guy still have his law license has been suspended? No, but I still have it. But it wasn’t for the lack of trying to lose it. And I say that tongue in cheek, but if you say open the Texas Bar Journal, and every state has their own bar journal, whatever they call it in the back, there tend to be what we unfortunately refer to as the pages of shame. 



You look in the back and you’re looking for the people have been to farred, suspended, reprimanded. It’s just sheer luck that my name didn’t end up in those pages. And if you were able to talk to a lot of those people, especially in the disbarments of suspensions, there’s going to be a pretty high correlation to drug and alcohol and other mental health issues. And it tends to be amongst solos in small firms that this occurs much more so than the big law and the am law and such. Although they struggle too. Those people struggle too. But you don’t have all the backstops. You have to catch it in the solo field because of the social isolation. Makes sense? And so at 25, I became suicidal. My first of two trips to a psychiatric facility. I was arrested for DWI. I beat that. I fortunately beat it one of my nine lives because the state trooper didn’t show up to testify against me and prove up the breathalyzer. 



That’s the only reason I beat it. And then three failed marriages. One more. I get a free set of steak knives, but all because of drugs and alcohol, although I have the one more and we’re very happy and been together over 18 years and are going on 18 years, lost all my clients. The word gets around, went to work for my brother Mark when he bought the Mavericks. That didn’t work out because of my drugs and alcohol. And here’s where privilege comes in. It got to the point where if not for a family supporting me, I’d have been on the street, I’d have been homeless, and it’s important. And I would be disingenuous not to acknowledge the privilege I have enjoyed in both addiction and recovery, whether it’s a skin color privilege, financial privilege, last name, privilege. I’ve had a lot of privilege that 99.9999% of the addiction population and population in general does not enjoy. 



But even when you talk about solos in a small firm in terms of privilege, even health insurance can be a privilege. I’ve had that as well because I know solos who don’t have health insurance. We have this trope that lawyers are all successful and they have this and that, but that’s not always the case. And there are lawyers though. Even though you have health insurance, you are de facto uninsured because the only way you could get it was to have a deductible so high and you don’t have the finances to meet that deductible, or you couldn’t afford insurance with adequate mental health coverage or any, we have to include it now, but it’s not really good mental health coverage or addiction coverage. So there are all kinds of layers of privilege with regards to addiction and mental health. They say addiction doesn’t discriminate in terms of it could hit any individual, but in terms of demographics, it kind of does. 



It’ll hit underprivileged demographics differently. It’ll hit socioeconomic demographics differently. So we have to always keep those things in mind, I think when talking about addiction and mental health. But for me, in my privilege, I still was unable to competently practice law. I was doing cocaine in the state courthouse in Dallas, the George Allen Courthouse. I was doing cocaine in the federal courthouse bathroom. I remember one of the last cases I tried, and it was a bench trial, not a huge deal. It was for the client, and I hadn’t prepared the way I should. And I’m driving down to the courthouse and I had a panic attack. I pulled over the side of the road and snorted cocaine off the back of my hand. That’s how I dealt with things with cocaine and alcohol. And so it got to the point where I was just existing. I was not practicing law. 



I really was just being supported by my family. And then in the Easter weekend, 2007, or I’m sorry, it was January, 2006, I was out at one of my week-long birthday bashes that started when the cocaine came into my possession and ended when the cocaine was gone. And I was out and I met a girl and she didn’t drink and drank light, didn’t do drugs. And we started dating. I guess I wore one of the last kind of fandom of the opera mask to convince her that I was this upstanding respectable lawyer and I wasn’t. And we started dating. We moved in together. And I remember when she moved in with me, one of my friends said, and this was 2006, one of my friends said, you do what you do. She doesn’t do what you do. How’s that going to work? And I said, well, I’m going to stop. 



And so now we’re in 2006, and my first line of cocaine was in 1987, and I’m finally entering the stages of change where I’m starting to think about this. But you could move in and out of the stages of change. And I moved right back out of it. She moved in with me. I’m just hiding it better. And people may ask, well, how do you hide that? You’re living with someone, you’re married. I talk to lawyers all the time. I mean, their spouses may suspect or this or that, but they’re hiding their cocaine use. They’re hiding their opioid use. They’re hiding their drinking to the degree they can’t or they think they are, right. They think they are. And I thought I was. I know she suspected that something wasn’t right. And it was Easter weekend, 2007, she went away for the weekend to visit her parents. 



I went out and the next thing I know was two days later, and I’m lying in bed, she’s looking down at me. It’s now Sunday evening, late afternoon. And this, she left Friday, I’d had an alcohol and drug induced blackout, and there was cocaine on the dresser. There was Xanax, black market, Xanax. I was cocaine through the night in Xanax. Through the day, I’ve gone to hearings under the influence of Xanax and still high on cocaine. I remember I got called down to a temporary ex parte T R O hearing where I just popped a Xanax. I went down there and I’m like, and the judge said, T R O denied. Fortunately, it was one that was going to, I was going win regardless. And that’s life. And that’s not where addiction is concerned in the legal profession. You think I’m a unicorn. But that’s not unusual. That is not unusual. 


Stephanie Everett (17:31): 

Were the judges, were other counsel aware? I mean, you talked about hiding it from this woman that you were seeing, but some might just be surprised to see, wow, somebody could show up high on cocaine and Xanax and function in a courtroom 


Brian Cuban (17:46): 

Function is a very relative term. Yeah. Yeah. Fair. Okay. There’s what I call the Peter principle of addiction in the legal profession. And this can apply to any profession, any job. So let’s say you’re working for a firm. Let’s say you’re billing. When you’re running on all cylinders, you’re sober. You’re giving a dollar 10 for a dollar, right? You’re just killing it. All of a sudden, drinking starts creeping in and all of a sudden it’s 90 cents for a dollar, all of a sense, it’s 80 cents for a dollar. All of a sudden, then you’re given 60 cents and 50 cents, right? And so what happens is the Peter principle, we work up to our level of incompetence, and then we’re supposed to, when we hit that level, absorb information, get that information and work higher, right? That’s how we advance in organizations. But what happens is with addiction, that line of incompetence keeps dropping, dropping, dropping, gets lower to the floor, lower to the floor. 



And instead of saying, maybe I have a problem, we kneel. We kneel under it. So we could tell ourselves, we’re still giving that dollar for a dollar and everything’s great. So at what point do people see that in the courtroom, in the law firm, whether it’s a colleague, if you’re a solo, it might be in the courtroom, you may not interact or a spouse, well, they may see it halfway up. They may see it three quarters up, but will they say anything? Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. I don’t want to get involved. So there are all kinds of reasons people give for tell themselves for not reaching out and saying, are you okay? So I don’t know that anyone didn’t notice it. What I know is no one said, are you okay? Does that make sense? 


Stephanie Everett (19:27): 

It does. And I’m sorry. I think we need to do better. That’s probably part of the reason you’re out here telling us this stuff. 


Brian Cuban (19:35): 

We are doing better. The legal profession as a whole is doing better. But I’ll circle over to my, because this was my rock bottom moment. So people probably wondering what prompted me. So I have this incident where she’s looking down and she didn’t know about any of this stuff. And I’m looking around trying to explain this law and order episode orgy of evidence that I might not be the person I represented myself to be. And all I could think of was take me back to blank. And I named the psychiatric facility I’d been to, and she’s, well, you’ve been to a psychiatric facility before. And obviously, well, we’ll talk about that later. And so we get down there and she’s crying and I’m thinking, she’s gone. I’d leave. And she stood by me and we dated for over a decade while rebuilt the broken trust. 



And now we’re going on six years of marriage and almost 18 years together. So not all relationships will survive it, but ours was able to. But I had to do the work for me, not for her, not for my cats, not for my parents, for my siblings, because spouses do leave, spouses pass away from diseases from cancer. Pets die. Parents die. And I’ve experienced many of these things in recovery. And all of those can be triggers for relapse, and it has to be stronger than all of those. But now I’m thinking, okay, should we go down to the psychiatric? We’re standing in the parking lot for the second time in my life of this facility. And at that moment, I decided I’d had enough why now and not when my brothers dragged me down to the same facility less than two years before when they came into my house and I had a 45 automatic on my nightstand. 



I can’t say if I could figure out that I’d win the Nobel Prize for mental health, but I don’t know. But I was ready and I didn’t want to lose my family. I remember that. And so the next day I began my journey in the rooms of 12 Step. I was also seeing a psychiatrist, and I finally got honest with my psychiatrist. I’d been another privilege, obviously lie in lie in lie. Well, why would you lie to your treatment provider, your psychiatrist? Well, shame knows no hourly rate. I was ashamed. And I finally got honest with him. And he suggested rehab treatment rehab’s a slang, but treatment. And I refuse because I was much too important a lawyer with no cases and no clients and no money to go to treatment. Ego, ego still way up here. But there was the 12 step room right next door. 



And for those who do not know what 12 step is, alcoholics Anonymous is the most well-known. But there are other 12 steps. There’s for opiate, for narcotics, there’s Celebrate Recovery, which is Christian-based. There are other 12 steps. There are several others skipping my mind. And so I walked into the room for the first time, April 8th, 2007. And when I sat down in that chair crying and I smelled, I wasn’t thinking about being an alcoholic, what was on my mind was if sitting in this chair, this uncomfortable hunk of plastic will allow me for the first time in my life to wake up the next day, walk to the bathroom mirror, birthday suit naked and love who I saw without the aid of alcohol or drugs, I would sit. And so I continued to sit and I continued. I still meet with my psychiatrist or speak to him, whether it’s Zoom or whatever. 



Once a week I take antidepressants. I decided to get out of the practice of law for many reasons. But I went to law school for all the wrong reasons. And that’s an issue as well that I see with law students. I speak at a lot of law schools and law student is there for, they don’t want to be there and they don’t want to be there. They have other passions. Maybe they’re first generation. Everyone in their family’s a lawyer. They have all these pressures and maybe they want to do this or they want to do that. And that kind of stress can exacerbate depression, can trip someone over into problem drinking. And what happens in law school, it’s called the kick the can syndrome. And this is important to young lawyers, whether it’s solo or in firms, because it’s natural to be afraid that you won’t get your license if you seek to anyone to help. 



Now things have changed and states are changing, but they’re not changing fast enough. The only question should be, can you practice law now? Are you okay now? It shouldn’t be. Have you ever received this? Have you ever received that treatment? Because of course, nobody wants to put that down on their application that could delay getting licensed. And I know people, it’s happened to, they put them through hell in different jurisdictions. And so they say, I’ll kick this can into the practice of law and I’ll deal with it later. I’ll think we’re a profession of thinkers. I’ll think my way through this later. And they do that, and it just gets worse and worse and worse. And then I’ll think through it later, later, later. Now I’m making money. Now I have a family now I’ve made partner. I’ll just later. And all of a sudden, the Peter principle of addictions at play, and it drops off a cliff, right? With malpractice, you wipe someone out on a highway or all the different things that can happen. You’re breathalyzed in the courtroom, see that happen. And now it’s not only mental health, but you have the state bar on you. 



That can become a real issue because the state bar’s job is they want you to seek help, but their job is to protect the public, protect the integrity of the profession. You steal money, you do that, and everyone wants you to get help, but you’re done. Yeah. 


Stephanie Everett (25:19): 

Obviously you’re very vocal with your story now and having written the book, I’m just curious, what do you hope your story can do? What do you want people to take away from hearing this and what kind of change are we working towards? 


Brian Cuban (25:34): 

I want people to know that we do recover. And that as counterintuitive as it seems in the moment that don’t do as I did, the goal should be to recover at the highest possible point as you’re going down, not the lowest possible point. Rock bottom is a misnomer that I hate because we shouldn’t be waiting to get disbarred to commit malpractice to go to prison before we seek recovery. Let’s try up here. And the problem becomes that when you’re right in the middle of it, there’s very little self-awareness that’s easier said than done. And people who may be struggling, listen. Yeah, right. It is easier said than done. So it becomes about compassionate community. And as my message to the individual struggling, my message is to their community, who is your community? Surround yourself with people who are not going to turn their head. And you have to be willing to look at someone, whether it’s a colleague, whether it’s a, and say, are you okay? 



Or if it’s just so bad, say you’re not okay. I don’t know why you’re slurring your words in front of the judge, but the judge isn’t saying, I’m going to say something. You’re going to get breathalyzed right in the courtroom. And then you’re in real trouble. And it may not be that drastic, but use the two ASLs. Say, are you okay? And before that conversation breaks say, do you know that you can come to me if there’s a problem? And if you’re really worried, say, are you really okay? How are you really doing? The three As rule with the emphasis? And they may say, fine, and they may go on their way, but at least you’ve opened the door in their mind. You may be the first person that’s ever asked if they’re okay, and at least you’ve opened a door. Now the red herring becomes, what do I do with that? 



If they say no, if they say, no, I’m not, I need help. Well, it can’t be performance art, obviously, because people know when you’re insincere. But we have to take it upon ourselves to understand, at least at a minimum, educate yourself on the Lawyer’s assistance programs in your jurisdiction and be prepared with that information at a bare minimum. And do not be afraid to call the Lawyer’s Assistance Program and let them know about this individual. I’ve had experienced, savvy, seasoned Lawyerist told me, I’m not calling them because I don’t want my name out there that I called, which is just a complete falsehood that that’s going to happen. And text as you can text to the tla, which I sat on their advisory committee for a couple of years, the Texas Lawyerist Assistance Program, it’s anonymous and by statute it is confidential in every single jurisdiction, however they phrase it. So it’s not going to get to the state bar. What will get to the state bar is or misconduct, 


Stephanie Everett (28:31): 



Brian Cuban (28:31): 

Yeah. So the Lawyer’s Assistance programs and understanding at least how they work is so important. I’ve talked to associates at law firms who have no idea, even today have no idea. They may have come into their firm or this, or the last education they got about it was in law school when the program, whether it’s Lawyerist concerned for Lawyerist, Lawyerist helping Lawyerist or TLA or whatever the name is in the jurisdiction of come into the law school, and that was the last they ever thought about it, think about it. Have it ready, have some information at your fingertips. It may be that may be that colleague that your best friend that’s struggling, you’d get that information for your best friend, right? At a minimum, if it’s not about empathy and compassionate community, let’s protect the integrity of the profession. 


Stephanie Everett (29:20): 

Yes. I mean, as you were talking, what really resonated with me is many states are now requiring on your annual application to say, if you’re a small firm, if something happened to you and you died, who would come in and help take over your files? This is a new question. We’re trying to get lawyers primed to thinking about this. We should have that same question for if you’re struggling, who’s your support system? 


Brian Cuban (29:46): 

Where would that question be though? 


Stephanie Everett (29:48): 

I mean, it could be, I think everywhere. I’m just thinking about this. 


Brian Cuban (29:52): 

Except you put that on a bar application, then it becomes the same stigma. Someone has to admit, someone makes me admit that I’m struggling. 


Stephanie Everett (29:59): 

I think every single person admitted to the profession should have a support system, and we should practice because you don’t have to be struggling with addiction to need support. I mean, I think that’s what I’m hearing you say is let’s help people before they hit rock bottom. 


Brian Cuban (30:15): 

Absolutely. Absolutely. Everyone should have compassionate community. And when I talk to people, again, I’m not a therapist, I’m only an expert in my own story, but I say, who loves you and who do you love? Because people in the midst of depression may think no one loves ’em. Well, who’s around you? You have my spouse, my kids, this and that. What? You don’t think they love you? What are you projecting out? What are you projecting out? And when it involves depression, that’s very tough. I struggle with clinical depression, major depressive disorder, and I still take antidepressants, and I’ve been suicidal in recovery. Mine exist independently of addiction. They’re often, they’re often intertwined, but they can also exist independently. So yeah, compassionate community is so important, whether it’s in the profession, whether it’s in our daily lives, our family life, who is you? Who are you surrounding yourself with? And it’s like spokes on the wheel for every emotion, for every feeling. Who’s your person? Who’s your person? We generally, when things are at their worst and we’re in that black hole, we project out that no one wants to hear. We don’t want to bother anyone. And suicidal ideation can come on in a second. In a second. I’ve been there. I’ve been there. So that is why compassionate community is so important to try to plug as many gaps as possible. 


Stephanie Everett (31:31): 

Yeah. I so love that. It resonates with me. I hope everyone listening, I know people will hear so much in your story no matter where they are in their path. Everyone needs compassionate community. 


Brian Cuban (31:45): 

Absolutely. And especially I’m a boomer, and especially for we’re aging. And you talked about having someone to take over. That’s an important question just from a cognitive standpoint, very. Because that’s a really tough, when you see somebody, a colleague who’s struggling in the courtroom, and it’s not alcohol or drugs, it’s a cognitive issue as they age or their office work is their pleadings or whatever, you just notice something. And that’s, man, that’s a tough question. So having that community who can watch and say, okay, how do we deal with that? And the Lawyer’s assistance programs can help with that discussion as well when you see someone who may be struggling with a cognitive issue. 


Stephanie Everett (32:28): 

Yeah, absolutely. So as we need to wrap up, are there any projects or initiatives or things that you’re learning about? One of our values around here is stay curious and I’m curious about what’s next for you in your journey. 


Brian Cuban (32:42): 

Well, I guess one outstanding resource that people are unaware of is the Lawyers’ Depression Project out of New York City. They offer anonymous groups and look it up. The Lawyers’ Depression Project. That is a great online resource. And if you are a lawyer who is just, again, we are a very 12 step oriented community. So the first thing that comes out of people’s minds is always 12 step. 12 step. And that’s fine. Although there are other ways to recover there. There are online, such as in the rooms, if you’re so afraid of making yourself known and just remember those laywers that you see going in there, they’re in there for a reason too, right? When you walk in there, I was so afraid of seeing lawyers. I knew, and when I walked in there, half the people in the room were lawyers. I knew in there, they’re in there for the same reason. 



But even in small communities, Texas has a lot of small counties. I’ve had, and in Florida too, I had a Florida lawyer tell me, I don’t go to 12 Step because someone might be on one of those. People might end up on my jury and I don’t want them. Whatever the reason, there’s always a reason not to begin the journey, but that’s normal as well before you finally get where you need to be. But there are resources like in the rooms you can go. Online meetings are much more accessible now since Covid. So utilize the online method where you can just use a pseudonym and have the meeting where you don’t have to show your face. So that’s a couple, and it’s for me, I continue to speak at law firms. I continue to speak at law schools. I’ve gotten into the fiction writing. I’ve gotten into fiction writing. I’m finishing up the manuscript of my new novel called The Body Brokers. And no, it’s not about harvesting body parts. It’s about a lawyer who gets drawn into the world of shady addiction treatment centers that are fronting for fentanyl distribution, that are really Fentanyl distribution fronts, trying to solve a murder. 


Stephanie Everett (34:39): 

Okay, well, we love a good thriller on our team, so I can’t wait to read that. We’re going to put all the resources that you just mentioned in the show notes to this episode, and also a link to your book, the Addicted Lawyer. I’m so grateful that you’re sharing your story in such a public way. Well, 


Brian Cuban (34:57): 

Thank you. 


Stephanie Everett (34:58): 

It’s so impactful. Thank you for being with us today. 


Brian Cuban (35:01): 

Thank you for having me. 



The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you. 

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Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett is the President of Lawyerist, where she leads the Lawyerist Lab program. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is a regular guest and co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

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Brian Cuban

Brian Cuban, the younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, is a Dallas-based attorney, author and addiction recovery advocate. He is a graduate of Penn State University and The University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Brian has been in long-term recovery from alcohol, cocaine and bulimia since April of 2007.  He currently resides in Dallas with his wife and two cats. 

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Last updated October 4th, 2023