Research: wannabe barristers are the biggest law student druggies

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By Jonathan Ames on

Legal Practice Course counterparts are the least keen, but when wannabe solicitors do take drugs they have penchant for cocaine


Wannabe barristers are the biggest druggies at law school — with more than 36% of them currently getting high, results from an exclusive Legal Cheek survey show.

Students on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) easily outstrip the general law school population with their taste for illegal and soon to be illegal drugs. Some 36.5% of them are currently taking drugs, 2.5 points more than law students generally.

Somewhat predictably, law students are significantly keener on getting stoned than their qualified lawyer elders. Yesterday, Legal Cheek revealed that 27% of lawyer and fee-earner respondents to the survey said they were currently taking drugs.

Undergraduate law students run the BPTC mob a close second; 36% of them said they were currently taking drugs. While following fairly close behind were those studying for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), with 34% currently still in contact with their dealers.


Wannabe solicitors turned out to be the Goody Two-shoes in the world of legal education. Only 26% of Legal Practice Course (LPC) students said they are currently taking drugs, which was even fewer than hyper-serious LLM students. Nearly 30% of those doing masters’ degrees currently indulge.

A perhaps surprising finding was that law students appear to be marginally more conservative than their qualified lawyer counterparts in relation to the legalisation of drugs. While 54% of lawyers supported decriminalisation, only 50% of all law students agreed.


Masters’ students were the biggest backers of legalising drugs, with nearly 60% in favour of the move. They were followed by GDLers on 54%, BPTC students on 53%, with LPC students again the least keen, on 46%.

The top three drugs of choice for law students currently partaking were marijuana, with 72.5% saying they enjoyed a spliff, followed by ecstasy (41.5%) and cocaine (22%).


And while LPC students seemed the most reluctant to get stoned, those that do are the keenest on having a night out with Uncle Charles. Some 43% of wannabe solicitors taking drugs said they took cocaine, followed by 39% of undergraduate law students.

Undergraduates were far and away the students most willing to throw caution to the wind and take drugs at their university premises. GDL students followed behind, with 33% nipping behind the metaphorical bike sheds at their law schools.

And while leading the law student drug-taking league table, wannabe barristers were the most reluctant to take a chance and spliff up or snort at law school. No respondent to the Legal Cheek survey from that category put a hand up to doing so.

That contrasted with future solicitors; 28.5% of LPC students responded that they had done drugs at law school.

Commenting on yesterday’s report on the survey’s findings regarding lawyers and drugs, Elizabeth Rimmer, the chief executive of charity LawCare, said:

It is not surprising that the survey is reporting a high use of drugs within the legal profession, as this may be associated with coping with the demands of the job. It is important to look at why lawyers may be turning to drugs and address what the underlying issues are — for example, life/work balance or difficult relationships with colleagues — as left unchecked there is a danger of developing a dependency on drugs which could affect social relationships and emotional and physical welfare.

Legal Cheek randomly surveyed readers last week, receiving more than 800 individual responses.


Exclusive Legal Cheek survey: 27% of lawyers take recreational drugs [Legal Cheek]