From Addiction and Disbarment to Law School Professorship with Kenneth Lawson [LGE 028]



Kenneth Lawson went from running a successful practice in Ohio to having his license revoked because of misconduct while addicted to prescription painkillers. He joins us to share his remarkable journey to redemption.

Ken Lawson is the Co-Director of the Hawai’i Innocence Project and an Associate Faculty Specialist at the William S. Richardson Law School where he teaches Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Professional Responsibility, Evidence, and Hawai’i Innocence Project.

What Kenneth Shares in This Episode:

  • His lack of self-esteem as a child, where that stemmed from, and how it affected his beliefs about himself
  • How he became the first African American lawyer at one of the largest firms in Cincinnati
  • Why fear of personal insecurity, failure, economic insecurity, and other fears held him back
  • What finally led him to leave his corporate position to open his own law practice
  • How he acquired Deion Sanders as a client
  • Despite being happier as a solo practitioner, Kenneth still felt like “something was missing”
  • His adoption and how he tracked down his biological mother
  • When he first realized he was addicted and how the addiction escalated
  • What led him to attend his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting
  • How he handled a public disbarment
  • Why going to prison might have been the wakeup call he needed
  • How he secured his current professor position with the University of Hawaii
  • The lesson he has learned about forgiving others and letting go of anger

Resources Mentioned:

If you’re licensed as an attorney in California and need addiction help and services, here are several resources for you.

The Other Bar

The Recovery Village

Hazelden

ABA Lawyer Assistance

A resource for rebuilding your finances after rehab

ABA Journal article about Kenneth and the road to redemption for disbarred lawyers

Contact Information:

Klawson3@hawaii.edu

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