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Help for Lawyer Depression

As in the United States, lawyer depression is on the rise in the United Kingdom, as discussed in this piece, Why are lawyers miserable: want a list? (7/9/07), though the United States may still have a lock on the contest for most dissatisfied lawyers:

You see, as with everything else, America has been doing lawyer dissatisfaction bigger and better than us for decades. Polls have at various times established that not just a quarter, but up to 40 per cent of US lawyers want to leave their profession; and whereas British lawyers are only just waking up to the fact they are miserable and want to die, their American counterparts have been alert to it since 1989, which saw the publication of Deborah Arron’s Running From the Law: Why Good Lawyers are Getting Out of the Legal Profession.

But like the United States, the reasons for lawyer dissatisfaction in the United Kingdom are similar. The piece identifies these as (1) dehumanizing hours that negate the advantage of cash (not worth much if you can't spend it); (2) a gap between lawyers' intelligence and mind-numbing work; (3) the gap between ideals of those entering the profession and the reality; and (4) constantly dealing with negative public perception.

For those lawyers trying to grapple with depression, there's now a resource (hat tip to Evan Schaeffer at Illinois Trial Practice Blog): Daniel Lukasik's new blog, Lawyers With Depression. Lukasik, a lawyer who himself battled depression explains the need for his site:

The general sites about depression are useful and informative.  Yet, they don't particularly grasp a lawyer's predicament.   All or most bar associations have lawyer assistance and/or "Lawyers Helping Lawyers" programs.  These groups can be a good start to helping  lawyers with depression.  However, they often help lawyers with a multitude of problems:  alcoholism, drug addiction, other mental illnesses, gambling and other serious health problems.  When you check out  these  more traditional lawyer programs and/or websites, there is usually little information or support for lawyers struggling with depression.

It's true that sometimes lawyers whine about their plight, while those outside the law find it difficult to empathize with those who can't make themselves happy on $160,000 a year. As a result, lawyers feeling depressed often blame themselves for their inability to "snap out of it," which makes the problem even worse. Lukasnik's site makes unhappy lawyers realize that they're not alone and that they should take their depression seriously -- which is hopefully enough to start them on the path to treatment and eventually finding happiness.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 9, 2007 at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

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