Lawyers & Depression

Mental health issues in law schools have an impact on student retention, achievement and, ultimately, on bar admission. These concerns affect the future of the law profession. Below are some startling facts and statistics about depression and suicide in law school and in practicing lawyers.

  • Depression among law students is 8-9% prior to matriculation, 27% after one semester, 34% after 2 semesters, and 40% after 3 years.
  • Stress among law students is 96%, compared to 70% in med students and 43% in graduate students.
  • Entering law school, law students have a psychological profile similar to that of the general public. After law school, 20-40% have a psychological dysfunction.
  • Psychological distress, dissatisfaction and substance abuse that begin in law school follow many graduates into practice.
  • Only half of lawyers are very satisfied or satisfied with their work.
  • Chronic stress can trigger the onset of clinical depression.
  • Lawyers are the most frequently depressed occupational group in the US.
  • Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.
  • Depression and anxiety is cited by 26% of all lawyers who seek counseling.
  • 15% of people with clinical depression commit suicide.
  • Lawyers rank 5th in incidence of suicide by occupation.
  • 19% of lawyers suffer from statistically significant elevated levels of depression, according to a survey conducted on lawyers in Washington.
  • Over 25% of North Carolina lawyers experience physical symptoms of extreme anxiety at least three times per month during the year.
  • 37% of North Carolina lawyers suffer from depression.
  • 11% of North Carolina lawyers suffer from suicide ideation.

See Courting the Blues, commissioned by Australia’s Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation


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