Are lawyers more likely to be depressed or are depressed people more likely to become lawyers?
Studies show that those that become lawyers then become depressed. Attorneys disproportionately suffer from substance abuse disorders and mental health problems. Some possible causes are due to the adversarial nature of the practice. Oftentimes lawyers are perfectionists and deal with the high pressure stakes that require a lawyer to always think of the worst case scenario and how to plan for it. Young lawyers are at particular risk. The Krill Study found that, contrary to previous studies, attorneys in the first 10 years of their practice are now suffering from the highest rates of problematic use, followed by attorneys practicing for 11 to 20 years, and continuing to decrease slightly from 21 years or more. Correspondingly, junior associates have the highest rates of problematic use, and the rates decrease as seniority increases.
Meredith S. Heller
Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC
- Principal, the Law Office of Meredith S. Heller PLLC
- Practice emphasizes criminal defense and professional responsibility
- Frequent speaker at CLEs on substance abuse and the profession, as well as professional ethics, generally
- Member of NYS Bar Association’s Task Force on Lawyer Wellbeing (chair, Emotional Wellbeing Subcommittee)
- Member of the New York City Bar Association (former chair, Professional Responsibility Committee; former chair, Lawyers Assistance Program Committee), New York State Bar Association (member of Professional Discipline Committee), New York Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and Federal Bar Council
- J.D. degree, Cardozo Law School; M.A. and B.A. degrees, Case Western Reserve University
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