Law’s toll

I’ve posted about the legal profession a few times in the past year, focusing on economics for the most part. The personal cost of a legal career does not received the same attention, which is why I recommend Even Lawyers Get the Blues: Opening Up About Depression from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required). The money quotation:

That lawyers are among the most miserable of men — and women — is well-known. Some 19% of lawyers suffer depression at any given time, compared with 6.7% of the population as a whole . . . one in five lawyers is a problem drinker, twice the national rate. Escalating billable-hours quotas fuel chronic overload, and the ceaseless deadlines and adversarial nature of the work feed anxiety. Some 19% of associate attorneys quit firms every year, research shows.

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  • Student224

    I’ve heard this claim all my life. To me though, it has always been strange to hear. My dad currently is a lawyer, and has been since I was born. He seems to be one of the few people I know who’s very satisfied and happy with his job. In fact, he calls going to work his vacation from my family of seven. He tells me that being a lawyer is stressful, but some people just handle it better than other. He tells me in order to succeed in being a lawyer, you have to be able to work under stressful conditions and you have to be able to accept making mistakes. A lot of the people my dad run into in his office, he says, they’re afraid to make mistakes. Fear in a way, always hinders your ability to reach your full potential. And when they do make a mistake, they kill themselves over them. What do you think are the keys to success in being a lawyer?