I practiced law for 20 years and have been reading about the problem of suicides among U.S. lawyers. I have to say I am not surprised. It’s not just the pressure, its our entire legal system starting with first year law school. I spent six years (my doctorate years) looking at what happens to law students. Law school essentially crushes their essence. We work them to death and dump heaps of cases on them that could have been easily summarized. We never really teach them how to learn the law or what is expected. We frighten them to death with the bell curve marking system and 100% final exams, and much more. Worst of all we reinforce the myths of scarcity and competition so they never feel safe or centered. Then to add insult to injury we convince them through our actions that the world is a bad place and that social and emotional intelligence and empathy are not only not irrelevant, but dangerous to practicing law. We must stop telling law students they need to find balance or seek help with depression when clearly the whole system is killing them. Note to self: Finish my book on Mindfulness for Lawyers. Anyone want to help me?
Here is my PhD article on the impact of first year law school: