The Lawyer’s Great Clinical Depression


No matter how exalted institution Law is, lawyers all around the globe are reportedly discontented and depressed. A recent poll suggests that 52% of practicing jurists appear to be vexed and displeased. However, financial constraints are not the reasons behind this situation of unhappiness. Law practitioners surpass the doctors as the highest paid professionals a long time ago. Lawyers are at greater risk to depression than the general population. The lawyers have astonishingly poor mental health. Use of alcohol and drugs are also common among the counselors. Many attorneys are retiring or leaving the profession as they are aware of how unhappy it makes them. Researchers at John Hopkins University found statistically significant elevations of major depressive disorder in only 3 of 104 occupations surveyed. When adjusted for sociodemographic, legal practitioners topped the list, suffering from depression at a rate of 3.6 times higher than employed persons generally. Even being the best-paid professionals in the world, they are demoralized to the extent of depression.

Chronic stress can trigger the onset of clinical depression. Advocates are the most frequently depressed occupational group in the US. legal eagles are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-solicitors. Depression and anxiety is cited by 26% of all barristers who seek counseling. 15% of people with clinical depression commit suicide.  Legal advisors rank 5th in incidence of suicide by occupation. 19% of jurists suffer from statistically significant elevated levels of depression, according to a survey conducted on proctors 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 jurists suffer from depression. 11% of North Carolina proctors suffer from suicide ideation.

Lawyers not so happy; Reasons: 

  • Field of Law: not so glamorous:

The field of law is plain as opposed to that portrayed by the media. It is described as demanding and stressful in reality. Any professional defender can crack under the excruciating pressure let alone an ordinary individual in a defenseless environment. The workload, strain and the exasperation all leads to an environment of ado.

  • Decision-making; restricted:

The latitude of decision making implies to the fact that the jurisprudent considers the choices to be limited and in some cases they are in reality. However, this factor is responsible for demoralizing the solicitors. There is one combination particularly inimical to health and moral: high job demands coupled with low decision latitude. Individuals with these jobs have much more coronary disease and depression than individuals in other three quadrants.

  • Pessimism; successful lawyer but not a happy lawyer:

Pessimism is a trait that makes a legal practitioner successful. The ability to deem any possible decoy or an evil eye in any case is just what a attorney needs. With pessimistic traits, lawyers can foresee any minor glitch that’s more likely to happen. Be that as it may, this quality might make a legist successful but it breeds unhappy humans.

  • Materialism; no ore goodwill:

Law all around the globe has become a win-loss game. One side loses and the other side wins. It is no more a win-win situation for everyone as it is in every profession. Per contra, a huge emotional cost is to be paid by the attorneys embedded in the win-loss quandary. It leads to severe anxiety, depression and sadness that gives birth to negative emotions in daily life. Pleaders are schooled to be diligent, arduous, highbrow and emotionally detached. These factor produce foreseeable emotive concerns for the legal practitioner: he or she will be disheartened, apprehensive and fuming a lot of the time.

Practical advice for legal practitioners:

  • Don’t ignore the mental health:

Poor mental health will lead to poor performance ultimately leading to the destruction of profession. The mental health should be taken seriously. The early signs exhibited should be treated as alarms. The impaired attorneys should seek help in the initial stages to avoid putting themselves and others in jeopardy.

  • Priorities should be set:

The counsellor should struggle for the action items that are significantly important than the others. The tasks that are less important should be avoided.

  • Evaluation of balance in life:

Balance is very important when it comes to living a peaceful life. It is imperative to keep a check on the emotional barometer. Realize the reasons behind the imbalance and make changes that will help you enable the equilibrium.

  • Goals should be realistic and practical:

The goals should be pragmatically set and past accomplishments must be kept in mind.

  • Mistakes are lessons:

Mistakes should be considered lessons. The errors we commit are essential. Mistakes should be seen as perfect fair shake at learning.

All these solutions can help a legal practitioner break free from the spell of depression that is common among lawyers. The anxiety and stress has wreaked havoc in the legal world but simple steps can easily turn the situation around.

About the author

Shahzaib Amin Malik

Mr. Malik is the Managing Editor of Global Legal Review and a lawyer by profession. He is known as a speaker and extra technical skills in the field of law. He has shown a different view to the legal world and brought a diversified change in legal profession through his analysis and research in different fields of law. He is currently working on few of the biggest legal projects in the world which will bring value in the legal field globally.