Among the numerous factors that seem to contribute to the greatly amplified rate of depression among lawyers is the fact that the sense of mission, of using a law degree to make a positive contribution to the world, which motivation many people to go to law school, can evaporate in the context of real-world ways to make a living and repay those humongous student loans. Some studies suggest that those lawyers whose work lives focus on doing good for society (typically lower paid jobs) are actually in better moods.
So it is always worth being on the lookout for opportunities to reconnect with mission, and I stumbled on one in a new article from Yale Law School about ways that lawyers and law students are teaming up with healthcare providers, recognizing that some of the kinds of changes that can be wrought through legal advocacy (e.g., housing) can have as great an impact on health and survival as medical treatments. Here is an attorney role in an endeavor that has no losers.
Turns out that the idea of “medical-legal partnership” is by no means limited to Yale, and that endeavors of this type are going on in many local medical centers and law firms. Here is a page that lists them. Seems like a good way to do something for your mission, and your mood.
Jeff Fortgang, PhD