With October 10th is recognized as World Mental Health Day, the ABA has added its special recognition of Law Student Mental Health Day to highlight well-being at a particularly critical stage in a particularly stressful career.
Law school is harder than ever. As challenging as life in a prolonged pandemic is for everyone, law students have it particularly tough. Before the turmoil of Covid, research had already shown the connection between law school and declining mental health. According to The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, “Law students start law school with high life satisfaction and strong mental health measures. But within the first year of law school, they experience a significant increase in anxiety and depression. Research suggests that law students are among the most dissatisfied, demoralized, and depressed of any graduate student population.”
Among practicing lawyers, those earlier in their careers are suffering among the most, along with attorneys of color. Data from early 2021 collected by ALM Intelligence and Bloomberg show that two-thirds of junior and midlevel attorneys reported a decline in well-being, compared to only 41% of senior associates reporting such a decline. More broadly, younger people are experiencing increased psychological distress with climate and other global crises, while those over 60 are reportedly getting happier.
Fortunately, the legal profession recognizes this problem and is working on solutions. While the culture continues to shift for the better, there are key resources beyond the law school campus where law students in Massachusetts can find guidance to protect their mental health during this challenging time:
2. National organizations with student divisions, including:
- Mindfulness in Law Society Student Division
- ABA Law Student Division – NEW Program Replay Available! Protecting Well-Being in Law School and in the Transition to Law Practice
- National Bar Association Law Students Division
- National Black Law Students Association
3. Local organizations that offer free membership to law students, including:
- Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association (2021 Fall Student Reception is Oct. 15th! RSVP by Oct. 14.)
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Boston Bar Association
- Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association
4. Free & Confidential Consultations & Resources from us at LCL | Mass LOMAP, including:
Free & Confidential Consultations:
Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss concerns with a licensed therapist, law practice advisor, or both. Find more on scheduling here.