Well-being in the Profession

The Challenge: Addressing the culture, policies, and practices that undermine mental health and satisfaction within the profession

The Rhode Center has highlighted the challenges of and possible solutions to the issue of well-being in the profession. Our work includes inviting speakers to expose students to the challenges of mental health among lawyers and synthesizing research that points to promising paths forward.

We are also working to accelerate the effort in different states to remove questions about mental health from bar admissions. Until recently, most states asked bar applicants whether they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition and whether they had received treatment. Many states still ask these questions, and in a recent survey of law students, 44% reported that the “[p]otential threat to bar admission” “discourag[ed]” them from seeking help with a mental health issue.

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What's Ailing Lawyers?

Lawyers have higher rates of mental illness and substance abuse than most other professionals. This program looks at why, and what we can do about it.

Whats Ailing Lawyers Event

Related Publications

Managing Stress, Grief, and Mental Health Challenges in the Legal Profession

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Symposium: Mental Health and the Legal Profession

Additional Resources

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of surveyed law students reported that the “[p]otential threat to bar admission” “discourag[ed]” them from seeking help with a mental health issue. That figure was nearly 60% with respect to substance abuse. (Jaffe et al. 2022)

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Lawyers exhibit excess alcohol consumption twice as frequently as others with advanced professional degrees. Moreover, alcohol abuse in the legal profession has been getting worse—increasing dramatically over the last 15 years. (Listokin and Noonan 2021)

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One-quarter of women lawyers in California and DC contemplated leaving the profession due to mental health concerns, compared to 17% of men. (Anker and Krill 2021)

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