Lawyers are Stressed Out

Running a professional practice can be stressful.  To be successful, professionals often must work long hours, under tight time constraints, and respond to the needs of demanding clients, while simultaneously working to manage their business and market themselves to new clients.  For many professionals, the challenge of working in a professional practice is part of the reward.  However, for others, the work can at times be overwhelming. Statistically, an alarming percentage of the legal profession is stressed and, unfortunately, many are depressed.

Earlier this week, the American Bar Association House of Delegates voted to approve changes to the model rules on continuing legal education to require that attorneys complete one hour of substance abuse and mental health education every three years.  The ABA’s vote followed a study completed last year by the ABA’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which found that attorneys are more likely to suffer from substance abuse and mental health problems than other professions.

Currently, only four states – California, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina – require CLE credits for programs in substance abuse and mental health.  While the ABA model rules are only advisory, the change is intended to raise awareness of the issue, with the expectation that more states will incorporate these requirement into their mandatory CLE programs, and provide additional resources to professionals struggling with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse issues.

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  1. Jack

    How exactly is one hour of substance abuse education every three years supposed to help anyone who is inclined to abuse any type of substance?

  2. Thomas

    In Denmark, consistently rated the happiest place on Earth to live, people are paid based on the value they bring to society. Thus, garbage men earn more money than lawyers. Think about it: remove all garbage collectors and all lawyers from the U.S. for one year, and who will we miss first? Miss most? Lawyers cause depression and substance abuse more than they suffer from it.

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