Unhappiness of Lawyers

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O n B eing a H appy, H ealthy, a nd

E thical M ember o f a n U nhappy,
U nhealthy, a nd U nethical P rofession
Patrick J. S chiltz·

1. THE W ElLBEING OF LAWYERS.......................................... A.
Lawyers' P oor Health............................................. 1.
D epression
2.
Anxiety a nd O ther M ental filness
3.
Alcoholism a nd D rug Abuse.......................
4.
Divorce
5.
Suicide
6.
Physical H ealth
B.
Lawyers' Unhappiness
n. E xPLAINING THE POOR HEALm AND

UNHAPPINESS OF LAWYERS................................................ A.
The Hours.:.............................................................

B.
C.
I II.

The Money
The -Game-

THE E nnes OF LAWYERS................................................... A.
Practicing Law Ethically.......................................

B.
C.

Big Firm Culture.................................................... Becoming Unethical...............................................

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A uociate P rofeuor o f Law. Notre Dame Law School. I am grateful to Paul D.

C urington. Mark Cbopko. Roger C. Cramton. J ohn S. Elaon. Stephen Gillel'S. Geoffrey C.

Ha%ard. J r., D ouglu Laycock. Howani Lesnick. Sanford LeVUl8OD. Thomas D. Morgan. J ohn

Copeland Nagle. MichMl S toUt Paulaen. R obert E. Rodee, J r., Elizabeth R Schiltz, Thomas L.

Shatrer. David A. S keel J r .• a nd KeDt D. Syverod for t heir commeDtlI on earlier drafta o f thia

Article, and to William L. E ller. J ohn J . Luarue. Roeemane K. N ino. a nd Scott R Williama

for t heir r esearch u aiatance. I am also grateful to the ItudeDtlI enroUed i n t he Spring 1999

a enion o f t he -Religious Coosciouaoeu and L epJ T hought and Practice" aeminar a t t he

Univenity o f PeDnJylvania Law School for v etting t hi. ArtJcle for me.

871

V ANDERBILT L AW R EVIEW

72

[Vol. 52:871

IV. ON BEING A HAPpy, HEALTHY, AND ETHICAL LAWYER .•...
A.
B.

V.

"Big Picture- Aduice
"Little Picture-Aduice
1.
Avoid Working i n Large Law F irms--or in
Firms T hat Act Like Large Law F irms
a.
T raining
b.
Interesting or Challenging Work
c.
Collegiality......................................
d.
Keeping Doors Open
2.
Seek Alternatives to Private P racticeand Especially to Big Firm Practice .......... 3.
I f You Go to a Big Firm,
Make a S mart Choice..............
a.
Helping the Profession
b.
Helping Yourself
4.
Develop t he H abit of Acting Ethically.......

SOME PARTING WORDS

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yers. You would be wrong.- Contrary to t he old joke,· scientists have not replaced laboratory r ats w ith lawyers, a nd medical l iterature h as l ittle to say about t he well-being of attorneys. At t he s ame t ime, many law p rofessors-at l east those teaching a t t he fifty o r so schools t hat consider themselves to be in t he "Top Twenty"--do not c are m uch about lawyers. Increasingly, faculties o f e lite schools a nd a spiring elite schools consist of professors who have not practiced law,' who have little interest in teaching s tudents to practice law,' a nd who pay s cant a ttention to the work of practicing lawyers. 7 Even law profes­ sors like m e-law professors who practiced law for several years, who love teaching, a nd who are intensely interested in t he work o f law­ yers-ffUr, 3 2 J. OCCUPATIONAL MEo. 1079 (1990).

11. S tt id. a t 1081.
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13. S tt i d. a t 1081-83.
14. S tt id. a t 1083. P re·kiodergarten a nd l pedal e ducation t eachers auffer from MOO a t a rate 2.8 t imel h igher t han 8llpected, while l ecretariel l uffer froro MOO a t a r ate 1.9 t imel b laher than ellpectad. S tt id. ThUI, an attorney who d...
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