Psychological insights: Why our students and graduates suffer, and what we might do about it

As we seek in this conference to erase artificial or counterproductive divisions from our programs and institutions, I propose that the health and happiness of our students and graduates be placed squarely on the agenda. There are serious and well-documented problems of depression and emotional distress among both law students and lawyers, but while more overt professionalism problems are commonly discussed today, most teachers never address the questions of well-being or career satisfaction. My purpose here is to present a number of recent psychological findings which clarify the components of a satisfying, emotionally healthy life. I do so with the hope that these findings will provide individual teachers, and ultimately law faculties as a whole, with a framework to address constructively the problems of law student and lawyer distress.
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