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Why are lawyers so depressed?

Lawyers’ wellbeing statistics are not a good read and scientists are still piecing together the reasons why this should be so, explains Dr Bob Murray

2 April 2019

Lawyers rank among the most depressed professionals. One in three of them contemplate suicide at least once a year and about 30 per cent suffer from clinical major depression. These are not good statistics. Something is very wrong. 

I work with lawyers mostly, but also with physicians, architects, accountants and many other high-stress professionals. 

I try to help them succeed whether they work in large or small firms. I listen to them – when I’m not giving a talk that is – because I want to know, and because that’s my job. Listening. 

I am a scientist and a clinical psychologist and as both I am trained to search for the hidden commonalities that bind people together. 

Sometimes that commonality is a symptom, and if that’s the case it’s sad. Overwhelmingly the symptom that I see in lawyers is anhedonia – the inability to find pleasure in everyday things, or sometimes pleasure and satisfaction in ...

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