Lawyers And Mental Health Problems
Today on radio 774 Melbourne, a lawyer told host Rafael Epstein that 50% of all lawyers have mental health issues (notably depression). In answer to the question whether there is a problem with the legal system, the caller merely observed that, ‘Its the system’. And in my opinion, a system that damages lawyers and clients in ways that are unacceptable.
The legal system and the way law firms operate deeply affect the well being of lawyers. There is a lot written on this topic, but the plight of lawyers doesn’t attract public sympathy, so solutions have to come from within the ranks.
There are legendary lawyers from all over the globe who have stepped out of the system, and practised change for their own sake and that of their clients. Stu Webb, the founder of collaborative law, J Kim Wright, the author of ‘Lawyers as Peacemakers’ and founder of ‘Cutting Edge Law’ are two.
If more lawyers worked like these two, and harked back to the ideas of Ghandi and others, seeing themselves as peacemakers instead of warriors, the change would be profound. That is what I did when I walked away from a litigation practice some years ago now. Working in collaboration with clients, psychologists and financial planners has opened my eyes to the insanity of going to war instead of facilitating agreements and change.
I’m sad to hear that any lawyer accepts that the system will continue to exact its price, without seeing the opportunity to begin small or large changes for everyone’s benefit.
Melbourne Based Divorce Lawyer – Marguerite Picard Collaborative Law Practitioner