About one-fifth of lawyers and staffers considered suicide at some point in their careers, new survey says
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A new survey of lawyers and staff members hailing mostly from BigLaw has found that anxiety, depression and isolation remain at concerning levels, despite a slight decrease in the percentages since the survey last year.
The Mental Health Survey by Law.com and ALM Intelligence found that 67% of the respondents reported anxiety, 35% reported depression and 44% reported isolation, according to an article by Law.com.
The survey, conducted in March and April, asked respondents from around the world about their mental health and law firm environments in 2021.
The percentage of respondents who contemplated suicide at some point in their professional careers was 19%, the article reports.
In addition, 2.4% of the respondents said they had a drug problem, and 9.4% said they had an issue with alcoholic drinking.
About 74% of the respondents thought that their work environment contributed to their mental health issues. When asked about the factors that had a negative impact on mental health, top concerns were always being on call (72%), billable hour pressure (59%), client demands (57%), lack of sleep (55%) and lean staffing (49.5%).
The survey asked about the impact of remote work for the first time. About 59% said remote work increased their quality of life; about 62% said it increased the quality of home-based relationships; about 54% said it led to an increase in their billable hours; and 50% said it improved personal finances. But 76% said remote work hurt the quality of interpersonal relationships with colleagues.
More than 3,400 people responded to the survey. Thirty-five percent were from firms of more than 1,000 lawyers, and 33% were from firms with 501 to 1,000 lawyers. The rest came from midsize and smaller firms. Seventy-nine percent were from the United States.
About 36% of respondents were associates, about 23% were equity partners, and about 17% were nonequity partners. The rest were other timekeepers and staff members.
Resources for Lawyers
- The Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers is at ABAJournal.com/toolkit.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (800) 273-8255.
- A directory of LAP programs by state is at ABAJournal.com/lap.