Depression Is Rising as Lawyers Lose Jobs and Sense of Entitlement

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Mental health professionals and a legal blogger are noting a change in lawyer attitudes and depression rates.

Jobs and bonuses are being cut as the legal profession “lurches through its worst slump in decades,” the New York Times reports. The article notes the tally by the legal blog LawShucks, which found that large law firms cut more than 4,600 lawyer jobs last year. Now many young lawyers who went to law school expecting a life of security have found that the rules have changed.

The result: Morale and self-esteem are plunging.

Buffalo, N.Y., lawyer Daniel Lukasik, who operates the website and blog Lawyers with Depression, told the Times that traffic is up 25 percent since June. The New York City bar association is also seeing a change. Half of the lawyers seeking counseling from its outreach program indicate mental health is their primary concern, compared to 40 percent in 2005.

The Times spoke to David Lat, managing editor of the legal blog Above the Law, who said it’s harder for lawyers to maintain their esteem when contract legal work is outsourced to Bangalore and clients are buying do-it-yourself divorce kits at Office Depot.

“That sense of entitlement is so 2007,” Lat told the Times. In this economic environment, “to whine about how your firm no longer has chair massages on Friday seems a little petty.”

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