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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Research Paper on Depression among Lawyers

Research Paper on Depression among Lawyers

Benjamin et al (1990) published an interesting yet alarming study about the prevalence of alcohol and cocaine users among lawyers.  In the study, it was found that the percentage of cocaine users among lawyers in Washington was twice the national average.  It was also found that around one-fifth of Arizona and Washington lawyers have developed depression that exceeded two standard deviations above the normal population mean.

The study reveals that depression knows no economic or professional boundaries. (Beck et al, 1996)  It is immaterial where a person is situated in the social scale.  It is also immaterial what one does for a living.  Everybody can be affected by depression.  Even lawyers can be affected by depression.  The only difference is that lawyers suffer depression more as a part of their job.  

It is a fact that many people dislike lawyers.  Lawyers are the ones who send demand letters to individuals who could not pay their debts.  Lawyers are the ones who file foreclosure cases so that the houses which have been mortgaged to banks maybe foreclosed.  Lawyers are the ones who file cases against individuals so that they will be placed in prison.  Lawyers are the ones who produce and manufacture evidence so that they will win in court.  Lawyers are the individuals who lie in court just so they could win their case in court and please their clients.

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Very few people understand the level of stress that lawyers face everyday.  Before a student becomes a lawyer he needs to study for years.  He needs to comply with all the requirements of his professors before he can pass all his subject.  Under pressure from his parents and family members a student needs to memorize the laws so that he may have a good chance at passing the bar.  The long years of studying do not end after passing the bar examinations.  In fact, the pressure becomes even worse since a lawyer needs to be able to prove himself before the prosecutor and the judge.  Female lawyers also realize that their working conditions as against the male lawyers are different at work.  They have to prove that they are at least as good as a male lawyer.  A lawyer also needs to prove himself to his client.  Legal practice is indeed very stressful. (Hagan & Kay, 51)

The public do not understand that when lawyers send out demand letters, foreclose mortgages, defend their criminal clients in court or tries to send suspects in court they are merely performing the duties of their profession.  It is part of their job.  Most lawyers who perform these jobs do not like what they are doing but they are nonetheless required to do so since it is their responsibility.  In the performance of the duties of their profession lawyers face tremendous amount of pressure that most of them who could not bear the pressure are forced to using cocaine and alcohol as an outlet.  In most cases, those who feel that they have failed go into depression. 

Yet, the pressure from work does not mean that they are justified from becoming cocaine users or abusers.  But they need help.  Perhaps, one reason why help is wanting for lawyers is that many people assume that they know what to do and they can handle the pressure.  Many feel that they are gifted at rationalization that they do not need outside help from their depressed state.  It is suggested that the Association of lawyers should not take the cases of depression among lawyers for granted. 


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