In recent years there is a raise in the number of articles that concern the psychologi- cal state, health and wellbeing of lawyers all over the world. From India (Patel, Rajderkar & Naik, 2012), Sri Lanka (Samarasekara, Yajid, Khatibi, & Perera, 2015) and Taiwan (Tsai, Huang, & Chan, 2009) through Australia (Chan, Poynton & Bruce, 2014) and the United Kingdom (Mills, 2010) to the United States of America (Clarke, 2015; Daicoff, 1998) lawyers, psychologist and researchers are trying to raise awareness to issues related to lawyers’ increased experience of work stress and job dissatisfaction leading to alcohol abuse, depression and suicides.
Catrin Mills (2010) reviewed publications and studies that declared lawyers for one of the most stressed and dissatisfied occupations in the United Kingdom. Levels of alcohol and drug abuse, suicide incidents amongst lawyers and the number of lawyers who wanted the leave the profession were rising.
Concerned about lawyers’ mental health Chan, Poynton and Bruce (2014) re- ported results from the first Australian study of relationships between stress, anxiety and depression of lawyers and work conditions characteristic for the legal profes- sion. Participants that reported severe to extremely severe symptoms were 18% for depression, 15% for anxiety and 16% for stress. These rates were described by the authors as ‘alarmingly high’ (Chan et al., 2014, p. 1098) even if they were just a few points above the levels of depression and anxiety of the general Australian population. One third of the lawyers, participating in the survey, were at medium or high risk of al- cohol abuse. More importantly a positive relationship was found between depression, stress, and anxiety scores and job related characteristics—job satisfaction, effort-re- ward ratio, overcommitment, work-family conflict, and practice ethos. This means that higher levels of depression were characteristic for lawyers who experienced greater job dissatisfaction and by lawyers who experienced inability to meet family responsi- bilities due to work commitments.
Not surprisingly, the topic is most discussed in the United States of America.
Brian Clarke (2015), a lawyer who left practice career because of a clinical depression and become a law professor, aimed to raise awareness of the danger of mental illnesses that lawyers and law students were facing. In a series of blog posts he shared his opinion about the need to publically discuss the growing body of study results declaring that lawyers suffered from depression a couple times more than the general population. He was especially concerned about mental health of law students and stated that lawyers and specifically law professors should address personality traits of lawyers and characteristics of the law profession and the study of law that contribute to greater number of mental health problems experienced by lawyers.
Susan Daicoff (1998; 2004; 2006; 2012) is a former lawyer who left private legal practice to become law professor, researcher and writer on topics related to psy- chology of lawyers, lawyers’ personality, distress and dissatisfaction, etc. Important points of her works are summarized and presented later in this work. However, she is concerned with issues similar to those expressed by Clarke (2015).
For Swedish lawyers, first data about their work conditions were collected in 2006 (Näsström & Mesick, 2006). The conduction of the study was influenced by the increased number of lawyers’ sick leaves due to stress-related symptoms (Hellberg, 2002; Swedish Bar Association, 2004). Näsström and Mesick (2006) concluded that
Swedish lawyers were to a greater extent emotionally exhausted and with average scores on the cynicism scale, both predicted by their workload and overcommitment