A Stressful Profession: The Experience of Attorneys

Krystia Reed and Brian H. Bornstein

in Stress, Trauma, and Wellbeing in the Legal System

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199829996
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301492 | DOI:

Series: American Psychology-Law Society Series

A Stressful Profession: The Experience of Attorneys

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  • Criminal and Forensic Psychology


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Empirical evidence regarding high levels of attorney distress indicates that lawyers and law students suffer from depression, alcoholism and drug abuse at rates significantly higher than the general population and other professionals. This chapter begins by summarizing the research that has revealed how attorney distress is expressed through depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, burn out, and family problems. The chapter then outlines the potential factors influencing attorney distress, including personality attributes, the pressures of law school, and work pressures. The consequences of attorney stress on the lawyers themselves, their employers, and their clients are then examined. Finally, the chapter concludes with recommendations for further research and steps that the legal system can take to alleviate attorney distress. Such steps are important for both the professional and personal wellbeing of attorneys.

Keywords: stress; trauma; wellbeing; courts; legal system; attorneys; innovations

Chapter.  12647 words. 

Subjects: Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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