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October 26, 2012

Lawyers and Depression: It Happens.

Speaking of the Black Dog, a term Winston Churchill gave to his bouts with depression, I've often wondered why the subject of lawyers with booze and drug problems has been out in the open for a fairly long time--at least since I started to practice law--but the discussion of clinical depression in our ranks is much more recent. Given the Type A personality of many (if not most) of us in the profession, you'd expect the discussion to at least keep pace with the one on substance abuse. It hasn't. When the Recession hit lawyers hard about three years ago, I started to notice some changes in more than a few of my friends and colleagues. But I am not an expert. It turns out there's an interesting blog called Lawyers with Depression, and it's a brave and thorough resource. Its author writes especially well. See his October 21 post, "Lawyer Blues or Depression? It begins:

I can spot sadness on lawyer’s face. Like a craggy poker player reads dog-eared cards in a smoke-laden backroom bar, world-weary drooped eyelids, even on young lawyers, which suggests a great weight borne, a solemnity. To others, their expressions may seem like a seasoned lawyer’s humorless, steely resolve. But, I know better. Their faces a subtler shade of grey, the somber hue of a 1L’s textbook on Contracts.

Their humorous repartee amongst each other, if any, can be a deeply cynical and sarcastic. It is a tough life for many in this boat; many dream, sadly, of a different life. “Every man has his secret,” wrote the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”


Posted by JD Hull at October 26, 2012 11:59 PM


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