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    Hi there, quite a lot of people have told me that there is a marked trend of mental health problems among law students, not only at undergraduate level, but also in law school, as well as in legal practice.

    I am in my second year of law (london) and this is something that I have certainly noticed amongst people on my course. A lot of people have come out as having problems with depression. I'm not sure whether it started before university, or during university. I myself have really bad lows sometimes and find studying law overwhelming sometimes.


    Is there any real truth in this? What are your experiences? Are there any particular reasons why this affects law students so much? Some people have mooted reasons for this:

    - high attention to detail
    - personality types attracted to law; neurotic, obsessive, extremely self-critical, high achievers
    - very dry subject that is devoid of any emotion. (I myself find this - you can just be sitting in isolation for many, many hours reading hard cold facts and judgments, that have little connection with human emotion - for example, about the winding up of a company or registration of land).

    It's something I've noticed.

    I would be interested in opinions of anyone currently in practice too
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    (Original post by grad2be)
    - very dry subject that is devoid of any emotion. (I myself find this - you can just be sitting in isolation for many, many hours reading hard cold facts and judgments, that have little connection with human emotion - for example, about the winding up of a company or registration of land).
    So, clearly not taking Family or Criminal Law then?
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    Hmm. Well, I'm supposed to be doing law in Spetember, and I've had depression. So there you go, another statistic.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    So, clearly not taking Family or Criminal Law then?
    You're mixing up what I'm saying. The subject matter may involve emotion, but the ACT of studying law does not. Reading a family case does not involve connecting with humankind in the same way as volunteering at a soup kitchen does.
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    (Original post by grad2be)
    X
    Wow, really interesting hypothesis. I'm a law student, my boyfriend is a barrister, most of my friends and most of our friends are lawyers. I hadn't really thought about it, but it actually rings true.

    I think... I'm not sure how to articulate this. I'm not sure if intelligent and sensitive is the right moniker, but we (my bf and I and our friends) all seem to be quite existential in our outlook, quite reflective, and possibly slightly insecure.

    I think it does take a particular personality type, and in fact historically that seems to hold true as well. Look at people like Alexander Hamilton, Richard Nixon, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas More, Abraham Lincoln. Having said all that, I am proud to be a (well, not quite yet, but fairly soon) part of this profession. I feel at home in the law.
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    (Original post by grad2be)
    Hi there, quite a lot of people have told me that there is a marked trend of mental health problems among law students, not only at undergraduate level, but also in law school, as well as in legal practice.

    I am in my second year of law (london) and this is something that I have certainly noticed amongst people on my course. A lot of people have come out as having problems with depression. I'm not sure whether it started before university, or during university. I myself have really bad lows sometimes and find studying law overwhelming sometimes.


    Is there any real truth in this? What are your experiences? Are there any particular reasons why this affects law students so much? Some people have mooted reasons for this:

    - high attention to detail
    - personality types attracted to law; neurotic, obsessive, extremely self-critical, high achievers
    - very dry subject that is devoid of any emotion. (I myself find this - you can just be sitting in isolation for many, many hours reading hard cold facts and judgments, that have little connection with human emotion - for example, about the winding up of a company or registration of land).

    It's something I've noticed.

    I would be interested in opinions of anyone currently in practice too

    If you go to Oxford or Cambridge, this can be applied to every subject.
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    (Original post by Melthusa)
    If you go to Oxford or Cambridge, this can be applied to every subject.
    I disagree totally. Christopher Hitchens and Jonathan Sumption are a world apart.
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    Of course law has a high proportion of people with boundless confidence and arrogance who are completely unaffected by the experience. Maybe it averages out across a population?
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    (Original post by Norton1)
    Of course law has a high proportion of people with boundless confidence and arrogance who are completely unaffected by the experience. Maybe it averages out across a population?
    My experience is that the law tends to be composed of two species; the unexceptionally (but genuinely) intelligent and the truly clever/talented.

    The former can churn out acceptable essays and deliver a solid 2:1 for three years, then throw themselves into commercial practice for 35 years and sink at 55 without leaving a trace.

    The latter are an entirely different breed of animal; they have an admirable facility with the English language, they can climb on top of a pun and ride it bareback, they do cryptic crosswords, they charm and beguile. They love prose and the English language, and that's why they're lawyers.

    These two breeds may as well be from different universes. As to arrogance, in the latter category it's at least forgivable. In the former, it's an utter turn-off
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    My experience is that the law tends to be composed of two species; the unexceptionally (but genuinely) intelligent and the truly clever/talented.

    The former can churn out acceptable essays and deliver a solid 2:1 for three years, then throw themselves into commercial practice for 35 years and sink at 55 without leaving a trace.

    The latter are an entirely different breed of animal; they have an admirable facility with the English language, they can climb on top of a pun and ride it bareback, they do cryptic crosswords, they charm and beguile. They love prose and the English language, and that's why they're lawyers.

    These two breeds may as well be from different universes. As to arrogance, in the latter category it's at least forgivable. In the former, it's an utter turn-off
    Ah but what of the halt and the lame? (i.e. those that managed to get into law on the basis of good exam grades where all that's required is memorisation)

    Incidentally:

    unexceptionally ... intelligent
    It's like you know me!
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    (Original post by Norton1)
    Of course law has a high proportion of people with boundless confidence and arrogance who are completely unaffected by the experience. Maybe it averages out across a population?
    Are you saying that personality disorders are more common?

    I for one have got the impression that students aspiring to become barristers (and barristers themselves) are utter narcissists.
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    (Original post by grad2be)
    Are you saying that personality disorders are more common?

    I for one have got the impression that students aspiring to become barristers (and barristers themselves) are utter narcissists.
    I mean that law might be quite polarising; on the one hand it attracts quiet bookish people who might well be more prone to depression, and on the other confident arrogant people who are less likely to suffer depression. I was suggesting that it might therefore average out.

    Unfair to the poor barristers! I think there's a range.
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    (Original post by MostUncivilised)
    I disagree totally. Christopher Hitchens and Jonathan Sumption are a world apart.
    And what would a zoology student at Birmingham know of this?
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    (Original post by grad2be)
    You're mixing up what I'm saying. The subject matter may involve emotion, but the ACT of studying law does not. Reading a family case does not involve connecting with humankind in the same way as volunteering at a soup kitchen does.
    How emotional do you think maths students get whilst writing out proofs? This could apply to the study of any subject.


    (Original post by grad2be)
    I for one have got the impression that students aspiring to become barristers (and barristers themselves) are utter narcissists.
    I want to be a barrister and I'll have you know I have the humility of a saint.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    I want to be a barrister and I'll have you know I have the humility of a saint.
    Reminds me of my ex-girlfriend once proclaiming that she was "by far the least competitive person in the history of the world", but in her case the irony was unintentional.

    Hi there, quite a lot of people have told me that there is a marked trend of mental health problems among law students, not only at undergraduate level, but also in law school, as well as in legal practice.
    No idea, I haven't really noticed this.
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    (Original post by Melthusa)
    And what would a zoology student at Birmingham know of this?
    What does zoology at Birmingham have to do with the price of tea in China?

    Ohhhhh, you thought I'm doing that You really need to get a handle on basic research skills. Standards are slipping.

    And for someone at corpus, your prose is remarkably unrefined and lacking in polish. Your head seems even emptier, at least on a cursory examination.
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    (Original post by grad2be)
    I for one have got the impression that students aspiring to become barristers (and barristers themselves) are utter narcissists.
    Aspiring barristers, certainly. Actual barristers... well, that's a different story.

    For example, Melthusa is fairly typical for your average aspiring barrister; a vastly inflated sense of their own value and intellect.

    I find that those that actually make it tend to be more circumspect.
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    I've been in practice since 1997 and worked in five law firms. I can safely say I have never noticed any such tendency. In fact I can't even think of any lawyers I've worked with during that time whom I know to have had depression (or who even showed signs of it). Maybe it's the fact that I specialise in a 'human' specialism (employment) rather than land law.

    Medics, on the other hand, are supposed to have the highest rates in any profession of depression, suicide, divorce and alcoholism, aren't they?
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    (Original post by Melthusa)
    And what would a zoology student at Birmingham know of this?
    And what do you do? :curious:
 
 
 
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