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International Journal of Law and Management

LAWYERS AND THEIR ELUSIVE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: DOES IT MATTER?

DANIEL S. BOWLING, II
Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University School of Law
Abstract :

Does happiness as a lawyer—however you define happiness—matter as a question of legal professionalism? Does the well-being of law students make any difference in their education? Is there any reason for law firms, corporations, clients, bar associations, or the judiciary to be concerned about whether the lawyers they encounter are languishing, flourishing, or merely getting by? Much has been said about the plight of lawyers today—a depressed,3 anxious,4 suicidal,5 alcoholic group—;6 and those are the ones with jobs.7 Those without  employment are broken by debt8 and are without hope, so the literature and common wisdom would have us believe. While evidence shows there is some truth in such common wisdom, the actual picture is far more varied and complex. Lawyers occupy positions of great significance and influence throughout society, from the Oval Office to law school deans, to CEOs to public defenders working in small towns across America, many of whom are thriving psychologically and emotionally. To indict an entire profession, as mainstream commentators seem wont to do, is wrong. However, to ignore the issue is morally suspect.

Keywords :
lawyers, legal profession

Date Deposited : 31 Mar 2016 10:44

Last Modified : 31 Mar 2016 10:44

Official URL: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/

Volume 7, Number 1, - 2015 , ISSN 2328-9694

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