MAKING THE MOST OUT OF LAW SCHOOL
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MAKING THE MOST OUT OF LAW SCHOOL Andy Benjamin, J.D., Ph.D. UW School of Law [email protected] music generously provided by: Professor Paula Lustbader Seattle University School of Law. Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer. John Lennon.

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MAKING THE MOST OUT OF LAW SCHOOLAndy Benjamin, J.D., Ph.D.UW School of [email protected] generously provided by:Professor Paula LustbaderSeattle University School of Law


Imagine all the people

living life in peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer.

John Lennon


Before law school acculturation
Before Law School Acculturation

new students are quite healthy and happy on arrival

Benjamin, Kazniak, Sales & Shanfield (1986). The role of legal education in producing psychological distress among law students and lawyers.American Bar Foundation Research Journal, 1986, 225-252.

students compare well with undergraduates and new nursing students in measures of well being, emotional health, and healthy (intrinsic) motivation and values

Sheldon and Krieger (2004). Does Legal Education Have Undermining Effects on Law Students?  Evaluating Changes in Values, Motivation and Well-Being,  Behavioral Sciences and Law.


The problem
The Problem

Huge prevalence rates of psychological and substance abuse problems; Corroborated by six methodologically sound studies on separate law student/lawyer populations- 30 years of findings remain consistent

Daicoff (1997). Lawyer know thyself: A review of empirical research on Attorney Attributes bearing on professionalism, 46 Am. U. L. Rev., 1337-1427.

annotated bibliography www.abalegalservices.org/colap

under Products & Publications


I was bruised and battered;

I couldn’t tell what I felt;

I was unrecognizable

to myself.

Bruce Springsteen


Symptoms
Symptoms

Subscale Law Students > 98th%

Obsessive-Compulsive 19.0%

Interpersonal Sensitive 35.3%

Depression 23.4%

Anxiety 30.4%

Paranoid Ideation 12.5%

Social Alienation and Isolation 26.6%

Concerns about Alcohol Use 24.0%

Benjamin, Kazniak, Sales & Shanfield (1986). The role of legal education in producing psychological distress among law students and lawyers.American Bar Foundation Research Journal, 1986, 225-252.


There something happening here.

What it is ain’t exactly clear.

Buffalo Springfield


What happens during acculturation
What Happens During Acculturation

Professional schools- extremely invasive

  • exert intense control by purposely influencing the beliefs, values, and personality characteristics of their students

    Etzioni, A. (1965). Organizational control structure, in J.G. March, ed., Handbook of Organizations, 650 (Chicago: Rand McNally).


Law school undermines professionalism and health
Law school undermines professionalism and health

  • negates healthy values- intimacy, community

  • promotes unhealthy values (external rewards, status, comparative worth)

  • substitutes competition and anxiety, negates healthy motivation (personal enjoyment and values-based effort)

  • habituates students to frustration of fundamental needs (health routines, self-esteem, relatedness, authenticity, security)

    Sheldon and Krieger (2004). Does Legal Education Have Undermining Effects on Law Students?  Evaluating Changes in Values, Motivation and Well-Being,  Behavioral Sciences and Law.


They’re playing

Russian Roulette,

with my mind.

Van Morrison


Hey now, all you children,

leave your lights on,

better leave your lights on.

Cause there’s a monster,

living under my bed,

whispering in my ear.

Santana//Everlast


Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of Depression

The Dysphoric Array:

  • mixture of anxiety, depression, and hostility

  • thoughts of killing self

  • feeling so unhappy that you cannot shake it

  • dissatisfied or bored with most aspects of life

  • nicotine use (the most efficient anti-dysphoric on the legal market- significant cancer risk attached

  • disrupted sleep- never feeling sufficiently rested

  • increased social isolation

  • limiting normal exercise patterns


Depression
Depression

  • 3.6 times more likely than any of the other 104 occupational groups

  • 19% incidence rate

    Eaton, Anthony, Mandel, Garrison (1990). Occupations and the prevalence of major depressive disorder. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 32(11), 1079-1086.

    Benjamin, Darling & Sales (1990). The prevalence of depression, alcohol abuse, and cocaine abuse among United States lawyers. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 13(3), 233-246.


I want to run.

I want to hide.

U2


Been

dazed and confused

for so long

its not true.

Led Zeppelin


Symptoms of addiction
Symptoms of Addiction

The Alcohol/Drug Dependent Array:

  • managing sleep patterns through using substances

  • feeling guilty about your use of alcohol or drugs

  • drinking or using drugs creates problems between you and your partner, parent, or relatives

  • neglecting your obligations for longer than a day because of negative consequences related to use

  • no memory of time period during use

  • increasing social isolation

  • limiting normal exercise patterns


Base rate differences females
Base Rate Differences- Females

Type of SymptomNPAts

Obsessive-Compulsive 2% 15%

Depression 14% 16%

Anxiety 4% 20%

Alcohol Problems 8% 71%

Beck, Sales & Benjamin (1996). Lawyer Distress: Alcohol-related problems and other psychological concerns among a sample of practicing lawyers.Journal of Law and Health,10, 1-60.


Base rate differences males
Base Rate Differences- Males

Type of SymptomNPAts

Obsessive-Compulsive 2% 21%

Depression 9% 21%

Anxiety 4% 30%

Alcohol Problems 20% 67%

Beck, Sales & Benjamin (1996). Lawyer Distress: Alcohol-related problems and other psychological concerns among a sample of practicing lawyers.Journal of Law and Health,10, 1-60.


Before you

accuse me,

take a look at

yourself.

Eric Clapton


Hostility
Hostility

  • Hostile/cynical law students 4.19 times more likely to die prematurely due to cardiovascular disease within 30 years

    Barefoot, Dodge, Peterson, Dahlstrom & Williams (1989). The Cook-Medley Hostility Scale: Item content and ability to predict survival. 51, 46-57

    Beck, Sales & Benjamin (1996). Lawyer Distress: Alcohol-related problems and other psychological concerns among a sample of practicing lawyers.Journal of Law and Health,10, 1-60.

    McCann, B.S., Russo, J., & Benjamin, G.A.H. (1997). Hostility, social support, and perceptions of work. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 2, 175-185.


The heat is on,

the heat is on,

the heat is on,

oh its on the street,

the heat is on.

Glen Frye


Dissatisfaction
Dissatisfaction

ABA in 1984, 40% lawyers very satisfied, but by 1990 this number had dropped to 29%

  • dissatisfaction prevailed everywhere (e.g., partners, managing lawyers, jr. associates, solo/small firm lawyers, government, etc.)

  • regardless of the type of practice or the amount of money a lawyer made


Aba study concluded
ABA Study Concluded

The study found links among three concerns:

a) pressures of a deteriorating work environment

b) increased levels of distress (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress-induced illness, interpersonal prob, alcohol/drug abuse, and obs/compulsive behavior)

c) decreased ability to cope (e.g., social support, relaxation, exercise, expression of humor, etc.).

American Bar Association (1991). At the breaking point: The report of a national conference on the emerging crisis in the quality of lawyers' health and lives, and its impact on law firms and client services. Chicago: ABA.


People gonna talk about

the things you do.

They gonna talk,

be it lie or true.

Linda Ronstadt


She said don’t give or

sell your soul away,

cause all that

you have

is your

soul.

Tracy Chapman


Implications for disciplinary problems
Implications for Disciplinary Problems

  • 27% disciplinary problems and 60% of malpractice complaints alcohol related

    Green (1988). Half of Malpractice and Layer discipline complaints stem from substance abuse. Annual Meeting of National Conference of Bar Presidents.

  • 50-75% disc. problems alcohol related

    Spillis (1991). An overview of lawyer assistance programs in the United States: Report of the ABA Commission on Impaired Attorneys. Chicago: ABA

    Association of American Law Schools Committee Report (1994). Report of the AALS Special Committee on Problems of Substance Abuse in Law Schools, Journal of Legal Education, 44, 35.


What you want? Baby I got it.

What you need?

Do you know that I got it?

All I’m asking is for respect …

Aretha Franklin


Toward solutions
TOWARD SOLUTIONS

Openly address the health and satisfaction problems

  • build student attention by activating group empowerment

  • neutralize damaging effects of silence by ending isolation (faculty and staff open their doors)

  • diminish insecurity by recognizing and validating unique student gifts


I want to get by with a little help from my friends.

I just keep trying with my friends.

I want to get high with my friends.

I just hold on with my friends.

Joe Cocker


Social support
Social Support

Romantic involvement is a stress protector for females while in law school

Out of law school females remain angrier while males remain more stressed in their primary relationships than NPs

Beck, Sales & Benjamin (1996). Lawyer Distress: Alcohol-related problems and other psychological concerns among a sample of practicing lawyers.Journal of Law and Health,10, 1-60.


It’s me who is my enemy.

Me who beats me up.

Me who makes the monsters.

Me who strips my confidence.

Cole


Toward solutions1
TOWARD SOLUTIONS

Student objectives

  • Solid sleep, eating, exercising patterns

  • Strong social support

  • Knowledge of signal emotional states- results in activation of wellness behaviors

  • Balance struck in all areas of life

  • Any of four conditions above absent, seek assistance for Sandra, SBA, Mentors


I’ll tell you one thing.

If you would leave

it’d be a

crying shame.

Santana/Thomas


Toward solutions2
TOWARD SOLUTIONS

Minimize (unnecessary) excessive stress

  • eliminate habitual overwork

  • abandon zero-sum competitive “need to win” paradigm, which creates perception of failure for many previously successful students

  • build skills at collaboration and legal counseling

    Sheldon and Krieger (2004). Does Legal Education Have Undermining Effects on Law Students?  Evaluating Changes in Values, Motivation and Well-Being,  Behavioral Sciences and Law.


I feel good.

I knew that I would now.

I feel good.

I knew that I would now, so good, so good …

James Brown


I’m going to get up and

make my life shine.

I’m going to get up and

make my life shine.

I’ve made up my mind…

Scaggs


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