Lawyers Committing Suicide at Alarming Rates

Lawyers Committing Suicide at Alarming Rates

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Law firms are taking steps to combat an upsetting trend: lawyers are committing suicide at alarming rates. Out of all American professionals, lawyers are the fourth most likely to resort to suicide, CNN reports. (Dentists, pharmacists, and physicians are the only workers more likely to purposely end their lives.) CNN adds, “Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.”

Training and Programs Address Lawyers’ Disquieting Suicide Rates

The alarming increase in lawyer deaths, however, is not going unnoticed. CNN explains, “California, Montana, Iowa, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina added a ‘mental health’ component to mandatory legal continuing education. Kentucky starts its annual conference on continuing education with a presentation on behaviors that increase the risk of suicide.” Lawyer Dan Lukasik began Lawyers with Depression, an organization devoted to increasing awareness and acceptance. “The stigma is huge with mental illness and depression in this country. … You’re supposed to be a problem solver, you’re supposed to be a superman or superwoman. You’re not supposed to have problems,” Lukasik told CNN.

How Does This Trend Impact Hiring and Recruitment?

A common misconception is that depression and suicidal thoughts should impact legal recruitment. Experts, however, suggest this is a mistake. Depression and suicide triggers can begin as early as law school. CNN continues, “Dr. Andy Benjamin of the University of Washington conducted a study of law students that estimated 40% suffered from depression by the time they graduated.” However, other lawyers develop depression and suicidal tendencies throughout the course of their career. When recruiting board members and lawyers, legal recruitment consultants and recruitment agencies should, instead, look at experience and other pertinent qualifications. Law firms should embrace awareness, prevention, and treatment programs for lawyers at all stages of their careers to retain valued employees.

Suicides rates among those in legal professions are at an all-time high. Top legal recruiters understand that it is not the time or place to discriminate against depressed candidates when recruiting board members and lawyers. Instead, law firms need to implement programs to prevent and treat depression as it arises. More like this:

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