Poor Mental Health among lawyers
The Lawyer
Should law degrees include ethics?
In the UK and many other jurisdictions, legal ethics is not a compulsory part of a law degree
In the US, it is a standard part of the law degree and is tested prior to become an attorney
In US curriculums and Bar exams, the subject is known as ‘Professional Responsibility’
Why the difference? The ACADEMIC NATURE of the degree in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland).
Academic lawyers insist that the law degree is not simply preparation to be a lawyer
The degree in the UK is more geared towards providing a critical and philosophical approach to the study of law.
Only a minority of people completing a law degree in the UK become lawyers
In the UK, after completion of the degree, to quality as a lawyer  a year of professional training (Legal Practice Course) where more practical skills are taught
Drafting, advocacy, negotiating
The Role of the Lawyer …Zealousness?
The generally accepted view on the role of the lawyer is one of Zeal  duty of the lawyer to do everything that he or she can for the client.
Client has legal rights but typically lacks the knowledge to assert these rights
the lawyer has the obligation to enable the exercise of these rights.
To cross examine, question, negotiate with opposing parties, etc.
To not allow a lawyer to do everything he/she can for client means depriving people of access to their rights.
The lawyer should have no consideration of the impact on others.
See Spaulding v. Zimmerman
The role of the lawyer should not be to judge the merits of a clients case
That is the job of the court
Also in Saudi Arabia  Article 13 of the Code of Law Practice  a lawyer may choose WHATEVER STRATEGY he may deem appropriate for defending the interests of his client
In whatever way that does not compromise dignity and integrity of the profession
The Role of the Lawyer …Zealousness?
Zeal approach was endorsed by a court in Spaulding v. Zimmerman
Plaintiff, David Spaulding, was a victim in a serious car accident
Insurance companies for both sides conducted examinations of him to determine the extent of his injuries
ONLY the defendant’s doctor discovered that his life was at risk from a brain injury that MIGHT have been caused by the accident
Counsel for Defendant ( Zimmerman) decided not to reveal this information while negotiating settlement.
Plaintiff did not become aware of this condition until two years later and requested that the court vacate the prior settlement
Court granted the right to vacate prior settlement since it was likely that Plaintiff would not have agreed to the same settlement had he known of it.
Court found that the Defendant’s counsel had no specific ethical obligation to disclose Plaintiff’s life-threatening condition
The Political Role of Lawyers
Lawyers can play a crucial role in achieving rule of law through direct participation in government.
Of 45 US presidents, 26 were lawyers.
Lawyers are especially influential on politics when they engage in , ‘Cause lawyering’ or Public Interest Law
a way of using the courts to use the legal system for social, economic, political engagement.
Large communities of lawyers and law firms engage in providing legal services free of charge for numerous issues of social and political concern
Ending different forms of discrimination ( racial, gender, etc)
Asylum seeking and immigration
Environmental protection
Growth of the Legal Profession
Huge growth of Legal Profession since the 2nd half of the 20th century :
The Greater Availability of Legal Aid
Increased Access to Higher Education
High financial rewards
The Internationalization of the Law
The growth of multinational law firms that offer a range of services
Thousands of lawyers in over 30 countries
Opportunities for the Profession
Earning potential
Lawyers are still among the highest paid professionals
Prestige
‘elite’ status in society due to intellectual ability required, the authority over others, and earning potential
Opporunity to help others
Public interest law and pro bono legal work
Intellectual Challenge
Problem solving and analysis
Diverse Practice Areas
Employment law, energy, international, tax, etc
Transferable skills
Challenges to the Profession
Mistrust of lawyers
A 1993 survey revealed that a majority of Americans believe that the phrases “greedy” and “make too much money” properly describe lawyers.
Decline in employment opportunities for lawyers in the West after the Great Recession
The latest figures released by 198 of the 201 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA)
Only 55% of law students graduating in 2011 reported having full-time, long-term jobs requiring a law degree, at 9 months after graduation
In December 2012, the Law School Admissions Council reported an additional decline of 22%.
Challenges to the Profession
Anna Alaburda, argued that the school exaggerated its employment figures.
and that she relied on this data to choose to attend the school.
Could only find part-time and low paid legal support work.
Alaburda, asked for $125,000 for lost wages and reimbursement of tuition and fees.
Her claim was rejected in court law students opted for legal education at their own peril and were sophisticated enough to have known that employment as a lawyer was not guaranteed.
But the American Bar Association (ABA) has been taking steps to require law schools to be more open about postgraduate job placement.
While the 200-plus accredited law schools must now publish a more detailed breakdown of their employment data, including whether jobs are full time or part time
Challenges to the Profession (Internet)
The Internet in particular poses a big threat to the role of lawyers
Legal advice can be found online
Providing template contracts/wills/ divorce papers  reduces the demand for lawyers
Susskind argues that technology will force the cost of legal services to come down.
In the US for example, low attorney rates tend to be between $125–$150 an hour
On LegalZoom.com, the industry’s largest player with roughly 6% market share, you can download a basic will for as little as $69 and a real estate lease for $29.
On number-two site RocketLawyer.com, you can get unlimited access to a number of legal documents for as little as $7 a month.
While getting a will or a lease from a lawyer could easily cost hundreds of dollars. More complicated legal situations could cost thousands
Need for lawyers will be there BUT that technology has transformed the legal market to be a BUYERS MARKET
Challenges to the Profession
Growth of Corporatization
Emphasis on maximizing profits
Erosion of the idea that lawyers serve justice and the public good
Lawyers must record time they spend working on cases  Financial and Mechanical assessment of a lawyers work
Poor Mental Health among lawyers
One study in the US found that 20% of practicing lawyers suffer from depression (double the rate among the public)
A 1992 survey in California revealed that 52% were unhappy with practice of law and 70% would choose new career if opportunity given.
a 2009 survey of over 2000 Australian law students, solicitors and barristers suggested that nearly 60 per cent of the respondents reported moderate to very high levels of psychological distress
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