Law School Discussion

Question about listing hardships - mental illness

bones

Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« on: October 06, 2004, 06:25:44 PM »
does anyone have experience with listing hardships they have faced, what to and not to include:

Someone I know was clinically diagnosed with major depression, severe obsessive compulsive disorder.  He was in the hospital for it, fought through school with it, still got great grades, had serious anxiety issues, now is better after correct medication, but was undiagnosed for a long time.

Is this "frown upon" or a plus for law schools

DESI

Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2004, 06:27:31 PM »
the one thing you should never ever get is mental health counseling.  you have to disclose it to the bar when you apply and it doesn't look good.  though i am totally supportive of mental health patients getting help and succeeding in life, i don't think that this is something you would want to write in your PS about.

and under no circumstances should anyone consider seeing a mental health counselor starting now until you pass the bar.

TheDecline

Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2004, 06:28:19 PM »
In what capacity would you be listing these?

I don't think it would be a good idea to talk about mental health issues.  Admissions might question your ability to function in law school.

Cory

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Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2004, 06:35:19 PM »
the one thing you should never ever get is mental health counseling.  you have to disclose it to the bar when you apply and it doesn't look good.  though i am totally supportive of mental health patients getting help and succeeding in life, i don't think that this is something you would want to write in your PS about.

and under no circumstances should anyone consider seeing a mental health counselor starting now until you pass the bar.

So that I had to go talk to someone after my father died, would that count against me? Technically it is mental health counseling so I guess so, but that is just such a completely asinine thing to hold against someone. There are plenty of valid reasons to go to counseling, and all manner of successful people do it. Including psychiatrists! 

Edit: I'm not saying what you said is stupid, just that that mindset and prejudice is so close-minded. A mental problem is no more someone's fault than cancer.

DESI

Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2004, 06:48:46 PM »
I never said it is.  But during orientation, we were strongly advised against seeking it.  We have to waive the doctor/patient privelege when going up for the bar.  The caution was more to people who will contemplate suicide, or are overly dramatic and tell their therapists that they wanted to kill themselves. 

But we were generally advised against it.

caffeine and nicotine addict

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Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2004, 07:00:18 PM »
So this disclusure thing - How far do you have to go back when disclosing? Is it only for when you're in law school, or for your whole life? I suppose my real point is - If someone has had depression in the past, are they automatically screwed?

Jennaye

Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2004, 07:16:56 PM »
My god, are you all sure about this?  It seems like such a rule could have the potential do a lot of damage, i.e. by deterring seriously mentally ill people from seeking the help they need.

bones

Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2004, 07:20:48 PM »
i highly doubt lawyers can discriminate against other potential lawyers, as the potential lawyers woudl then find a lawyer to sue the discriminating lawyers...i read over the ABA admission form, you only have to disclose it if it will affect your ability to perform as a lawyer - aka, bipolar, schizophrenia...treated and controlled illness is not the same thing

DESI

Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2004, 07:24:28 PM »
I'm just providing the infoormation given to us at Orientation.  It was more like during the unofficial part of orientation.  They couldn't get away with telling us to not seek mental health counseling.  That being said though, if I do ever need any counseling, I will buy a self-help book.

Butch

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Re: Question about listing hardships - mental illness
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2004, 07:28:08 PM »
you dont have to disclose anything dealing with a mental health counselor if you are just going there for your run of the mill problems (depression, sadness, grieving, breakups, etc).  You do have to disclose if you've been diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, etc as those could potentially inhibit your ability to uphold the law. Same thing with past alcoholism, drug addiction, etc

However, the most important thing is to NOT LIE about these things. Just b/c you suffered from xyz doesnt mean that you'll not be admitted to the bar...you can prove that you're fine. But if you LIE about it, then you probably wont be.  They have zero tolerance for non-disclosure and that's usually when people aren't allowed on the bar.