By Lindsey MillerThere is much anecdotal basis for concern about the collective distress and unhappiness of law students and lawyers. This anecdotal evidence is confirmed by many empirical studies. At the University of Arizona, a study of students entering law school showed that they had essentially normal psychological markers; by the first year, those markers had shifted to major psychological distress, and the negative changes continued through law school and the students' early careers. The students had higher rates of clinical depression, with an incidence of 20-40%. A study conducted by the author and a psychologist confirmed these findings. Another study showed that law students have 8 to 15 times the rate of clinically elevated anxiety, hostility, depression, and other symptoms compared to the general population.
This ground-breaking book is one of the first to analyze the dark side of law school and law practice. The author, a graduate student at Harvard, draws on his personal experience as a law student to show that a disproportionate number of law students and lawyers become severely disillusioned with their work. The book encourages prospective law students to ask themselves hard questions before making a decision to attend law school. It provides revealing insights into the realities of law school and law practice. It debunks dangerous myths about law school and law practice. Yet its most important contribution is the practical system it lays out for helping prospective law students discover if their personalities, values, skills, and interests are genuinely well suited to the law. This book is mandatory reading for anyone considering law school.