Lawyers Are Killing Themselves—but Why?

Bar associations trying to get a handle on grim trend

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 20, 2014 5:48 PM CST | Updated Jan 25, 2014 8:15 AM CST

(Newser) – Overworked and burdened by a mix of worries unique to their profession, lawyers have a growing tendency to kill themselves—and bar associations are just beginning to grapple with it, CNN reports. Eight of the nation's 50 associations are trying to stop the pattern after South Carolina lost six lawyers in an 18-month period; Oklahoma had a spate of losing one a month; and Kentucky saw 15 commit suicide since 2010. "It's been primarily men," says the head of Kentucky's bar association. "To a large degree, it's been trial attorneys. The men are primarily middle-aged."

The issues can begin in law school, where, according to one study, 40% of students are depressed and take that into their professional careers. Many don't seek proper treatment or take a career break, and hide their unhappiness from spouses—who are stunned when their husband commits suicide. "I never dreamed that I would be a widow at 58," says a wife in Ohio. "We were starting the best chapter of our lives." But all those innocent people imprisoned and all those lost hours and missed holidays with family, can take their toll, reports the Courier-Journal. "They become like a weak-kneed boxer in the 15th round," said a Kentucky Supreme Court justice. "They keep flailing away. But they lose purpose. They lose hope."

  (Shutterstock)
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