Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Jonathan Todres (Georgia State; Google Scholar), Work-Life Balance and the Need to Give Law Students a Break, 1 U. Pitt. L. Rev. Online __ (2022):
It has long been understood that joining, and staying in, the legal profession is not good for one’s health. Research shows that attorneys experience alcoholism, depression, and other mental health issues at higher rates than the general population. Similarly, there is significant research showing the detrimental effects of law school on many students’ well-being. We have known for years that students’ happiness and well-being tends to decline over their law school years, yet the response by most law schools has been patchwork, slow, and largely reactive. An unhealthy work-life balance remains the norm. This essay calls on law schools to do more to create a climate and culture in which students can achieve a healthier work-life balance. While there are a range of issues that need to be addressed, this essay focuses on the specific issue of law school culture discouraging taking time off.
Ultimately, if law students—the newest members of our profession—are going to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance, it is not enough for law schools to simply encourage students to take care of themselves. Law school faculty and administrators need to create the conditions in which self-care is not only possible but welcome. And a key component of that includes enabling students to take time off.