Law school is exciting, rewarding, and advantageous, but it can also be stressful. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are common in both the legal profession and in law school. Acknowledging this fact is a first step to managing one's well-being, and this guide provides resources with strategies for self-care, information to reach out for help, and content on stress-reduction techniques. The goal of this guide is to provide resources and paths to reduce academic and financial stress, as well as tensions in personal life, all of which weigh on law students.
Recently, lawyers, law professionals, and law schools have recognized a need to make lawyering a more sustainable and mental health-focused practice. Mindfulness has been identified as one of the key areas of creating this sustainability, alongside healthy work-life balance, diet, exercise, and getting proper sleep. While the overwhelming demands of law school seem to beg for increased engagement with school materials, taking healthy breaks and developing self-care routines can enhance overall functioning and lead to a more tenable experience in law school and beyond.
Stress and potential burnout are real. Maintaining connection with friends, family, coworkers, faculty, mental health professionals, and/or spiritual guides are all crucial for continuing to maintain self-care. Lawyers recognize how important reducing social isolation can be for a sustainable practice, and some simple and fun ways to do this are outlined in this guide. Isolation is also one of the key detriments to managing a mental health diagnosis like addiction, anxiety, or depression. Many students further identify the financial burdens of school as an impairment to emotional health. Introductory resources for working towards financial well-being are also included.
Victoria Capatosto oversaw the development of this guide from May 2016 through January 2022 with assistance from LIS graduate student interns working at HUSL Library.