How an Attorney's Ego Makes Them Unhappy Practicing Law and With their Lives

Why Your Ego Is Making You Unhappy Practicing Law and with Your Life
  • Many attorneys are unhappy practicing law.
  • It doesn’t have to be this way.
  • An unhealthy ego is most often the cause of this unhappiness.
  • Find out how you can keep your ego in check as an attorney.
According to Andy Benjamin, a lawyer and psychologist who has written about the effect of law school on people in the legal profession, attorneys are actually healthier, psychologically and physically, than the general population before they start law school.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

[L]aw students generally start school with their sense of self and their values intact. But, in his research, he said, he has found that the formal structure of law school starts to change that.

Rather than hew to their internal self, students begin to focus on external values, he said, like status, comparative worth and competition. “We have seven very strong studies that show this twists people’s psyches and they come out of law school significantly impaired, with depression, anxiety and hostility,” he said.

Academics often study law students because students are considered a bellwether for the profession. “They are the canaries in the coal mine,” Dr. Benjamin said.