A few thoughts about lawyer suicides


We’re seeing lots of articles lately talking about an increase in lawyer suicides, speculating about the causes and offering solutions.

We know the causes. Money, stress, and variations thereof.

We also know the solutions. More money and less stress.

If you know someone who is struggling and depressed and following a destructive path, or if you are that someone, I want to offer some thoughts. I’m not an expert. I’ve never had a substance abuse problem or thought about killing myself. But I’ve been through a lot of major challenges in my career and personal life. I know what it’s like to hit bottom, and what it takes to turn things around.

First, you can get through this. Most do. It will be painful and it may take a year or two before things are completely healed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You must be know this.

Second, you can’t find solutions until you admit there is a problem. If you are in denial, you’re only prolonging your misery and inviting other problems.

Third, don’t dwell on the problems, focus on the solutions. Things aren’t going the way you want? What would fix it? Make a list and get to work.

Fourth, there’s lots of help available. Support groups, information, counselors, family, friends. Don’t for a moment think you have to go through this alone. It’s okay to admit you need help and it’s smart to avail yourself of that help.

Fifth, start immediately. Call someone, today. Do something, right now. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be on your way to a new beginning.

One more thing. You don’t have to continue practicing. If you’ve been thinking about doing something else but have been rationalizing why you can’t, you have my permission to explore other options.

Yes, I know you have all this time and money invested in your career. And yes, I know how difficult it is to walk away and do something new, especially in this economic climate. But none of that matters. If you are unhappy, you don’t have to continue. If you’ve always wanted to be or do something else, you can.

If you have people who depend on you, it will be harder and take longer. It took me three years of writing and planning before I launched the course that issued in a new chapter in my life. But I did it and I’m very glad I did.

I learned to smile again. You will, too.



  1. Good article. It is a topic that should get more attention. Had a good friend who committed suicide. Didn’t see it coming at all. Very difficult.