Mental Health Strategies for Lawyers

Mental Health Brief #20
By: Dr. Arthur Leonoff, PH.D., C. Psych, FIPA Psychologist/Psychoanalyst

Mental Health Strategies for Lawyers

Mental health issues sometimes arise from personality and emotional factors that can impact a lawyer's behaviour in the workplace, such as:

  • Needing to be admired, which can lead to disillusionment
  • Wanting too much to be loved, leading to self-sacrifice
  • Insisting on being right on every issue, leading to bullying instead of “lawyering” and resulting in regulatory complaints
  • Needing to be needed, leading to emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Needing to be 'all things' to others, leading to a lack of role definition and eventual failure

Lawyers are best advised to take stock of how they handle relationships connected to their work as well as overall work-life balance.

Recognizing problems, attitudes or inclinations before they get out of control and seeking psychological help is a great investment in a healthy and productive legal career. The use of mentors and coaches can also be effective, if only to draw attention to issues.

The Opening Remarks mental health briefs provide Ontario lawyers with wellness tips and resources from a variety of individuals speaking in their own capacity. The briefs are not a substitute for professional care. If you are in crisis, we encourage you to urgently contact a mental health service provider.