In “The Litigator and Mental Health“, Chief Justice Strathy writes about mental health in our profession and what we can do to improve it. Unfortunately, practicing law can be damaging to one’s mental health. In fact, there is a strong correlation between traditional markers of success in the law and depression in lawyers.
One of the recommendations, Justice Strathy makes is eradicating the myth of the “fearless gladiator." The fearless gladiator powers through long work hours with pride, never breaking emotionally, never taking time off, focuses exclusively on work, and has a stay-at-home spouse to take care of him. He plays hard. He works harder. He never makes a mistake. He is perfect.
This gladiator does not exist. But the myth pervades. And in doing so, it feeds into feelings of imposter syndrome. This feeling is made worst for lawyers from traditionally marginalized groups, who rarely see themselves reflected back in the top echelons of the profession or who are forced to deal with the micro-aggressions that undermine their confidence.