WHY LAWYERS ARE UNHAPPY

MARTIN E P SELIGMAN, PAUL R VERKUIL, TERRY H KANG

Abstract


[According to the authors of this article, the growing unhappiness of law- yers, particularly young lawyers, stems from three causes: (1) Lawyers are selected for their pessimism (or “prudence”) and this generalizes to the rest of their lives; (2) Young associates hold jobs that are characterized by high pressure and low decision latitude, exactly the conditions that promote poor health and poor morale; and (3) American law is to some extent a zero-sum game, and negative emotions flow from zero-sum games. ..

This article has been shared with practitioners as well as academics. It grows out of faculty seminars held at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in the fall of 1999, which included managing partners of several major New York Law firms, and in spring 2001, as well as a meeting of the New York Chapter of the American Bar Foundation in the spring of 2000. The theory of positive psychology framed the discussion.] 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/dlr2005vol10no1art268

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