We’ve made great advances in recent years in Canada in examining mental health in the legal profession, and prior, in law school.
In large part this can be attributed to Orlando da Silva, former President of the Ontario Bar Association, who used his term as the head of the largest legal organization in Ontario to bring attention to his own personal plights. Da Silva was awarded the Law Society Medal last year for these contributions.
Similar conversations are occurring south of the border as well. One of the most prominent ones is a new series on Above the Law called “The Struggle.” There are compelling pieces there, narrating stories that many of us would relate to, consisting of the hyper aggressive and competitive climate that law schools often foster.
The impacts on the students are often overlooked. Substance abuse and even suicide are some of the heaviest costs.
Many of us would have seen our peers and colleagues suffer because of this behaviour. Many more would not, because we simply did not pay attention.
It’s not too late, and these narratives give us further opportunity to reflect about who we are as a profession, and who we would like to be. If we’re no longer in law school, perhaps it starts in the manner we respond to the nasty letter we just received from the other side.