New Zealand Law Society - Success affects high-flying lawyers’ well-being, survey finds

Success affects high-flying lawyers’ well-being, survey finds

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New research suggests lawyers’ health is likely to be affected the more successful they are in their field.

The study from the Jonathan Koltai-led team at the University of Toronto looks at the feedback from thousands of lawyers in both Canada and the United States. The Status-Health Paradox: Organizational Context, Stress Exposure, and Well-being in the Legal Profession is due to be included in the next edition of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

In both countries, researchers found a strong correlation between signs of depression and traditional markers of career success.

“We find that higher status lawyers in large firms report more depression than lower status lawyers, poorer health in the American survey, and no health advantage in Canada,” the researchers noted.

“Adjusting for income exacerbates these patterns—were it not for their higher incomes, large firm lawyers would have a greater health disadvantage.

“Lastly, we identify two stressors in the legal profession—overwork and work-life conflict—which are more prevalent in the private sector and increase with firm size.”