Special Report

Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession

Law.com has embarked on a yearlong investigation into mental health across every sector of the legal profession. Over the course of 12 months, we will aim to shine a light on mental health, addiction, stress and well-being; destigmatize the issue; and identify methods to effectuate change.

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Dart with missed target. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)
I started my legal career at one of the world’s largest law firms on Sept. 17, 2001. I was supposed to be an M&A lawyer, but after the 9/11 terrorist attacks I was shifted to the corporate restructuring group. Planes were grounded and financial markets closed. The economy was still reeling from the dot-com crash. No one knew what was going to happen next, and companies were putting contingency plans into place, which in many cases meant preparing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

It was intense, and I was unprepared. This was my first real job. I had not taken a single class in law school about bankruptcy law, and everyone in my practice group was so busy that there were few opportunities to ask questions or get feedback. It was textbook trial by fire.

The next four months were a blur of all-nighters and overwhelm. I had too much work, and most of it was way beyond what I was capable of, or at least what I thought I was capable of, at the time.

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