Many of the traits Big Law rewards in attorneys—perfectionism, self-reliance, and unflinching commitment to the work—are also predictors of suicidal ideation when law firms push their people too hard, according to a new peer-reviewed study published Feb. 11 in international journal Healthcare.

Specifically, lawyers who reported high stress levels were 22 times more likely to experience thoughts of suicide than lawyers with low stress, while lawyers with moderate stress were more than five times as likely. Lawyers who were highly “overcommitted” to their work—characterized by researchers as an all-encompassing level of devotion, a sentiment reflected in recent American Lawyer surveys of partners and associates—were more than twice as likely to consider suicide than those who maintained boundaries with their work.

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