#OverruleTheStigma: Pledge to Prioritize Law Student Wellness

#OverruleTheStigma: Pledge to Prioritize Law Student Wellness

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We enter law school suffering from chronic stress and depression at a rate that mirrors the national average, but the rate sharply increases during the first year of law school.

One out of six law students students suffer from depression and nearly one out of four suffer from anxiety. Diverse law students experience stress and depression at even higher rates. Mental health issues hinder our success in the classroom and our ability to reach our fullest potential when we become barred attorneys. Out of 104 occupational groups, lawyers rank the highest in depression.


Many of us indicate we need help for mental health issues, but only a small percentage actually receive counseling. Given the hyper-competitive and intense nature of law school, both perceived and actual threats to our academic standing, and the character and fitness exam’s inquiry into mental health treatment history, many of us turn to self-medication in the form of substance abuse. Many of us are afraid to seek help.


We wish that the law school experience could be supportive and collaborative and that our faculty and administration would promote positive curricular and institutional change, and provide us with resources that would reduce anxiety and fear.


We will no longer suffer in silence.

We are not alone.

We will empower ourselves and each other to do better.


As a student, I pledge to:

  • Practice self-care and recognize that I should not feel guilty for making time for myself;
  • Support fellow students’ well-being by fostering a healthy law school environment;
  • Advocate for systematic change, like championing the Law Student Well-Being Collaboration Initiative and access to counseling services on my campus.

As a professor, I pledge to:

As an administrator, I pledge to:

  1. Empower students with resources to advocate for systematic change, like championing the Law Student Well-Being Collaboration Initiative and access to counseling services on my campus;
  2. Assess and improve law school practices and offer faculty education on promoting well-being in the classroom.

As a practitioner in the field, I pledge to:

  • Support institutional change in law firms, government and other places of employment that support lawyer wellness, and especially resources for young lawyers;
  • Empower law students and my colleagues in the legal profession to fight for a better mental health environment.

We all pledge to foster change within our capacities and to lift as we climb for future generations of law students and lawyers.

We, the undersigned, pledge to #OverruleTheStigma.


#OverrruleTheStigma // #LawStudentWellness // #ABAforLawStudents


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This pledge was created with the help of:

  • ABA Law Student Division Mental Health Committee
  • ABA Law Student Division Council (Link here)
  • ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP)

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Resources:


Note to students: Want to champion change across the nation? Consider joining the Mental Health Caucus of the Law Student Division here.