Yair Listokin (Yale) & Ray Noonan (J.D. 2021, Yale), Measuring Lawyer Effectively-Being Systematically: Proof from the Nationwide Well being Interview Survey, 18 J. Empirical Authorized Stu. 4 (2021):
Standard knowledge says that attorneys are uniquely sad. Sadly, this standard knowledge rests on a weak empirical basis. The “sad attorneys” narrative depends on nonrandom survey knowledge collected from volunteer respondents. As an alternative of relying on such knowledge, researchers ought to research lawyer psychological well being by counting on giant microdata units of public well being knowledge, such because the Nationwide Well being Interview Survey (NHIS) administered by the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management. The NHIS consists of knowledge from 100-200 attorneys per 12 months. By aggregating years, an satisfactory pattern measurement of attorneys can readily be obtained, with a lot larger confidence that the attorneys within the pattern resemble the true inhabitants of U.S. attorneys. Once we study the NHIS knowledge, we discover that, opposite to the traditional knowledge, attorneys are usually not notably sad. Certainly, they undergo charges of psychological sickness a lot decrease than the overall inhabitants. Lawyer psychological well being shouldn’t be considerably totally different than the psychological well being of similarly-educated professionals, similar to medical doctors and dentists.
Charges of problematic alcohol use amongst attorneys, nevertheless, are excessive, even when in comparison with the overall inhabitants. Furthermore, problematic use of alcohol amongst attorneys has grown more and more frequent during the last fifteen years. These typically stunning and nuanced findings exhibit the worth of counting on extra dependable knowledge such because the NHIS.