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Large Numbers of Law - Lawyering Will Ruin Your Life

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5% - Rate of Major Depressive Order (MDD) among the general population

5% - Rate of MDD among students entering law school

32% - Rate of MDD among law students in their second semester

40% - Rate of MDD among law students in their sixth semester

17% - Rate of MDD among graduates two years after law school


10% - Rate of alcohol abuse/dependency among the general population

17% - Rate of alcohol abuse/dependency among lawyers

3% - Rate of cocaine use among the general population

1% - Rate of cocaine use among lawyers

70% - Rate of lawyers who use cocaine but must be lying about it


11% - Lawyers who think about suicide at least once a month

100% - Lawyers who think about homicide at least once a month


1/4-1/2 - Lawyers who, if they could go back, would do something else

1/3 - Partners at the largest 125 law firms who, if they could go back, would do something else


1300 - Typical hours billed by a law firm partner in 1970

1500 - Typical hours billed by a law firm associate in 1970

2000 - Median associate hours billed in 1990

2400 - 80th percentile associate hours billed in 1990

70% - Associates given more than 2 weeks vacation each year

48% - Associates who take more than 2 weeks vacation each year


As grim as these numbers are, the reality is much worse. The data comes from a Vanderbilt Law Review article published in 1999, and much of the data was already several years old then. 13 years later the situation has gotten much more grim, with unemployment, job insecurity, and massive debt piling on the all the existing problems.

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