The Conversation recently published a short article on the issue of mental health for law students. The article suggests that part of the problem is that “[s]tudents are often taught from day one to separate law from justice, and to approach each problem with dispassionate analytic skills.”
While that may be a stereotypical vision of legal education, at least at UNSW Law there is a strong emphasis on integrating discussions about law with discussions about justice (while acknowledging that legal outcomes may not always be just). Despite that, mental health is still an important concern.
In my experience, a lot of depression comes not from how law is taught, but due to the fact that undergraduate students choose to study law relatively early in their lives, often because they received a good ATAR (Year 12 exam entrance rank) and sometimes under pressure from parents. At an undergraduate level, a combined law degree takes at least 5 years to complete – which is a long time to study something one no longer enjoys. But this is purely anecdotal, based on conversations with particular students experiencing depression.
Does anyone have any thoughts?