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It's unlikely to surprise most law students, but being a lawyer is stressful and rather taxing on a person's mental health.
If it's not the actual case work, it's the case load, or unrealistic expectations of partners, bosses, clients, or even judges. And if you have a family or social life, well, don't expect any of that to make the stress of being a lawyer any easier. Fortunately for the law students at Penn Law, the school will begin teaching law students about how to develop good mental health habits for when the lawyer-stress eventually creeps up on them.
One notable aspect of the law school's mental health training for law students is that it will be part of the required professional responsibility course, rather than a standalone course. A portion of the class "will emphasize the importance of lawyers' health and wellbeing and discuss how it intersects with [the students'] professional responsibilities and ethical obligations to employers and clients."
And if you're scratching your head and wondering if this is really necessary, the school isn't slowing down as it promises that "students will develop personally-tailored plans to support and sustain their health across eight dimensions -- physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual, social, environmental and occupational." And no, Penn Law has not opened their own Will Powers Institute.
Certainly there are countless lawyers out there that can hum along at a breakneck pace for years on end, never missing a beat, and never even stopping to think for a minute that they need to engage in self-care. However, the reality of it all is that those "countless lawyers" are really fictional. Everyone needs to practice self-care, or risk burning out or losing sight of what's really important in life.
Penn Law may very well be equipping their law students for future success by ensuring that their graduates, minimally, have some tools at their disposal to handle the stress inherent to being a lawyer.
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