Countering Lawyer Unhappiness: Pessimism, Decision Latitude and the Zero-Sum Dilemma
Paul R. Verkuil
Cardozo Law School
University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Cardozo Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 19
This article analyzes the by now accepted phenomenon of lawyer depression/pessimism and relates it to psychological literature and studies. The field of positive psychology, championed by Prof. Seligman, offers three causes for demoralization among lawyers: (1) pessimism; (2) low decision latitude and (3) a "zero-sum" mindset. As to the first two, the article posits ways to improve the lawyer's situation, but as to the third, since it involves a confrontation with the adversary model of justice, the application to lawyers is less clear. Thus, we set up the paradox that some degree of lawyer pessimism might be good for society, even if it is bad for the individual lawyer and we conclude by suggesting that non-zero dispute resolution may be of value.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Date posted: September 28, 2000
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