Law Students' Attitudes to Education: Pointers to Depression in the Legal Academy and the Profession?

Legal Education Review, Forthcoming

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2009-51

30 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2009

See all articles by Massimiliano Tani

Massimiliano Tani

University of New South Wales - Australian Defence Force Academy; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Prue E. Vines

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Date Written: December 19, 2009

Abstract

A survey of 2,528 students across all faculties at UNSW was carried out in 2005 to collect information about their experiences and expectations of university life and study. Analysis of the data showed some unexpected and significant differences between law students’ attitudes to their university education when compared with students in a number of other faculties. The fact that law students reported different responses to questions about their choice of course, expectations of results and perceptions of employer’s preferences in graduates suggested that we should further analyse the data to ascertain the extent and kind of differences between law students and other students’ responses. Law students’ experiences and attitudes, as they emerged from the further analysis, showed a comparatively low level of personal autonomy and a strong element of competitiveness compared with medical students and with students from other faculties. The psychological literature suggests that lack of autonomy and lack of social connectedness are important factors in depression. The results of this study thus indicate a number of factors which might assist in helping us understand why law students are more likely to develop depression than students in other disciplines. The paper outlines directions for further research needed to confirm or disprove the associations between attitudes to university experience and depression suggested by the present study.

Keywords: law students, depression, attitudes

Suggested Citation

Tani, Massimiliano and Vines, Prue E., Law Students' Attitudes to Education: Pointers to Depression in the Legal Academy and the Profession? (December 19, 2009). Legal Education Review, Forthcoming, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2009-51, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1526024

Massimiliano Tani

University of New South Wales - Australian Defence Force Academy ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
+612 6268 8512 (Phone)
+612 6248 8450 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/sbus/staff_cvs/about_max_t.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Prue E. Vines (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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