No Time to Lose: Negative Impact on Law Student Wellbeing May Begin in Year One

The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, Vol. 2, No.2, pp. 49-60, 2011

ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 11-34

13 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2011 Last revised: 18 Nov 2011

See all articles by Molly T. O'Brien

Molly T. O'Brien

ANU College of Law

Stephen Tang

ANU College of Law

Kath Hall

ANU College of Law

Date Written: June 29, 2011

Abstract

Preliminary results of a pilot study of law students suggest that, during the first year of law study, students may experience changes in thinking styles, stress levels, and satisfaction with life. Although further inquiry into the cause of law student distress is necessary, the authors consider certain assumptions underlying the legal curriculum - particularly the conception of a lawyer as adversarial, emotionally detached, and competitive - to be possible sources of the negative impact on student wellbeing. It is suggested that legal educators should reexamine their curricula, particularly their conception of what it means to be a lawyer, and think creatively about ways that law schools may encourage healthier approaches to the study of law.

Keywords: law student, wellbeing, curriculum, psychological distress, legal education, thinking style, depression, stress

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Molly Townes and Tang, Stephen and Hall, Kath, No Time to Lose: Negative Impact on Law Student Wellbeing May Begin in Year One (June 29, 2011). The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, Vol. 2, No.2, pp. 49-60, 2011, ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 11-34, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1956365

Molly Townes O'Brien (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Territory 0200
Australia
02-6125-0437 (Phone)

Stephen Tang

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Kath Hall

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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