The Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse
46 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2015 Last revised: 30 Jun 2015
Date Written: August 15, 2014
This article uses a popular cultural framework to address the near-epidemic levels of depression, decision-making errors, and professional dissatisfaction that studies document are prevalent among many law students and lawyers today.
Zombies present an apt metaphor for understanding and contextualizing the ills now common in the American legal and legal education systems. To explore that metaphor and its import, this article will first establish the contours of the zombie literature and will apply that literature to the existing state of legal education and legal practice — ultimately describing a state that we believe can only be termed “the Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse”. The article will draw parallels between the zombie state of being — the state of being mindless, thoughtless, and devoid of hope — and the state of some aspects of legal culture and legal education today.
This article will then offer solutions to the problem of legal zombies. Those solutions draw on the positive psychology literature and include 1) mindfulness, 2) a shift in attribution style (the way people think about their experiences), 3) reliance on core strengths, and 4) an effort to developing meaning in work and life. Through the application of these and other interventions, we believe it may be possible to stem the tide of lawyer and law student distress and dissatisfaction and protect future students and lawyers from falling prey to the Zombie Lawyer Apocalypse.
Keywords: Law, psychology, positive psychology, attribution style, mindfulness, strengths theory, decision-making, depression, ethics, choice, errors, zombies, apocalypse, walking dead
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