When you are looking for mental health support, seeking treatment can be difficult. Even during a time when more people are talking about getting support, you might be nervous about asking for help.
Law school and the practice of law can be exceptionally stressful, and often, people find they need more support than they did before starting a law career. In a field where you depend on your mental fitness to help your clients, you may be reluctant to seek support for fear of losing everything you worked for.
Here’s what you need to know about how the bar association views current and prospective lawyers who seek mental health treatment.
A dark past
In the too-recent past, any admission of mental health symptoms, diagnosis or treatment was a potential mark against you in your application to the bar association. In a time when a mental health diagnosis was viewed as a weakness rather than a physiological condition, licensing boards saw mental health issues as a potential liability for the profession.
The road to change has been too long for some prospective and practicing lawyers. Both students and practicing attorneys have worried that seeking help would be the end of their career.
Moving toward change
As the view of seeking mental health treatment has changed, so have the bar application questions. While some states have not changed at all, others have eliminated all or most questions regarding mental health.
In California, the only question that remains is, “Are you currently the subject of a conservatorship?”
This is good news for those seeking bar admission in California. By limiting the number of mental health-related questions on the bar application, the California Bar Association gives current and future lawyers the ability to seek mental health treatment without worrying about its impact on their bar application.