Depression and the law

experiences of Australian barristers and solicitors

Sharon Medlow, Norm Kelk, Ian Hickie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present research is a contribution towards understanding Australian lawyers’ experiences of, and attitudes towards, depression. It was found that, like Australian law students, solicitors and barristers exhibited significantly higher levels of psychological distress than did members of the general population and that experiences of depression were disproportionately high. The research also found that many lawyers had low expectations about the efficacy of consulting mental health professionals, but that rates of help-seeking were nonetheless surprisingly high. Participants’ own attitudes towards people with depression were complex and varied but there was strong agreement that discrimination was likely to arise against people with depression in their workplaces. These results are discussed within the context of the kinds of strategies that legal professional bodies might adopt in order to increase awareness of the commonality of depression amongst solicitors and barristers and to provide support and treatment for those upon whom it impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-799
Number of pages29
JournalSydney Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Cite this

Medlow, S., Kelk, N., & Hickie, I. (2011). Depression and the law: experiences of Australian barristers and solicitors. Sydney Law Review, 33(4), 771-799.