Fixing a Broken Character Evaluation Process

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ABA Law Practice Today


In March 2023, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murphy wrote in the New York Times about the growing and “devastating” crisis in adolescent mental health. His findings were consistent with the 2021 Survey of Law Student Well-Being that revealed that law students are struggling, and in greater numbers than in the last survey in 2014. Forty percent of more than 5,000 survey respondents indicated having been diagnosed with anxiety in their lifetime, and 33% indicated having been diagnosed with depression. These numbers increased from 21% and 18% respectively, nearly doubling during this seven-year period. Similarly, law student thoughts around suicide rose significantly during this period: Eleven percent of respondents had thought seriously about suicide in the prior 12 months compared with 6% just seven years earlier, and one-third of respondents had thought about suicide sometime in their life compared with one-fifth who responded to the same question seven years earlier.