1st Edition

Well-Being in the Legal Profession Altruism, Justice, and Legal Reform

By Randall Kiser Copyright 2025
    216 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a critical psychosocial analysis of legal practice, documenting a mental health crisis among lawyers and judges and linking this crisis to a dysfunctional legal system they continue to control.

    Tracing studies of lawyers and judges over 40 years, this book demonstrates that decades of mental distress and social detachment in the legal profession have seriously damaged the legal system. Focusing largely on conditions in the United States, but also drawing on studies from the UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia, the book depicts how this system is jeopardized by lawyers’ egocentrism, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. To improve the legal system and lawyers’ mental health – integrating law, psychology, sociology, and policy making – the book advocates a renewed commitment to justice, compassion, respect and fairness through an ethic of regenerative altruism.

    This book will appeal to legal academics concerned with the sociology of legal practice, as well as those involved in training lawyers; it will also be of interest to practicing lawyers, judges and others engaged by issues of social justice and legal reform.

    1. Overview 2. Damaged Lawyers 3. Causes and Effects of Lawyers’ Mental Distress 4. Stressed Judges 5. Elements of Well-being 6. Altruism 7. Altruism in Practice 8. Accelerating Well-being, Altruism, and Reform 9. Conclusion


    Randall Kiser is Principal Analyst at DecisionSet®. He is the author of six books on lawyer and law firm performance. Mr. Kiser has taught professional skills courses for law students, lawyers, mediators, and judges throughout the world and is recognized as a leading scholar of the U.S. legal profession. 

    “Blending psychology, empirical analysis, and practical insight, Randall Kiser has long been an astute commentator on how lawyers can improve their thinking. This book explains how lawyers can both enhance their own mental health and remedy systemic injustices by placing greater emphasis on altruism. Read it!”  Jean Sternlight, author, Psychology for Lawyers, Professor, UNLV Boyd School of Law, USA, and Founding Director, Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution

     "I've been a fan of Kiser's work since reading Soft Skills in 2017. This book is no exception. Its multidisciplinary exploration of the current state of the US legal system comes from a place of genuine concern and an underlying respect for all who are impacted by lawyers’ choices.” Sarah Schendel, Professor, Suffolk University Law School, USA

     "Well-being in the Legal Profession illustrates how the profession has devalued altruism and the harm done to caring lawyers in the process. As lawyers are infected by the system’s perverse incentives, justice for the people who depend on the system remains elusive. Kiser pushes us to grapple with this challenge."  Jonathan Rapping, author, Gideon's Promise, and Professor and Director, Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Atlanta's John Marshall Law School, USA