Young Lawyer

A Call to Action to Prevent Law School Student Suicides

, The Legal Intelligencer


Recently, the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law family lost one of its own when a recent graduate decided to take his own life. He was an accomplished student, successful trial team advocate and a devoted volunteer and mentor to his high school debate team. More importantly, he had an extraordinary heart and the warmest of smiles. Unfortunately, he struggled to pass the bar exam, failing it twice. A few days before bar prep was scheduled to begin again, he committed suicide. At age 26, this young man still had his entire life ahead of him. That much is unquestionable. Maybe the question is: Why did he not see that? Inevitably, those who knew him personally ask: What could we have done differently to help or save him?

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What's being said

  • Norma Melendez, Esq.

    The other dark reality facing recent law graduates is the disheartening number of job prospects. I am afraid that graduates who have a looming sudent loan debt, non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, and who are faced with the grim possibility of default, may see suicide as their only option. I know of one who seriously thought about selling a few eggs stored in her ovaries in order to make ends meet. Thankfully, she just landed a 3 month job and has tabled, for now ,a risky procedure to harvest her eggs. Sadly, unemployed or underemployed law grads are also at risk. Thank you for drawing attention to this problem facing the profession.

  • Audrey Bath

    I applaud this article, long overdue. I am using my real name. I graduated from Widener University School of Law, Wilmington campus, '99. I too failed the bar exam twice and contemplated suicide as a result. I also contemplated suicide while in law school, but ironically, during my first year of law school there was a 3L who killed himself and Widener University made free psychological services available to all law students on its Chester campus. Desperate and confused, I availed myself of that opportunity to get help. Had I not gone for help - which I got - I am 100% certain I would not be alive today. My depression at that time was not a secret, not from friends, not from my professors.

    It is 14 years since I graduated from law school and 12 years since I last attempted a bar exam. After the second try, I simply couldn't face failing again, so I stopped trying to take it. It breaks my heart to write those words. I lost contact with most of my law school classmates as a result, many of whom I loved. I work as a litigation paralegal now in Idaho for a fraction of what I might have made as a practicing attorney. I also became a mediator and an arbitrator.

    Not once has Widener contacted me to support me in passing a bar exam or even to follow up on my life after law school. I resent it. The dean has no problem soliciting me for donations multiple times a year, but doesn't seem to care less that I am unable to practice law because I haven't been able to pass a bar exam. Believe me when I say, I would avail myself of any help offered, including moving back east - where my entire family lives - so that I could accept bar preparation support and training. But the help is not there.

    Law schools MUST help their graduates cross the finish line and pass the bar exam or they fail their students, period.

  • aliceannbelmontegates

    "KISS" (K) eep (I) t (S) IMPLE (S) TUPID! No Body Is Perfect we can only strive to be in this twisted corrupt world in which we all have a right to live and let live so the key is to always keep an open mind and never judge less thou be judged

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