Psychology for Lawyers

michelle michaud
talks about her work and her life as a lawyer


Mia, the lawyer portrayed In Treatment (HBO), in a meeting at her law office with her former therapist engages in a conversation with the psychotherapist, Dr. Paul Weston, that serves as the predicate for our visit with still another lawyer, Michelle Michaud, to consider her commentary about her work and her life as a lawyer.

In Mia's meeting with Dr. Weston, Dr. Weston comments on Mia's readily apparent success, telling her, "look at you, where you are now." Mia responds: "I'm a success because I work in a tall building . . . . Yea, I made it through law school all the way to the top floor and the beautiful views, and the windows that don't open, and the f--king jackhammers that never stop. And you know what I do when I win a case, one of those hopeless ones only I would take, I go out and get drunk with my gay secretary and then I stumble home to my one bedroom condo and I pray I can fall asleep." Dr. Weston: [nods] "[In making sure that you were assigned my case] Were you trying to show me how well you have done and how sad you are?" In Treatment (Season 2, Dk. 1, Episode 1) (20:30 mins. to 21:58 mins. of the DVD)


"The Cornucopia of Julia K.," in Lowell B. Komie, The Legal Fiction of Lowell B. Komie (Chicago: Swordfish/Chicago, 2005) [25 Legal Stud. F. 71 (2001)] [online text]

Brenda Berger, Prisoners of Liberation: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Disenchantment and Burnout Among Career Women Lawyers, 56 (5) J. Clinical Psychology/In Session: Psychotherapy in Practice 665 (2000)

Class Video

Class Viewing: Michelle Michaud [8:21 mins.] Pt2 [8:58 mins.] Pt3 [6:28 mins.] Pt4 [8:34 mins.] ["people forget to steer their own lives"; on being the "shell of a person"; "moments of tension" leads to growth] [total viewing time: approx. 33 mim.]

Optional: Michaelle Michaud Pt5 [7:13 mins.]

Changing Lawyers's Understanding of Dispute Resolution
[2:22 mins.] [Len Riskin] [lawyer unhappiness (referred to as "suffering") is related to adversarial practices; commenting on the "standard philosophical map" that dominates our lives as lawyers; adversarialism is pervasive in legal education ]

Len Riskin Talks about the Value of Meditation for Lawyers
[9:18 mins.] Pt2 [9:41 mins.]

Videos (Reference | Michelle Michaud)

Michelle Michaud on Lawyers as Agents of Evolutionary Change
[3:55 mins.]

Lawyers As Peacemakers
[5:14 mins.]

Reference (Rethinking Adversarial Law | Gary Friedman)

A Lawyer's Search
[9:58 mins.] [Gary Friedman] Pt2 [9:32 mins.] Pt3 [8:59 mins.] Pt4 [9:46 mins.]

Gary Friedman and Mediation
[4:05 mins.]

Introducing Gary Friedman
[4:04 mins.]

Self-Reflection for Conflict Professionals
[15:14 mins.] ["Your inner life is a powerful tool . . ."]

Positive Neutrality Under Fire
[10:55 mins.]

Saving The Last Dance
[6:15 mins.]

Reference (Rethinking Adversarial Law Practice)

Jeanne Fahey Talking about Her Life as a Lawyer
[9:47 mins.]
Pt2 [9:56 mins.] Pt3 [9:55 mins.]

Michael Zeytoonian Talking about His Life as a Lawyer
[8:12 mins.]
Pt2 [4:24 mins.]

Videos (Reference)

Introducing Catherine Conner
[3:33 mins.] [a lawyer talking about collaborative law]

Helping Lawyers Live Epic Lives
[2:32 mins.]

References (Articles)

Martin E.P. Seligman, Paul R. Verkuil & Terry H. Kang, Countering Lawyer Unhappiness: Pessimism, Decision Latitude and the Zero-Sum Dilemma [online text]

Contact Professor Elkins