Law students must deal with high academic expectations, heavy workloads, competitive environments, and uncertain career prospects. They also must balance their studies with their personal and professional obligations, such as family, friends, jobs, or extracurricular activities. These sources of stress can affect the mental and physical health of law students, as well as their academic performance and satisfaction. Thus, law school presents the perfect opportunity for each law student to develop self-care and stress management strategies that they can use both during law school and to take forward into their future lives as lawyers.

In 2024, the LSSSE Student Stress module began asking students about specific coping strategies they use for stress and anxiety. Although some strategies provided on the survey are healthier than others, they all represent ways students may try to manage their stress and anxiety levels. Gathering these data can provide a starting point for law schools to take the pulse of their students’ mental health and to consider ways to support their students more effectively.

On the survey, students can select as many stress and anxiety management options as they wish. Exercise and seeking social support are the most commonly used stress management strategies, with 77% of students exercising to reduce stress and around 75% of students talking about their troubles with a friend or family member. A little more than half of students engage in procrastination (57%) to manage stress and 53% engage in a hobby. Negative self-talk and alcohol or other recreational drugs are the least common stress reduction techniques, with slightly more than a quarter (27%) of law students using them.



Law schools are increasingly concerned about making sure their students are learning healthy stress management and coping strategies and for good reason, given the substance use and mental health challenges that disproportionately affect lawyers, relative to the general population. Mindfulness and meditation in particular are gaining traction because they are proven techniques that can improve mental health, enhance focus, and promote well-being. Some law schools are offering workshops, courses, or online resources on mindfulness and meditation for their students, as well as creating spaces where students can practice these techniques. Whatever strategies law students adopt, law students who understand what they can do to regulate their negative emotions and stress responses will be better positioned to learn more deeply in law school and to perform their best as law students and as lawyers.