are a group of legal professionals (attorneys, paralegals, law students, and admin) who have suffered from depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD, eating disorders, trauma, sexual abuse, addiction and other mental health conditions, or who just don’t feel quite right.
We launched this grassroots project to help break the stigma around discussing our mental health and to provide peer support to each other.
We host a confidential forum and bi-monthly online peer-to-peer support group meetings and offer members the option of anonymity.
Candid explorations of health and mental health experiences
Impacts on legal practice in various contexts and seniority levels
Tools for effective management and work-life balance
Personal dynamics of self-care, life design, family, roles and more
To participate, members need only share emergency contact information with one of the group’s founders, Joe Milowic.
After that, members will receive an anonymous email address for use with group meetings and to participate in the group’s web forum and chat room.
Your information is confidential with us.
We will not share it with anyone else in the group without your permission.
Peer support - not therapy
This is a peer support group – not group therapy. We are not doctors or mental health professionals.
Members agree to maintain in confidence the identities of all members and the content of all discussions in the forum and support group meetings.
Members agree to treat each other with respect and kindness. Everyone should have a chance to share, and no one person should monopolize group time or resources.
Mute when not speaking
To ensure the best group experience, please mute your line when not speaking.
We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. By participating in the site, forum or meetings, members are agreeing to waive all claims against the officers, board, and facilitators of the group.
Founders & Facilitators
Joseph Milowic III
I am a partner at Quinn Emanuel. And I suffer from depression. I was diagnosed with major depression over a decade ago. For a long time, I did not feel comfortable admitting this to my colleagues for fear of being perceived as incapable or unproductive. This was especially so as a young associate because I was worried people would be less likely to entrust me with important matters if they knew that I sometimes go through periods where I lose motivation and focus. My doctor warned that depression often comes back later in life and can be even worse the next time. Over the years, I battled it off and on, in what I would describe as cycles of high productivity and occasional ruts that I just need to work through. During the ruts, I would lose motivation and need to remind myself that it is only temporary — it is an illness and that life is not in fact pointless.
I came to realize that depression is an illness like any other illness and it deserves to be recognized and treated as such without fear of stigmatization. I realized too why depression is so dangerous — when your mind is ill, you can actually believe there is no point to anything, including living. And unfortunately, sometimes, when you don’t realize you’re sick the results can be tragic, particularly for those we leave behind. These realizations were a turning point for me, and I decided that speaking out from my position as a partner at Quinn Emanuel would enable me to be more impactful in speaking out about mental illness. And the fact is we should be talking about this, because you can succeed in Biglaw, and at a top law firm, even if you suffer from depression. I’m committed to these matters in hopes that someone who is suffering from depression, like I was, will read about my experience and get help
I am an attorney in Lafayette, Indiana. I grew up in a world where I felt I had to keep my diagnosis private. I kept it private through law school and the first seven years of my law career. In January 2017, I disclosed my bipolar II diagnosis in an article published in the Indiana Lawyer newspaper. My disclosure allowed me to reach out and connect. A colleague shared Joe’s article with me. I shared my story with Joe and he invited me to participate. LDP is the peer community that I hoped to discover when I started this journey.
Julia A. Clayton
I was diagnosed with OCD after my first year of law school. Although I had struggled with the symptoms for many years before that, it took a summer externship fraught with anxious thoughts and compulsive checking of things ranging from my research cites to the door of the judge’s chambers to make sure it had in fact locked behind me, to realize that I needed help. Now 15 years later, I know how to manage my compulsive checking behaviors. Yet I also want to be more transparent about the footprint of the other side of the OCD equation — obsessive thoughts and rumination — and what that means in my professional and personal life. LDP has provided a supportive and inclusive environment for me to share my insights about OCD. The calls also serve as a weekly affirmation that it is okay to be committed to one’s mental and physical well-being. I feel very lucky to be part of the LDP team.
David Evan Markus
David Evan Markus, Esq., serves as judicial referee in the civil parts of New York Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District, and has served in multiple senior legal and policy roles throughout New York State government, including under New York Chief Judges Jonathan Lippman and Judith S. Kaye, and the New York State Senate. Also an ordained rabbi, Markus serves as pulpit clergy at Temple Beth El of City Island (New York City, NY), as North America’s only pulpit rabbi also to serve full-time in government. Markus brings to his LDP facilitation his additional certification as a multi-faith spiritual counselor. He serves as rabbinic faculty at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York, faculty in spiritual direction for ALEPH (the seminary of Jewish Renewal), and founding builder for Bayit: Building Jewish.
Markus previously has taught political science and judicial administration for Fordham University, and administrative law for Pace University’s graduate program in public administration. Markus earned his rabbinical ordination and spiritual director ordination from ALEPH, his Juris Doctor magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Williams College. He lives in New York.
Darin B. Wizenberg
I have practiced law as a civil and criminal litigator in New York City since 2001. Long before I became an attorney I had to live with and survive my major depression. I know what it’s like to struggle and I know what it’s like to do well. One day at a time and we help each other. The condition didn’t stop me from winning my first 20 jury trials. It actually helped in surprising ways. Trials are often about heartache and pain. It can help when counsel knows it on a cellular level. I’ve been facilitating meetings with the Lawyers Depression Project over the past year. There are extraordinary individuals in this community. Get the support you need as we help each other be our best. If fear of stigma is making you pause, remember that a little-known lawyer named Abraham Lincoln would have felt right at home with us.
Angela HanCorporate Lawyer
I just joined LDP last week and attended the first call, and it made my week.
I was able to share a deeply personal issue I was going through without feeling judged because everybody on the call was so supportive, caring, and helpful. I felt like they knew what I was going through, and I felt completely safe sharing things I would rarely share with other lawyers.
I plan to attend every call I can go to because there is really no other space out there like this just for lawyers. If you are going through a challenge and you are uncertain about whether anyone can understand you, I highly recommend giving LDP a chance. When I had an eating disorder, I felt helpless when I could not find a resource. Even after my recovery, I still struggle with my mental health, except now, I know that I have LDP as a community and a resource to turn to.
Meredith Siller RimalowerClinical Counseling Trainee and former BigLaw associate
LDP is an easily accessible, pressure-free environment where lawyers can share and truly be heard.
Through meetings and online forums, LDP is an easily accessible, pressure-free environment where lawyers can share and truly be heard, without judgment, among thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate members.
Lisa SmithDeputy Executive Director and Director of Client Relations at Patterson Belknap in New York City
I’m thrilled that lawyers now have this incredible community of support — no one needs to work through these issues alone.
I was terrified of anyone in my firm learning of my substance use, so I had resisted seeking the help I needed. I’m committed to smashing the stigma around these issues so that we can all understand the resources available to us and feel comfortable reaching out for help. We all deserve to be healthy and happy. I’m thrilled that lawyers now have this incredible community of support — no one needs to work through these issues alone.
Reid MurtaughAttorney in Lafayette, Indiana
LDP is the peer community that I hoped to discover when I started this journey.
I attend individual therapy bi-weekly. However, I have only attended a traditional mental health support group two times in my life. I found them helpful but never returned. LDP is different than a traditional support group. I have regularly attended LDP calls over the past year. The calls provide me with a sense of belonging that I can’t find anywhere else. Knowing that I have instant access to peer support provides a greater feeling of stability. If you are looking to connect with others that experience similar struggles as you, this community is for you.
Julia A. ClaytonAttorney, California
I feel very lucky to be part of the LDP team.
LDP has provided a supportive and inclusive environment for me to share my insights about OCD. The calls also serve as a weekly affirmation that it is okay to be committed to one’s mental and physical well-being. I feel very lucky to be part of the LDP team.
For the first time in my life I feel like I can reach out to a group who truly understands what it's like to have depression and anxiety on the inside while functioning as a "high performer" on the outside.
It’s incredibly helpful having a network of individuals with highly relatable feelings, experiences and circumstances. For the first time in my life I feel like I can reach out to a group who truly understands what it’s like to have depression and anxiety on the inside while functioning as a “high performer” on the outside. Thank you Joe and the LDP community!