ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects about 5%
of the United States adult population. Undiagnosed and untreated, individuals
struggling with ADHD can have difficulties managing their personal and professional lives.
Common issues adult ADHD sufferers experience are difficulties staying on task
and staying organized, managing bills, controlling impulsive behaviors, navigating
social situations, struggling with deadlines and family obligations, holding a
job, and managing relationships. Untreated
ADHD may also lead to anxiety disorders, depression and/or substance use
ADHD symptoms are on a spectrum, and not all need to be
present to indicate ADHD. If you or someone you care about thinks they have ADHD, a neuropsychological evaluation is recommended. There are many online tests that can act as indicators that you may have ADHD, but it is strongly recommended that you speak to your primary care physician and ask for a referral for an evaluation. With a professional diagnosis, there are numerous support services that are available to help adult ADHD individuals manage their symptoms and lives better.
Autism is another neurological disorder that affects approximately 2.8% of the adult population. 95% of these adults have a co-occurring condition such as ADHD, anxiety disorder, or depression. Autism, like ADHD, runs along a spectrum, and is referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD manifests itself as the individual experiencing symptoms in one or more of the following areas: social interactions, verbal and non verbal communication, repetitive or ritualistic behaviors. Some common symptoms include difficulty understanding others' emotions and facial expressions, difficulty in social situations, need for routine and a specific ordering of things, deep knowledge of one specific topic that often results in a monologue given to others nearby whether they're listening or not, and difficulty expressing appropriate emotions/feelings through language or behaviors. ASD does not manifest itself the same in any two individuals, so it often is misinterpreted by others, creating social and personal problems for the individual.
Being diagnosed with a neurological condition does not prevent one from working in the legal field; while it does create some challenges, there are many benefits that come with having a mind that thinks differently when approaching the practice of law. Being aware of your differences and learning how to best manage them and use them to your advantage is a sure path to success. Below are articles about neurodiversity as well as articles written by lawyers who are themselves neurodiverse.
Lawyers with ADHD
What's a Lawyer with ADHD to Do?
ADHD in the Real Life of a Lawyer: An Interview with Anna Levine, Esq.
Lawyers with ADD: Problem or Advantage
Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Tools to Stay on Track
Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults
For Lawyers with Autism: The Work Often Pairs Up with Things They Do Well
I'm a Female Autistic Lawyer