Passing the bar and becoming a lawyer is not all that it is made to be. At least not on the happiness and well-being fronts. Research shows that lawyers have significantly higher incidence of mental health, depression and substance abuse. One group, however, stands out for being significantly happier, albeit receiving substantially lower financial rewards: lawyers in public-service jobs. The key explanation is that their jobs provide them with feelings of competence, autonomy and connection to others — three pillars of self-determination theory, the psychological model of human happiness on which the study was based. The more prestigious high-paying jobs do not. The study was published this week in the George Washington Law Review. It comes with the good news of several initiatives to help guide law students so as to spare them some of their elders’ misfortunes.