Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



The 2008 financial collapse catalyzed sweeping changes in the legal profession that resulted in dwindling work for law firms and client demands for deep price discounts. But most law firms are proceeding as if it were business-as-usual despite significant evidence that their lawyers—plagued by mental health problems and job dissatisfaction—are not ready for the challenges of the future. Positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship—the science of how people and organizations thrive—can help guide law firm leaders to build thriving, positive law firms with engaged lawyers that are primed for the future. There is growing evidence that organizations that adopt a positive approach to business perform better on a broad array of measures, including profitability. This paper aims to outline a framework for building the positive law firm by 1) presenting evidence that the legal profession is not thriving, 2) outlining the evidence-based features that will characterize positive law firms, 3) discussing the substantial evidence suggesting that positive organizations perform better than their less vital counterparts, including on financial measures, 4) discussing the potential for positive law firms to become recruiting magnets for the Millennial generation, and (5) discussing future plans for continuing to build a positive legal profession, including the creation of a law firm well-being index. The future vision is of firms where lawyers feel purpose-driven, full of life, and fulfilled; clients feel well cared-for and valued; and communities are elevated by firms’ contributions.


Lawyer, law firm, well-being, wellness, depression, resilience, positive psychology



Date Posted: 02 September 2014