Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession: a practical guide to trauma, burnout and collective care
Overview
Legal Action Group
'I felt very privileged to be asked to write the foreword to this special book. I think it should be used to help lawyers (and their employers or professional organisations) recognise that it is not surprising they feel anxious and stressed out ... No professional person should be unsupported in their work nor so poorly rewarded that their survival in the profession they love is put at risk. This book is a wake-up call about what is happening to law and access to justice – but it is also a clarion as to what is happening to lawyers.' Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
'An indispensable addition to the library of any lawyer working one step removed from trauma.' Law Society Gazette
'Essential reading for all lawyers as well as those in charge of the regulation of the legal professions … accessible, readable and practical .' LawCare
'This is a book that is long overdue. A careful and detailed consideration of issues relating to trauma and burnout in the legal profession. It is both topical (covering the impact of Covid) and also wider ranging than the short title indicates.' Civil Litigation Brief
'Informative, highly readable and, above all, practical.' Law Society Gazette
Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession is a practical guide to trauma, burnout and collective care. Using case studies from lawyers in their own words, it provides the individual with tools for self-reflection and provides organisations with an understanding of trauma-informed working practices and guidance towards implementing collective care, training and support in the workplace.
Lawyers working in legal aid, social justice or with survivors of injury regularly work with traumatic and emotionally potent caseloads and often draw on skills for which they have had no formal training. They bear witness to the pain of clients, to the suffering that humans inflict upon each other, and to the incredible strength of survivors of violence, torture and abuse. They do this while dealing with the financial pressure of poor rates of pay, constantly overstretched resources and a relentlessly hostile political environment.
While there has been a growing conversation within the legal profession about the mental health of lawyers, much of it looks at mental health as a primarily personal issue: the individual’s work/life balance and stress as a personal response. Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession draws focus to the impact of traumatic casework for lawyers and how collectively change can be made.
Contents:
What is trauma?
Vicarious trauma
Vicarious trauma and the legal profession
Physiological effects and impacts of vicarious trauma
Guilt and compassion satisfaction and risk factors
The frontline: personal, social and political contexts
Raising awareness and creating supportive cultures
Individual action
Team and peer action
Organisational action
Profession-wide action
Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession is essential reading for lawyers across many areas of law, from criminal defence to family law, immigration, and any area involving vulnerable populations: law centres, advice clinics and the voluntary sector. It should also be required reading for organisational leaders, HR managers, practice managers, representational and membership associations and those in charge of regulation of the professions.

About the author

Description: Joanna Fleck - author
Joanna Fleck works in mental health and is a trainee psychotherapist. She was previously a solicitor working in civil liberties. She is the...

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