Each day, attorneys and other service providers are subject to trauma. By the nature of the profession, they work with victims of crime, victims of poverty, and victims of discrimination. While attorneys do not personally experience this victimization, they do often internalize it and revisit it in case preparation. As a result, attorneys, particularly those in public interest roles, regularly experience, burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. These factors can negatively impact attorneys neurological and physiological functioning, causing them harm and potentially causing harm to their client or their client’s case. For these reasons, it is critically important for attorneys and legal offices to promote the development of resiliency and symptom management techniques. This article analyzes the unique trauma that attorneys can sustain from chronic stress, addresses how that can impact an attorney’s work, and offers techniques attorneys can use to manage their traumas because as the old adage states “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Megan Zwisohn, Wayne Handley, Danielle Winters & Alyssa Reiter,
VICARIOUS TRAUMA IN PUBLIC SERVICE LAWYERING: HOW CHRONIC EXPOSURE TO TRAUMA AFFECTS THE BRAIN AND BODY,
Rich. Pub. Int. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol22/iss2/9