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.