New Lawpod UK episode: Vicarious trauma in the legal profession
19 July 2021
The Covid pandemic has brought the mental health of those within the legal profession into sharp relief. For some people, the past 18 months will have been the first time they have discussed their mental health with clients, colleagues, and supervisors.
To celebrate reaching 500,000 listens on the podcast, I wanted to do something a little different. In this episode I speak to Rachel Francis and Joanna Fleck, two extraordinary women, about their new book: Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession: a practical guide to trauma, burnout and collective care, which comes highly recommended to anyone dealing with trauma in their work.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC has described the book as “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.”
The book is published by Legal Action Group and is available to buy here (from Lag) and here (from Waterstones).
If you are interested in bulk buys of the book, please contact Esther Pilger at EPilger@lag.org.uk
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My response to this blog post is of course coloured by my experience as an unrepresented Litigant since 2011. While I wish no one stress and trauma, in a profession that has in the social context of the UK so well managed to shut themselves off from those undesirables whose cases are not lucrative enough or who not have the means in the first place, a taste of social reality may not be such a bad thing – perhaps some will wake up to make their voice heard in social discourse on social justice and begin to interpret the fine lines of their professional ethics in the interest of those without power. These are well-educated professionals who have the best chances to manage their own stress levels with mindfulness meditation, walking journaling and talking therapy if needed.
I have not looked at the book, so I don’t know whether to agree with Jake’s impulsive reaction. However, I can fully understand it. It reminds me of what I repeatedly have found to be an issue with this blog – a tendency to navel-gazing, rather than an orientation towards they serve and those they don’t (because they are not lucrative enough or don’t have the means in the first place). – So one angle for me at present is: vicarious trauma in a profession that has learned so shut themselves off from the undesirables as described above – may not be a bad thing, it may mean some are forced to come out of denial and act as would have been proper in line with their social standing, starting by interpreting the professional standards/ethics in the interest of those without power and make their voices heard in public discourse. For stress management I recommend https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations
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