People often go to law school hoping to make the world a better place. Many lawyers pursue that goal – representing victims of domestic violence, defending those facing homelessness because of foreclosure, those accused of crime who also suffer from addiction or mental illness or assisting immigrants facing deportation, for example. Yet over time, this work can lead to compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is defined as the cumulative physical, emotional and psychological effects of being continually exposed to traumatic stories or events when working in a helping capacity. It has been studied extensively in social workers, nurses, doctors and therapists who work with victims of trauma. Recently researchers have begun to examine the impact upon legal professionals. This seminar looks at which legal professionals are most at risk, the development of compassion fatigue, the interface between attorney impairment and discipline and what individual and organizational measures can prevent and mitigate compassion fatigue.
Sponsored by: The Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Commission on Law and Aging, Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division and the ABA Center for Professional Development.
This program was made possible by the generous financial support from the TIPS Fellows of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.