VICARIOUS TRAUMA IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION: A REVIEW: A BOOK WELL WORTH BUYING
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.
The book is written by Joanna Fleck (until recently a practicing solicitor) and Rachel Francis (a practicing barrister) and published by the Legal Action Group. At £18 (£23 for a hard copy and ebook) it can only represent value for money.
The book covers issues of vicarious trauma, its prevalence within the legal profession and its impact, from burnout and compassion fatigue to post-traumatic stress disorder.
From raising the problems, it deals with action: individual, team and peer, organisational action and profession-wide action.
IS IT WORTH BUYING?
Without a doubt. It is a practical issue that we all have to address. The discussion of the serious issues involved is supplemented by fascinating quotations from lawyers and others who have suffered. These quotations bring home, in a very real way, that these are serious day-to-day issues often ignored within the profession.
“I think the main thing with the vicarious trauma and those kind of issues is that there just is no preparation for it; all of a sudden you might be in a meeting with a client to take their witness statement and they are telling you something horrific. You’re not their counsellor, but equally you cannot just be sobbing…. it is very odd, very difficult.”
WILL YOU LEARN ANYTHING?
Most people will learn a lot. These issues extend well beyond those working in crime, family and immigration. I have been concerned in particular, for many years, about the way that lawyers are affected by, and respond to, those who have suffered a fatality in their family. The legal profession are often on the front line in dealing with the bereaved, yet have no training. That is no training in how to deal with the recently bereaved and how to cope with the tremendous pressures that this gives rise to.
IS IT VALUE FOR MONEY?
At £18.00 – without a doubt.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The authors themselves recognise that this book is the beginning of a process rather than the final word. Tackling these issues takes time and effort. Future generations of practitioners may well come to thank the time and effort put into these issues by the authors of this book.