84 UMKC L. Rev. 987 (2015-2016)
Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: What Lawyers Need to Know

handle is hein.journals/umkc84 and id is 1013 raw text is: 



          BURNOUT AND COMPASSION FATIGUE:
              WHAT LAWYERS NEED TO KNOW

   Lee Norton,  Ph.D., M.S.W., Jennifer Johnson, Esq., &  George Woods,   MD*

        Burnout  and  compassion  fatigue are not unique to individuals who work
in social welfare or the mental health professions. Ironically, lawyers are more
susceptible to these problems. This is sofor several reasons, notably the extreme
value  placed   on   competition,  self-sufficiency, and  abnegating   individual
emotional   needs;  the  isolated work   conditions characteristic  of most   law
practices; and  the effect of the adversarial system on all spheres of professional
and  personal   lfe.  Burnout   and  compassion   fatigue  cause  chronic  health
problems,   poor  job   performance,   substance   abuse   and  other  forms   of
self-medication, and  impoverished  relationships. Attorneys must understand  the
dynamics,   symptoms   and  effective intervention for burnout  and  compassion
fatigue in order to provide competent representation.
        Burnout  and  compassion  fatigue are related conditions that result from
 exposure to distressing or traumatic experiences. While the terms are often used
 interchangeably, there are differences worth noting since the two problems   can
 exist individually or together.

                                 I. BURNOUT

         Burnout results from a discrepancy  between  expectations and outcomes,
 or the perceived needs of a task exceeding the perceived resources.' It is caused
 by a combination  of factors spanning personality traits to organizational culture.2
 Individuals who  are especially idealistic, have poor personal and  professional
 boundaries, find themselves  in jobs that do not match their skills and interests,
 and define themselves by their work, are more vulnerable to burnout.3 Similarly,
 organizations characterized  by  unrealistic expectations, lack of collaborative


 * Lee Norton, Ph.D., M.S.W. is founder and owner of the Center for Trauma Therapy in Nashville,
 TN. She is board certified in forensic traumatologist and Fellow, American Academy of Experts in
 Traumatic Stress. She has taught extensively in the areas of secondary trauma and compassion
 fatigue in attorneys and other forensic personnel. Jennifer Johnson, J.D. is a practicing criminal
 defense attorney in San Francisco. She is a founder of San Francisco's Behavioral Health Court
 and teaches at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law. George Woods, MD, FAPA is
 a neuropsychiatrist, practicing in Oakland, California. He teaches at Morehouse School of
 Medicine and the University of California-Berkeley School of Law. He is President of the
 International Academy of Law and Mental Health. The authors would like to thank attorneys
 Thomas Bloom, Jackie Walsh and Michael Passino for their contributions to this Article. Each
 devoted considerable time to this effort, and provided critical insight about the nature and relevance
 of the topic. Thomas Bloom is in private practice in Nashville, Tennessee. Jackie Walsh is a
 partner with Walsh and Larranaga in Seattle, Washington. Michael Passino is with the Federal
 Public Defenders Office in Nashville, Tennesse. The authors also would like to thank Logan
 Rothschild, a research assistant in Nashville, Tennessee, for her many hours of diligent and
 conscientious work on this project.
 ' Chungsup Lee et al., Low StaffMorale & Burnout: Causes & Solutions, OFFICE OF RECREATION &
 PARK RESOURCES 1, 2-3 (May 2012), https://illinois.edullb/files/2012/06/01/39974.pdf.
 2Id
 TREATING COMPASSION FATIGUE 4-5 (Charles Figley ed., 2002).

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