As part of the BBA’s ongoing focus on lawyer wellbeing, earlier this
month the Delivery of Legal Services Section held an introductory workshop for
pro bono and legal services lawyers on understanding vicarious trauma.
The program, led by Katherine Manners of Resilience Works, provided an
overview of vicarious trauma, which represents an occupational challenge for
those working with trauma survivors.
Citing a 2011 study, Manners said that 34% of attorneys working with
traumatized clients meet the criteria for PTSD, and 75% meet the criteria for functional
impairment, such as disruption in one’s personal and family life. She noted that, if left unaddressed,
vicarious trauma can have significant physical, behavioral, emotional,
spiritual, cognitive, and relational effects, and can negatively impact
professional performance. An interactive
activity helped attendees reflect on how some of these effects may have
manifested in their own lives.
Manners stated that vicarious traumatization is inevitable in
workplaces where employees are exposed to the effects of trauma, but that the
negative impacts can be managed, and that both individual practitioners and
entire organizations can adopt practices to increase vicarious resilience,
vicarious transformation, and “compassion satisfaction.” She discussed factors that improve resilience,
and suggested some practical coping tools.
A second program on this topic, “Addressing Vicarious Trauma: Practical
Skills and Planning,” will be held on Thursday, December 12, from 4:00-6:00pm.
The program will focus on helping attendees integrate trauma-informed
principles into their practice, establish professional boundaries, and consider
ways to strengthen team and organizational responses to vicarious trauma. For
more information and to register, click
This programming is made possible in part by the Boston Bar
Foundation’s Joan B. DiCola Fund. This fund provides critical support for
Boston Bar Association programs and initiatives that foster the education and
professional development of lawyers. For more information on the BBF or this
fund, please click here.
The BBA is thrilled to begin a new year of our M.
Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Volunteers can now sign up to
present classroom modules (Personal Finance & Budgeting; Credit & Credit
Cards; and Financing a Large Purchase) at participating schools! Our volunteers
help high school students across Massachusetts learn about making informed and
effective decisions regarding their finances through educational and
experiential opportunities. Since 2005, over 1,400 volunteers have reached close
to 7,000 students statewide.
To sign up to volunteer in a classroom, click here.
To view the volunteer training video for volunteers, click here.
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is made possible by the Charles P. Normandin Fund. This fund provides critical support for the bankruptcy-related pro bono, public service, and civic programs of the Boston Bar Association. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.
Earlier this year, the Boston Bar Association in collaboration
with the Greater Boston Legal Services launched a monthly CORI Sealing Clinic
that assists low-income clients in asking courts to seal their criminal
records. The clinic is held monthly at the
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in downtown Boston and clients can receive
assistance with obtaining, reviewing, and, if advised, sealing or expunging
their records. With the help from our volunteer attorneys, we have
helped nearly 100 members of the community remove the barriers of a CORI in
order to be in a better position to obtain jobs, housing, educational
We would like to thank our volunteer attorneys, law students,
paralegals, and summer associates for dedicating time and hard work to
assisting members of the community in need.
Doucette (Anderson & Kreiger Summer Associate)
Rosenblatt (Sullivan & Worcester)
Bombaugh (Sullivan & Worcester)
Dinning (Anderson & Kreiger)
Finklea (Liberty Mutual)
Cunha (Liberty Mutual)
Dennis (Greater Boston Legal Services)
Wise (Liberty Mutual)
Robinson (New England Law Student)
This project was made
possible through collaboration with the private bar, legal services agencies,
law schools and the court system. The BBA is grateful for the support of
sponsor firms Sullivan &
Worcester LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP , who have committed to
staffing the clinic with volunteer attorneys during its pilot phase. The launch
of this clinic would also not be possible without the expertise of Greater
Boston Legal Services’ CORI & Re-Entry Project Director Pauline Quirion and
New England Law Center for Law and Social Responsibility Director David
If you are an attorney interested in volunteering with the CORI Sealing Clinic, please click here for more information.