Lawyering Best Practices for Working with Clients in Trauma
Created on June 25, 2021
Special care is needed when working with clients in trauma, to support them and to protect yourself. This session explores a trauma-informed approach to interviewing and witness preparation, including the ways that trauma affects the brain, creating a safe environment for the interview with a person in trauma, how to ask questions in a way that will obtain the information you need without needless re-traumatization, recognizing and managing the effects of trauma during the interview, handling common trauma responses like emotional outbursts and emotional shutdown, how to communicate information in a way that a person in trauma can understand it, special considerations like responding to threats to harm one's self or others, and ending the interview in a positive way. Attendees will leave with a list of helpful resources to know when working with those in trauma (e.g., where to find a domestic violence shelter, the suicide hotline number, and how to report suspected child abuse).
This program will benefit practitioners who work with clients in trauma, including those in criminal law, family law, immigration law, employment law, and all those whose work, including pro bono work, touches on issues of trauma.
- Describe how a traumatic event affects a person's ability to think and function
- Define a trauma-informed approach to lawyering
- Interact with someone in trauma so that you can obtain the information you need without needless re-traumatization
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