Overcoming Stigma: Recommendations for Positive Change
Created on March 27, 2018
Substance abuse and mental illness can affect any attorney regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic status. But no matter what their background, attorneys dealing with these issues seem to suffer in silence. Why? Stigma – cultural prejudice and discrimination that labels an individual suffering from such illnesses as defective, or weak, oft-times have more damaging consequences than the illness itself and create a barrier to treatment.
This presentation, led by attorney Tracy Kepler, will define the stigma, explain the reasons why stigma is so pervasive in the legal profession, and why it is critical to overcome these beliefs and identify effective means to ameliorate stigma and replace its effects with affirming attitudes for recovery. It will focus on several different "life stages" of an attorney - law students, practicing attorneys, and judges, as well as unique challenges faced by underrepresented minorities, and how stigma affects each group. Finally, the course will identify practical and applicable ways to conquer stigma in the legal community.
- Define stigma and explain why it is so pervasive in the legal community
- Examine the various statistics demonstrating the prevalence of stigma in the legal profession
- Explore the different stages an attorney's life, and unique challenges faced by each group
- Identify practical ways to overcome and recover from stigma
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