Rebecca Ward and Rick Green examine vicarious trauma and other reasons why lawyers are vulnerable to self-medication with alcohol

There is inherently a horrific level of trauma and vicarious trauma in the legal profession. It matters not whether you work in civil or criminal jurisdictions. Modern technology has rendered easy access to images depicting shocking scenes, which ultimately become part of the factual matrix in any legal problem. These scenes must be viewed and processed by legal practitioners and the judiciary.

Solicitors, barristers and judges are frequently required to read pages of terrible crimes, the worst of human behaviour and all of the components of tragic accidents. Many practitioners and judges, in response, self medicate with alcohol. Comparatively, the American Bar Association reports that over 20 per cent of practising US attorneys sh...

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