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Attorney Wellness During the Pandemic

09/9/2020 | 12:00 PM
09/9/2020 | 01:00 PM

When the Supreme Court established the right to counsel in Gideon v. Wainwright, it recognized that lawyers “are necessities, not luxuries.”  In our necessary roles, the well-being of defense attorneys is even more critical in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.  The stress for defense lawyers has been compounded during this crisis, as we represent clients confined in prisons, separated from loved ones, in facilities where the risk of infection is exponentially greater.  The stress response evolved to help humans escape from predators, and the rest-and-digest system curbs the stress response, calming the body and brain.  Long-term elevated levels of stress can cause psychological problems such as irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression; and physical effects including increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, breathlessness, dizziness, chest pain, digestive problems, muscle tension, and impaired immune response.  Practices that strengthen the rest-and-digest system can mitigate the stress response.  In this webinar, Dr. Debra Austin will provide suggested practices to reduce stress and enhance cognitive effectiveness, well-being, and performance. This webinar will also address the physical and emotional domains of well-being referenced in the American Bar Association’s report on The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change.


Debra Austin, JD, PhD, Professor of the Practice, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO.

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