Vicarious Trauma: Know the Warning Signs Before It Is Too Late (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 2.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 2.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
GAL for Children CE Credit: 2.0 (GAL Information)
GAL for Incapacitated Persons CE Credit: 2.0 (GAL Information)
Designation Credit: 2.0 Ethics (Designations Information)
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 04/30/2022


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the April 2019 webcast, Vicarious Trauma and Wellness—Know the Warning Signs Before It Is Too Late.

Topics Covered

This course will help attorneys and judges:

  • First and foremost, understand what vicarious trauma is and is not, and learn why lawyers and judges suffer from vicarious trauma disproportionately, and on an even more dangerous level than first responders and emergency room medical staff
  • Learn to identify the symptoms and warning signs of vicarious trauma, which are often hidden and can be insidious
  • Discuss how to address vicarious trauma if it strikes, including a discussion of the possible ethical perils that can, and often do, result from vicarious trauma going unaddressed
  • Learn how to develop resiliency in the practice of law in order to protect yourself from vicarious trauma
  • Help our judiciary, which is so often isolated, to also identify the symptoms and warning signs in themselves, and offer resources to judges who do not have readily available assistance
  • Discuss resources and coping mechanisms for dealing with vicarious trauma

The issue of lawyer wellness has been at the forefront of both the state and national discussion in recent months, and with good reason. The Betty Ford/Hazelton study sounded the alarm, and the National Task Force of Lawyer Well-Being answered the call, publishing in August, 2017 its comprehensive Report on Lawyer Wellness. Virginia’s Chief Justice Donald Lemons was a member of the National Task Force and, following issuance of the Report, formed a Committee here in Virginia, chaired by Justice William Mims, to study the issue further. That Committee released its own report titled “Á Profession in Crisis” last fall. Ours is a profession truly at risk, and these dangers are not limited to lawyers—judges are also impacted and have far fewer resources.

Virginia has been very proactive in taking steps to address this crisis including making several substantive changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the rules governing attorney disciplinary matters. In addition, Chief Justice Lemons, in accord with the recommendations of Justice Mims’s Attorney Wellness Committee, is working to expand the scope and reach of services provided by Lawyers Helping Lawyers so that all of Virginia’s law students, lawyers, and judges can have access to the resources needed to seek assistance, hopefully before a problem arises.

One of the changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct that followed the National Task Force Report was an amendment to RPC 1.1, dealing with competence, which exhorts attorneys to remember that competent representation of our client requires that we also take care of ourselves.

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Hon. Janine M. Saxe,
Fairfax County Juvenile and Relations District Court / Fairfax

Judge Saxe is a district court judge for the 19th Judicial District's Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Virginia. She received her undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

James E. Leffler, MS LPC Clinical Director—Lawyers Helping Lawyers / Richmond

Jim Leffler has worked at Lawyers Helping Lawyers since January, 2004. He has been licensed as a professional counselor since 1990.

Kathryn A. Untiedt, Law Office of Kate Untiedt / Fairfax

Kate Untiedt has been an attorney in private practice in Virginia for more than 25 years. She received her J.D. from the now Scalia School of Law at George Mason University in 1991, during the evening program. Kate served as Chief Justice of the Moot Court Board, Secretary of the Student Bar Association, and Chair of the Honor Court Subcommittees for Rules. She started out doing insurance defense work handling workers compensation, auto accidents, and medical malpractice. In 1995, Kate began specializing in Fairfax JDR District Court, representing children and parents in child abuse and neglect, custody, child support, protective orders, and traffic and criminal matters.

Kate has served on a number of committees with the Fairfax BAR Association, including, the JDR committee, the Circuit Court Committee Family Law section, the library, the CLE, and the pro bono committees. Kate was the editor of the Fairfax County JDR court practices manual. In 2006, Kate received the distinguished Fairfax County CASA Guardian ad Litem of the Year Award for her collaboration and clear compassion representing abused and neglected children. 

In her spare time, Kate enjoys playing tennis, serving as an elder in her church, and enjoyed coaching her niece and nephew at McLean Little League from T-ball through Single A ball.

Kathleen M. Uston, Virginia State Bar / Richmond

Kathleen M. Uston is an Assistant Bar Counsel with the Virginia State Bar in Alexandria, Virginia, and an adjunct professor of law at American University Washington College of Law teaching Ethics for Trial Lawyers. She received her J.D. from George Mason University School of Law in 1991 where she served as President of the Student Bar Association and as a Justice on the Moot Court Board. Ms. Uston was previously in private practice focusing in the areas of attorney ethical defense work, GAL representation, and civil litigation. While in private practice, she also served as a Commissioner in Chancery for the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria. Ms. Uston is a past President of the VSB Young Lawyers Conference during which time she served on the VSB Council and Executive Committee. She also served as vice-chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Solo and Small Firm Committee. Ms. Uston is a former President of the Alexandria Bar Association, and is currently serving as Immediate Past President of the National Organization of Bar Counsel. Ms. Uston is also currently serving as a member of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, is a member of the Presidential Committee on Wellness of the Virginia State Bar, and served as a member of the Virginia Committee on Lawyer Wellness formed by the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. Ms. Uston has lectured extensively on the subject of attorney ethics, and co-authored the updated edition of Lawyers and Other People’s Money with Frank Thomas, Esquire.

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