Claiming Space began with a conversation between two young lawyers, Joanna and Rachel, about trauma, vulnerability, and the need for change. It was clear from our own personal and professional experience that in bearing witness to client stories, many young lawyers around us were becoming unmanageably stressed, vicariously traumatised, and were burning out.
We were not prepared to accept this reality. It did not seem right that brilliant and hard working junior lawyers should be in tears at their desks, hiding in the loos, or seeking solace in the pub. We decided it was time to create a Space and a community to learn, share and reflect on our practice; to acknowledge our shared experience of client trauma, and to find a way to care for ourselves professionally and personally. So began our conversation and our path towards greater space, support and awareness of the impact of our work.
As we have begun talking about Claiming Space with other professionals in collateral industries it has become increasingly clear that law, particularly law that affects vulnerable populations, lacks the formal supervisory structures that other frontline professionals benefit from. This absence is striking. The impact of hearing client trauma and desperation needs to be listened to in all industries, including the law. At Claiming Space we are keen to explore and to learn from conversations with those working around us about how to move our working approach forward, for ourselves and for our clients.