Workplace Bullying University for Legal Professionals
Add to your practice management skills by learning to deal with the bullied/harassed client better.
• bullied clients present challenges because of their strong negative affect - they feel wronged, treated unjustly by both indifferent employers, inadequate laws and betrayed by their union, coworkers, HR, and senior management
• because of the stress-related health consequences (which are explored in detail), they may actually be incapable of rendering good decisions and weighing options rationally
• if traumatized, clients will present themselves angrily and be unrealistically demanding
Attorneys need not be psychologists, but WBI Workplace Bullying University prepares legal professionals to better anticipate emotional barriers to delivering quality client care with these special clients. We accomplish this by thorough coverage of bullying etiology and an understanding of its manifestations across its multiple stages.
Building the client partnership is difficult. It starts with an emotionally charged intake process where the prospective client has difficulty describing their experiences in a cogent and concise manner for you to assess its fit with the law. Deposition preparation is more difficult than usual because of depression-impaired recall and concentration problems. There is also risk of re-traumatization having their own deposition taken and the witnessing of others' depositions. Follow through is uneven. Finally, there is a general reluctance to accept settlements of any kind despite your best advice. Their need for justice often overwhelms rational, pragmatic decisions in their best self-interest.
After University training, you will be able to anticipate and overcome all these client care and relations concerns.
In fact, without such background in bullied targethood, attorneys may mistakenly dismiss certain clients because of relational difficulties that could have been avoided had the attorney better understood the phenomenon and how it adversely affects the individual's cognitive and emotional abilities.
Comments about the training by Suffolk University Law Professor David Yamada (a July 2011 University attendee):
This was a unique and remarkable intellectual and personal experience. Here’s why: First, the Namies have assembled a jam-packed, soup-to-nuts curriculum about the many aspects of workplace bullying, starting with the phenomenon itself, moving into individual and stakeholder responses, and looking at future developments such as law reform. It is a very, very substantive program, built around not only the Namies’ own work, but also the extensive research and commentary that have emerged over the past couple of decades.
Second, despite the heavy-duty content, there was plenty of time for discussion. Collectively, our small group (eight in all, including the Namies) brought work experiences in human resources, science and technology, mental health, law enforcement, non-profit advocacy, hospitality management, higher education, and law. This diversity of background made for rich and spirited exchanges between participants over the course of the three-day seminar.
Finally — and this was the most personally gratifying aspect of the weekend — WBI U provided us with a chance to share our interests, stories, and experiences. The discussions went well past the designated meeting times, extending over dinners, coffee, and drinks. When people come together to immerse themselves in a topic like this one, bonds form quickly and ideas begin to hatch.