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Letting It All Hang Out: Learning to Better Manage Challenging Lawyer-Client Relationships
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 registration 5:30 program 6-8

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Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by clients’ multiple needs and your limited resources? Do you have clients whose emotional problems challenge your ability to adequately address their legal needs? Do client demands sometimes threaten your own wellbeing? Do you feel that your life is out of balance?

The successful and satisfying practice of law depends on having positive client relationships despite such challenges. Emotional competence, including understanding basic psychological principles and psychodynamic processes, facilitates good relationships. Yet, lawyers traditionally receive little training beyond their technical, analytical skills.

For many other professions, supportive supervision of personal skills, sometimes in the form of peer support groups, is an essential element of education and practice. Dr. Jeffrey Sternlieb will introduce how such groups, named Balint groups after the Hungarian-trained psychoanalyst, Michael Balint, have helped medical doctors gain insight into their interactions with their patients, manage stress, and provide peer support and group learning, all to facilitate better medical practice. The program will include a demonstration of how Balint groups accomplish these goals. A panel of experts, including a law professor, a lawyer and a social worker, will explore how similar groups might equip lawyers to better handle the emotional aspects of legal practice.

  • Jeffrey L. Sternlieb, PhD, Balint Group Facilitator and Trainer
  • Marjorie A. Silver, Professor, Touro Law Center, editor and contributing author of The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession (2007).
  • Eileen Travis, LCSW, Director, Lawyer Assistance Program, NYC Bar Association
  • Sofia Yakren, Esq., Beldock, Levine & Hoffman LLP, author of Lawyer as Emotional Laborer, 42 Univ. Mich. J. L. Reform 141 (2008). Printed materials and light refreshments will be available.