Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 30

FEATURE

"Compassion fatigue
is very real . . . it is clear
that they feel helpless
advocating for folks
and knowing the
unpredictability that
they face."
presented by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the D.C.
Bar. There he first learned about STS and VT.
"I'd never even heard of the concept, but I've always been fascinated
with mental health and wellness," Mascagni says. "Even though I work
for a nonprofit I founded, I'm a solo employee right now. So, I'm interested
in how a solo practitioner, who really doesn't have a team or a firm, gets
mental health balance."
After learning about some of the signs of STS, such as apathy, avoidance
of certain clients, and hypervigilance, Mascagni didn't see himself as
someone struggling with it. "I do a lot of delinquency cases," he says.
He's had to look at surveillance videos depicting violent incidents. "After
watching somebody get beaten down pretty badly on the street or some
other guy get really messed up for not paying attention, I become very
hypervigilant when walking on the street after maybe four weeks of
looking at videos like that. But that's just me being a lawyer, [someone]
who's super careful in the way I've always been."
For Mascagni, the onus of embracing wellness to combat secondary
trauma is on him. He makes it a point to practice yoga, exercise regularly,
meditate, and connect with other solo practitioners. "When we recognize
that we are super stressed out and overwhelmed, my group of friends of
street lawyers makes it a point to get together once a month or every few
weeks. It's literally us kind of unloading on each other some of the nasty
stuff we're dealing with," he says. "That's been very helpful, basically
having my own network."
Working independently can be pretty isolating, Tiller says. "So, it becomes
even more important to form those networks with people to have weekly
30 WASHINGTON LAWYER

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

or monthly check-in meetings and really talk about not just the legal
side of work but also the personal side . . . and how it affects them. It's
important to have a space to talk about some of this stuff."
Public interest attorneys in more remote areas dealing with emotionally
taxing issues such as asylum or mass incarceration have an even greater
challenge because they work in wellness deserts with limited access to
gyms, spas, and therapists.
"That's really hard," Tiller says, mentioning a nascent wave of internetbased therapy. "But the way some of the laws are written right now, therapists need to be licensed both where they are [and] where their clients
live. I think those laws will change at some point."
"There is a lot of discussion around tele-mental health. But there's also
a lot of controversy over it about the possible liability issue," Tiller adds.
"It can be sort of tricky if someone is at risk for significant self-harm and
the therapist isn't there. How will the therapist be held liable if that
person hangs up and does something to harm him- or herself?"
Grappling with wellness in geographically isolated areas is something
that the legal and mental health fields are continuing to discuss. "I think
it depends upon the people within those communities to embrace the
ABCs of self-care, which are awareness, balance, and connection. I think
it's about finding what is in your community," Tiller says. "I don't think you
necessarily have to be a licensed professional to stay engaged in your
community in ways that feel good. It could be as simple as having a
regularly scheduled lunch or cooking club. But that connection is really
important, particularly in a community when there's a crisis. That coming
together afterward is really important."



Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
The Opioid Litigation Wars
The Art Of Wellness: Law Firms Get Creative
Combating Secondary Trauma
Debating The Path Forward On Health Care Reform
Taking The Stand
On Further Review
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking Of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Special Section: Counting Down To The 2020 Conference
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 5
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - The Opioid Litigation Wars
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 18
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - The Art Of Wellness: Law Firms Get Creative
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Combating Secondary Trauma
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Debating The Path Forward On Health Care Reform
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Taking The Stand
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 44
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 46
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Speaking Of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Special Section: Counting Down To The 2020 Conference
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 54
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2020 - Cover4
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