Most people think being a lawyer is a relatively safe occupation. After all, filing motions and briefs while wearing a fancy suit doesn't exactly scream "high risk."
As it turns out, an increasing number of attorneys are becoming victims of targeted attacks. According to one source, district attorneys (those charged with prosecuting criminal offenses) ranked among the top five of all victim professions. With two prosecutors murdered in Kaufman, Texas, last year, and the recent abduction of the father of a prosecutor in North Carolina, the threat is very real.
Even attorneys in private practice are not immune. Across the country, lawyers face danger from opposing parties, interested parties, and even their own clients. In one study, 46 percent of attorneys reported being threatened or assaulted on the job at least once in their career. More shocking, 42 percent of those violent encounters happened at their own office!
The fact is, it's not becoming dangerous to be a lawyer, it is dangerous. The practice of law often brings the attorney into contact with people experiencing extreme emotional upheaval. Whether it's seeking custody of a child, contesting the division of assets, or avoiding prison time, the litigants in these cases can become extremely volatile.
While most litigants probably view the attorney as someone who is "just doing their job," that view can always change. The more contested or heated the litigation becomes, a party may become personally bitter with the attorney - especially if the legal process yields unfavorable results. This may carry negative consequences.
"...the practice of law often brings the attorney into contact with people experiencing extreme emotional upheaval."
Yet despite the warnings, the legal community remains largely unaware and unprepared against the danger. Law schools simply do not address the matter. There are few, if any, continuing legal education (CLE) courses for prosecutors, defense, or civil attorneys available on the subject. Some Bar associations do attempt to provide its members with some information, but the content often lacks substance and fails to impart actionable information built around suitable framework.
That is why RTG launched a new training program designed to arm judges, lawyers, and other members of the legal community with the knowledge and tools needed to guard themselves against becoming victims of targeted attacks. In our program, we address:
- Understanding the Nature & Dynamics Targeted Attacks
- Common Myths & Misconceptions of Violence
- Motivational & Behavioral Patterns of Attackers
- Threat Assessments: Predicting the Next Attack
- What Attorneys Can Do to Protect Themselves
At RTG, our goal is to raise awareness and equip leaders who will train their colleagues and co-workers in their respective offices, agencies, and firms. If you would like more information about our program or training packages, please contact us today.