Throughout my time as an access-to-justice scholar, I have noticed a meaningful gap in our collective understanding of the scope of civil justice problems in the United States and of the real work needed to address the access-to-justice crisis.
“Hey, I want you to know that I’ve got your back.” How many of us have ever said something like that to a colleague or friend? More pointedly, how many of us have ever truly meant those words? And what does “having another person’s back” actually look like?
Science explains that our minds are like icebergs: Our conscious awareness represents 10% of the iceberg above the surface of the water, and our unconscious awareness represents 90% of the iceberg unseen below the surface of the water. We are not aware of 90% of our thoughts/brain functions, which are unconscious—by definition.
I sowed each seed in my garden with equal care and affection. I took great pains to ensure optimal growing conditions: watering them, providing the prescribed fertilizer and periodically extracting weeds.
Back in the day, I ran with the big dogs in BigLaw. Now, after suffering with clinical depression for more than 20 years and surviving a suicide attempt, I am happier than ever in the legal profession. My mental health journey is a cautionary tale, but one with a message of hope.
Concerns about starting your first job after law school are justified. It is terrifying. For many, the first year as an associate will be your first professional job. Little has prepared you for the difficult, confusing and stressful first year ahead.
There are three levels of positive responses to suffering. The first, sympathy, is merely the mental recognition that suffering is present. The second, empathy, includes an emotional component, with the effect that we feel for the person who is suffering. The third, compassion, includes the desire or motivation to do something about that person’s suffering.