This article originally appeared in the February 23, 2024 edition of the Law Society of Alberta’s eBulletins. It has been reprinted with permission from David Weyant, President and CEO of the Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association; and was written by Rebecca Young, Education Counsel, with the assistance of the Law Society of Alberta’s Investigations Team.

Staying Safe: How to Manage Threats and Physical Violence Risks in the Legal Profession” (excerpt below)

Lawyers being subjected to threats or physical violence while carrying out their work is a growing concern. While in the past these concerns were fairly isolated to family and criminal law, the body of research available highlights that other practice areas, notably general litigation, labour/employment and human rights law, also face elevated risk levels. Clients and opposing parties who encounter these types of legal issues often experience profound stress on multiple levels, including navigating the complexities of the legal system, encountering financial difficulties, adjusting to their new circumstances and weighing the potentially life-altering outcomes of their legal issues. Poor mental health and lack of personal community supports are also on the rise. It is important that lawyers take proactive steps to minimize the potential for experiencing harm and have a plan should they find themselves in an unsafe situation