Advising individuals impacted by trauma
Launch of bespoke online global training modules
Freshfields' global pro bono team has developed and launched a set of innovative internal global training modules on the topic of “Trauma-informed client care”.
The training content was designed from scratch by the global pro bono team, and is available to Freshfields lawyers who provide pro bono advice to individuals who may have experienced trauma.
Freshfields' internal Learning & Development team then built the modules on a platform accessible by all colleagues.
The training features numerous short video clips from clients, including lawyers and consultant psychologists at a range of advice charities that Freshfields works closely with on its pro bono work. The theory that underlies the topic, along with practical tips, are set out by expert practitioners including the following:
- Jamila Duncan-Bosu - solicitor and founding member of the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (UK).
- Abigail Swenstein and Sarah Dolan - senior defense attorney and mitigation specialist/social worker respectively at the Legal Aid Society (New York, US), and Catherine Carbonaro - Touro Law Center (New York, US).
- Nicole Fidler (director at Sanctuary for Families, US) and Dr Chitra Raghavan (clinical forensic psychologist and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York; and psychologist expert for Sanctuary for Families, US).
- Louise Whitfield - solicitor and head of legal casework at Liberty (UK).
The training also features David Oldfield - a lawyer in the Freshfields global pro bono team, who has several years' legal aid experience advising vulnerable and marginalised individuals in the UK.
The objective of the training is to help Freshfields lawyers understand how best they can advise pro bono clients who exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions. It is about the positive difference that lawyers can make in their professional relationships with clients.
The training contains interactive multiple choice questions and a frequently-asked-questions handout. Freshfields lawyers have provided very positive initial feedback about how it has been: “immensely useful”, “very worthwhile”, “really interesting”, and “invaluable”.
Mark Brenner (digital learner developer at Freshfields) explains that "Working with the global pro bono team on this was enjoyable but challenging! This was the first time that I have created a mixed text, video, and multiple choice question based set of training modules on such a scale, and it was also the first time that we have incorporated so many client videos into training modules. I have put a lot of courses together, but this one I have to say is one of my proudest. Not just because of the length of time that it took to complete with all the requests for amendments that came my way from the global pro bono team on a weekly basis over several months but because of the importance of the topic and the number of lawyers who have completed it and given really positive feedback."
Paul Yates (counsel, head of pro bono at Freshfields) says "I'm delighted with this training package - I think it offers a whole series of really important and useful insights that will help us better serve our clients."