Law in Contemporary Society


-- By NoahRushin - 26 Feb 2021


This essay will explore the roles that dissociation plays in the practice of law. More specifically, the essay will analyze how subconscious dissociation is created, and how it can become detrimental. The essay will first highlight how subconscious dissociation is brought about. Then, the detriments of this subconscious dissociation are explored. Finally, readers will be able to understand how they can process the trauma that leads to dissociation.

Defining Dissociation:

Before analyzing dissociation, the term “dissociation” must be defined. For this essay, dissociation is defined as a trauma response that leads to a decrease in the lawyer’s capacity to accurately process information (Lawyer Land). Dissociation is an unconscious process which results in people automatically suppressing their awareness of traumatic events. Lawyers do this because their mind cannot handle the truth surrounding their actions and the trauma that it inflicts on their psyche. It is a response to protect a person’s ego and emotions.

Creation of Dissociation:

In small doses, dissociation is necessary - even natural - in law and day-to-day life. A certain level of dissociation is necessary when handling and dealing with clients and in a lawyer’s practice as well. When working with emotional parties during a deal, a lawyer sometimes dissociates from their actions in order to remain professional. The lawyer automatically does this in order to protect themselves mentally from the emotional baggage tied to their actions. Dissociation also occurs when one’s actions do not coincide with the type of person they think they are. Most humans label themselves as “good”. As a result, when they commit harmful or wrong acts or are put in situations that cause them great trauma or negatively impact their self image, the initial reaction is to automatically dissociate.

Negative Impacts:

Dissociation has negative effects on a lawyer's ability to develop a fulfilling practice and perform their duties. The main effect of dissociation is that it can lead to a “split” in a lawyer’s mind as discussed in the reading (Lawyer Land). When a lawyer automatically dissociates from their actions the negative psychological effects build up. This harms the lawyer’s mental psyche and can cause them to break when their subconscious can no longer automatically ignore the repeated tasks. This ignorance makes people less insightful about their job and therefore less creative. It has been repeatedly stated in class that creativity is necessary for the development of a fulfilling legal practice. Lawyers become uncreative by not being able to accurately analyze the current legal sphere and how the law is shaped by certain forces, including their own actions. These lawyers have less understanding of the legal system and reality. As a result, these lawyers cannot build a successful practice.

Guiding Principles:

A few guiding principles can be developed to help prevent lawyers from undergoing this automatic response to trauma. Through the analysis of dissociation, a clear framework can be created to help readers decrease this unconscious dissociation.

The first principle is for a lawyer to have a clear set of beliefs and goals that coincide with their values. A lawyer figuring out their “why” is the most important step in developing a fulfilling legal practice. Causes that lawyers are passionate about and communities that they wish to help can all serve as a basis for these goals and beliefs. Lawyers carefully analyzing what brings them joy outside of material possessions can allow them to make a concrete list of acts and pursuits that would decrease their subconscious need for dissociation. Before going into practice lawyers must develop some sort of moral compass and have a concrete awareness of what actions align with their morals.

The second principle as discussed in reading Learning From, and In Tragedy one goal of a lawyer is to “discern more and dissociate” less. It is important to recognize that lawyers have time to think. Allowing for the initial shock of a certain situation or traumatic event to pass allows for lawyers to not act under the influence of a dissociative state. An important guiding principle when it comes to dissociation is to give the mind time to process the totality of the events.

The third principle is to take into account the systematic nature of law and listening to multiple perspectives on a situation before acting. When dealing with a shocking event, sometimes getting multiple viewpoints can help ground the lawyer and lessen the dissociation. As Learning From, and In Tragedy discusses, different sets of facts and descriptions are created regarding the situation when multiple viewpoints are taken into account. The overlap of these varying views can be used by the lawyer to ground them in their work and decision making. As a result, speaking to others and getting their feedback on traumatic events can help lessen the effects of dissociation and help the lawyer make more grounded decisions and accurate solutions.


Lawyers must be solution oriented and are tasked with solving many complex and traumatic problems. As a profession, law requires one to process disturbing events in a healthy manner which will lead to solutions based in reality. Lawyers must be patient with themselves and recognize their emotions, but they must work towards moving out of dissociative states, especially when performing their job duties. Lawyers who can better process traumatic events can more easily see solutions and create positive change.

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r4 - 18 May 2021 - 02:24:43 - NoahRushin
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