Anna Rose Long

A Knife in the Heart or a Sword in the Courtroom: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Empathy in the Legal Field

  • General Medicine

Abstract The English word “empathy” originally comes from the German word “Einfühlung,” which translates to “feeling into.” As defined by Merriam Webster, empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing feelings, thoughts, and experiences fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner. Often, the terms “sympathy” and “empathy” are used interchangeably. However, the two terms do have distinct meanings. Sympathy refers to the feeling of care and sharing of another’s difficulties, whereas empathy refers to placing yourself in someone else’s position and understanding that person’s point of view. In doing this, the empathetic person experiences the feelings of another. To an attorney, empathy provides numerous aids but also may contribute to several downfalls in the legal profession. This Comment will examine the impact of empathy on legal practitioners, assessing its influence on both compliance with legal standards and the mental well-being of attorneys.

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