Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Spring 2017, Volume 43, No. 1 - Page 32

Profession also asked to identify their association with the individual who most recently threatened/ assaulted them. See Table 3. As in all of the other surveyed states, respondents reported that threats and violence were primarily per- petrated by opposing parties and the attor- ney’s own client. However, responses show that threats and violence can occur from any individual involved in a legal case. Members of the Vermont legal profession reported the lowest number of threats and violence perpe- trated by opposing counsel than any of the other twenty-four states surveyed. Table 3: Perpetrators of Threats / Assaults Attorneys who reported being the victim of threats and violence were asked if it was reported to police. Of 102 respondents, 37 (36.3 percent) indicated yes, while 48 (47.0 percent) said no. Another 17 respondents (16.67 percent) did not find the question ap- plicable. Change in Conduct Respondents that had received threats or had been the victim of physical assault were asked if such threats/violence had altered the way they conducted their legal business. Of 98 respondents to this question, only 3 (3.1 percent) reported that such incidents had af- fected their conduct a great deal, 34 (34.7 percent) indicated that their conduct had been somewhat affected, and the majority, 61 (62.2 percent), identified that it did not at all alter the way they conducted business. However, several respondents reported tak- ing steps to protect themselves and staff, including: having a second person present when there is an individual who may pose a threat, limiting on-line personal information, purchasing a weapon, etc. # of Respon- dents Percentage Client Relative/ Associate of Client Opposing Party Relative/ Associate of Opposing Party Opposing Counsel Unknown 26 25.5 6 5.9 49 48.0 5 4.9 1 1.0 Conclusion 2 2.0 Other 13 12.8 Total 102 100% The Survey’s results show that many Ver- mont attorneys experience a wide range of work-related threats and violence, and it should not be assumed that similar threats and violence against attorneys are entirely random or can only happen somewhere else to someone else. Many attorneys regularly work in very contentious and highly emotion- al conflicts. The reality is that work-related vi- olence and threats of violence can come from any side of a given case and can occur be- yond the courthouse and office, regardless of one’s area of practice. Recognizing the re- ality of potential violence in the practice of law is a first step in helping to avoid and pre- vent becoming the victim of work-related vi- olence. ____________________ Stephen D. Kelson, Esq. is a shareholder at Christensen & Jenson in Salt Lake City, Utah. His practice focuses on commercial litigation and torts. When threats/assaults last occurred Respondents were asked when they last received a work-related threat or when they were the victims of a physical assault. See Table 4 below. Results show that of 102 re- spondents to the question, the majority, 63 (61.8 percent), reported such acts had last oc- curred within the past five years. Table 4: Last Work-Related Threat Or Physical Assault Time Number Percentage Within the past year 1 – 5 years ago 6 – 10 years ago More than 10 years ago Total 32 Whether incidents were reported to Police 23 22.6 40 39.2 20 19.6 19 18.6 102 100% THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SPRING 2017