Led by Jenny Andrews & Gina Pruski
Working in public defense has very real impacts on our well-being. We must maintain our physical and mental health in order to provide high quality and client-centered representation to the people we represent. However, we face the constant obstacles of working within under-resourced agencies, being exposed to intense trauma, and casework demands that often challenge our boundaries and commitment to self-care. This course will provide an informed and supportive conversation about secondary trauma, moral injury, burnout, self-care, and sustaining motivation to continue this work. This course is for attorneys, investigators and all those who work in indigent defense. Together, we will explore research-based practices to sustain well-being and mitigate the traumatic impacts of public defense work. Drawing from yoga, mindfulness, gratitude practices--and the individual interests of the participants in the class-- we will explore self-care techniques and how to include them in our demanding schedules. Using self-assessments, structured goal setting and reflection, participants will develop individualized strategies to sustain well-being while working in public defense.
Click here to see the course details and agenda.
The intended audience is line public defenders, social workers, investigators, interns, anyone working in public defense.
A child of counterculture, raised off the grid by back-to-the-land hippies on the Lost Coast in Northern California, Jenny Andrews is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. She started her career as a public defender in Oakland, California in 1996, but left after 7 years and didn’t practice law for three years. She returned to public defense work in 2007, and has continued working as a public defender in Sonoma County and Santa Barbara County. She is currently a Senior Deputy and the Director of Training at the Santa Barbara County Public Defender, where she is creating a new training curriculum and litigating capital and other complex cases. She teaches on the faculty of Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense, the National Criminal Defense College, the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School, and the California Public Defenders Association. She has been a certified yoga teacher since 2004 and worked in the education department of Yoga Journal magazine 2003-2006. She believes in finding supportive practices to sustain a career in public defense—hers include yoga and meditation, writing, hiking along the beach with her husband and daughter, and tending a rural apple farm in Northern California.
For years, WI State Public Defender (SPD) Training Director Gina Pruski spent so much time with the goings-on in her head that she missed a lot of things that were happening around her. That all started to change in 2014 when a friend introduced her to mindfulness—something Gina had heard of but didn’t think she’d ever be able to do.
As Training Director and a member of the SPD’s leadership team, Gina brought mindfulness to SPD staff in 2014 after completing a mindfulness certification program and obtaining grant funding to bring mindfulness training to public defenders around the state. Since 2014, Gina and the SPD training team have developed a variety of programs focused on public defender wellness and are instrumental in integrating wellness principles and practices into the culture of SPD.
Gina serves on the newly-formed Task Force on Wisconsin Lawyer Well-Being and is a volunteer for the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program (WisLAP) and a member of the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) Wellness Group. She conducts training related to mindfulness and self-care to public defender offices around the country.
She conducts leadership training around the country on behalf of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and NAPD. In 2017 and 2018, on behalf of the U.S. State Department, Gina provided mentoring and technical assistance in the areas of leadership and professional development to the Public Defender’s Office in Armenia.
Gina was previously a staff attorney in the SPD’s Trial Division and also served as Deputy Legal Counsel and Legislative Liaison for SPD. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Youth Company as well as Wisconsin Women in Government and is a 2011 recipient of the Women in the Law honor bestowed by the Wisconsin Law Journal.