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2024 LAP Minority Outreach Conference

Reclaiming Ourselves

Feb. 23, 2024

McKimmon Center @NC State Campus

This year’s sponsors:

Logo for NC Association of Black Lawyers
Logo for The Justice Firm
Logo for NC Advocates for Justice
Logo for Lawyers Mutual
Banks Law Firm Logo
Brooks Pierce Logo

Approved for 5 CLE hours (2 Mental Health/3 Ethics). The cost for this year’s conference is $25 per person, to offset lunch costs, paid in advance via EventBrite (with a small processing fee). In addition, you will be responsible to pay the $3.50 per credit hour fee to the State Bar CLE Department at the end of the year. Once registered, you will receive an email notification confirming your reservation. The location has free parking.

Cancellations must be received by 5:00 on Friday, February 16, 2024, in order to be eligible for a refund. Cancellations received after that date (including no-shows on the day of the event) cannot be refunded. We look forward to seeing you this year.


8:30-9:30          Registration Check-In and Coffee

9:30-10:00        Welcoming Remarks and Distinguished Service Award PresentationTodd Brown, President, NC State Bar

10:00-11:00       Understanding and Addressing Suicidality Among Attorneys of Color – Daryl Shorter, MD

The relationship of suicidality to factors such as race/ethnicity and employment is extraordinarily complex. For example, although suicide rates in the US have historically been higher for non-Hispanic White persons, recent data suggests this pattern has changed with rates declining for non-Hispanic White people but increasing for non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic people. Additionally, risk for suicide is elevated among workers in high-stress professions, such as attorneys, where mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, substance use disorder), professional challenges, and work over commitment serve as predisposing factors. This presentation will explore the intersection of racial identity and work in the law profession to better understand the relationship of attorneys of color to suicide risk. Historical perspectives on suicide, risk factors, and strategies for risk mitigation and suicide prevention will also be discussed.

11:00-12:00       Getting Lost In Our Own Lives – Carena Lemons

Lawyers suffer increasingly from depression and anxiety, impairments of their own accord, but also major contributing factors to substance use disorder. This program examines some of the root causes of lawyer distress and factors that the legal profession itself and lawyers’ personalities contribute to these conditions. Based on the premise that “Work-Life Balance” is a modern day fiction, the program focuses on areas of life that lawyers can control in order to increase their happiness and emotional resilience, and therefore better serve their clients. 

12:00-1:15         Lunch

1:15-2:45           It’s OK To Take Off Your Cape – James Harris, LPC

Minority lawyers often experience unique and additional pressures and stresses in their law practices: isolation, pressure to provide free legal services, pressure to work in the social justice arena, etc. Many lawyers assume the “hero” role, and this can be especially true for minority lawyers, adding still more pressure. In this session, we will discuss how to be ok with doing less and not saving everything or everyone, exploring the difference between being overly busy versus being productive. We will identify approaches to self-care, identifying and preventing burnout, while remembering to pause and allowing ourselves to be human. We will also examine unique cultural barriers to utilizing therapeutic tools and approaches and how this can impact lawyers in their daily lives and law practices.

2:45-3:00           Break

3:00-4:30          We Have The Time: Utilizing “Bite Size” Regulation Practices to Address Unique Attorney Stress Response – Courtney Leak

We are in an age of busyness that has never been seen. With many organizations moving to more virtual work, we now have the ability to work more, which often leads to burnout, stress, and a decline in mental health. For attorneys, this can become an even greater challenge as they are pressured to continue to meet billable hours standards and operate in an adversarial system with constant confrontations. In addition to work expectations, we all have to manage our relationships, families and own needs within a limited block of time. Many people often feel stressed, guilty and even hopeless about their inability to find balance. Often times, this is because we are telling ourselves we need more time, and we simply don’t have it.  This session will provide psycho-education on nervous system regulation, the impacts of stress and dopamine on the body and mind, as well as the importance of maintaining internal regulation throughout our day. Ms. Leak will provide several regulation tools that can be used in personal and professional settings in order to assist attorneys with finding balance, improving emotional health and becoming more productive in a way that doesn’t upend other parts of their lives.

4:30                    Reception and networking

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