Confidentiality Guarantee
  • Judges
    Offering private, confidential assistance for state and federal judges and magistrates.
    Learn More
  • Lawyers
    Understanding the unique pressures lawyers face and offering reliable, proven solutions and guidance.
    Learn More
  • Students
    Providing assistance with character and fitness issues and the stressful demands of law school.
    Learn More
  • Family
    Offering assistance for lawyers with impaired family members or family members of impaired lawyers.
    Learn More

2018 LAP Minority Outreach Conference

Staying Sane and Serene in the Midst of the Storm

Feb. 23, 2018

New Location – Durham Convention Center

~ Featuring keynote speaker Bakari Sellers, CNN corespondent, lawyer and activist ~
Bakari Sellers is sponsored by the NC Association of Black Lawyers. 

This year’s sponsors:

The cost for this year’s conference is $25 per person, to offset lunch costs, paid in advance via PayPal. In addition, you will be responsible to pay a $5 parking fee at the venue parking garage and the $3.50 per CLE 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.

Cancellations must be received by 5:00 on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 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.


Speakers (click on name to read full bio)


8:30-9:30   Registration and Check In – Express Check-In Form and 2018 MOC Handouts

9:30-11:00  Then and Now: An Examination of Race in the Legal Profession and Strategies for Navigating an Increasingly Complex Political, Social and Advocacy Landscape

Ted Edwards ~ Ralph Frasier ~ Ty Hands ~ Greg Davis ~ Karen Bethea-Shields ~ Spencer Merriweather

In the face of increasing racial tension, hostility and volatility at both the national and local levels, African American lawyers and judges often find themselves in unique roles within both the justice system and their local communities. These seasoned panelists will discuss the impacts they are seeing in the legal profession and in their day-to-day practices. Those who have been involved for decades in forging a path for a younger generation of African American attorneys will share what they have learned and observed over the years. This panel will also explore real world strategies for maintaining composure, balance, and resilience, from both ethical and mental health perspectives with an emphasis on community building and mentorship.

11:00-12:00  Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs Under the Current Administration
Special Guest Keynote Speaker: Bakari Sellers

Mr. Sellers, a lawyer and social justice activist, will examine the erosion of civil rights under the Trump administration and the elimination of major or meaningful enforcement actions of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. In an era where prejudice is confused with patriotism, Mr. Sellers will offer insight and strategies for effective advocacy in an increasingly politicized landscape.

12:00-1:30 Lunch and networking

1:30-2:45  The Trauma Trap: Understanding the Mental Health Implications of an Advocacy Role When Self-Identity is Involved
Speaker: Courtney Nesbitt, LCSW, LISW-CP

The current political landscape and daily national news cycle is taking a mental health toll on everyone, regardless of race (or gender, sexual orientation, income bracket, etc.). The rise of white supremacy and related news coverage, however, warrant special attention for people of color. Vicarious trauma is a very real phenomenon that, if not openly acknowledged and properly addressed, can lead to serious mental health consequences. The recent suicide deaths of two leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement exemplify the danger of zealous advocacy without awareness of and deliberate protection from vicarious trauma. African American attorneys are often called to more active forms of social justice and political advocacy. In this session, Ms. Nesbitt will delve deeply into this topic. Participants will walk away with specific strategies and steps to take to protect themselves emotionally and mentally while engaging in any form of advocacy – or simply watching the news.

2:45-3:15  Break

3:15-4:30 Implicit Bias with Dana Cutler and Richard Soden

Implicit bias, unintentional judgments made based on preconceived notions, has been increasingly acknowledged and examined in legal settings, from the court room to the law office. Ms. Cutler’s award-winning program, Courageous Collaborations, examines implicit bias in the legal profession in a safe and supportive way. As President of the Missouri Bar, Ms. Cutler took the program across the state with some remarkable results. The focus of this program is to understand and demonstrate how implicit bias stands in the way of lawyers and judges seeking the help they need for mental health issues, substance use disorders and stress issues. There is a double bind for those already in underrepresented groups who can sometimes be more reluctant to ask for help because of actual or perceived implicit or explicit biases. Mr. Soden, the first African American President of the Boston Bar Association, brings his own personal experience to the table, offering a unique perspective on implicit bias and the willingness to seek help.

4:30  Reception and networking