A Resilient Mind: Mindfulness Tools for Trying Times CLE

Remember to log in today for an hour of free CLE for Bar members–A Resilient Mind: Mindfulness Tools for Trying Times CLE–An eight-hour drop-in Virtual Course beginning October 6th

Week Three (10/20/20): Understanding Stress and Cultivating Effective Coping Skills in Trying Times: In this hour, participants will understand the neurobiology of stress by parsing out the key elements that create an unhealthy stress response in the body. Participants will also learn the difference between regulated and dysregulated coping strategies and how to effectively change a habit. Pre-register for this class on Zoom by clicking here.

As our world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, each of us is dealing with more unknowns than usual, both personally and professionally. The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus heightens our mental and emotional stress, making it challenging to focus on the here and now. In these unprecedented times, we need new tools to help us stay resilient and support our health and well-being.

To arm our Buncombe County Bar members with these tools, Laura Mahr from Conscious Legal Minds, has created a new program to help our lawyers better understand the neurobiology and neuropsychology of stress during the pandemic–particularly the increased stress lawyers are experiencing and how stress in a crisis impacts the practice of law. In this eight-week course, you will learn and practice mindfulness and neuroscience-based practices that “neuro-hack” our nervous system’s stress response and promote calm and clarity.

The course is an opportunity for our Bar to stay connected during these difficult times, and come together to learn theory, practice skills, and engage in educational discussion regarding how mindfulness meditation can help to mitigate stress and help lawyers build resilience in the practice of law.

This eight-hour CLE course (1 hour per week for 8 weeks, beginning 10-6-20) is “drop in” and free to all members of the Buncombe County Bar. Each week’s curriculum will cover new material, including the theory of mindfulness, stress, and resilience and daily practices that grow resilience while you work. You are encouraged to attend all of the sessions, as the material will build on the information presented in previous weeks, though dropping into the sessions for which you’re available works too! You will receive credit for each hour you attend, up to a total of eight hours.

Registration Details: Each of the 8 classes has the same registration link, but you must register for each class so that we can track your participation for CLE credit. Classes will begin promptly at noon, so please make sure to log in five minutes early. Access to the class will close at 12:05pm. Pre-register for this class on Zoom by clicking here.

Presenter: Laura Mahr is a North Carolina and Oregon lawyer and the founder of Conscious Legal Minds LLC, providing mindfulness-based wellness coaching, training, and consulting for lawyers and law offices nationwide. Laura’s cutting-edge work to build resilience to burnout, stress, and vicarious trauma in the practice of law is informed by 13 years of practice as a civil sexual assault attorney, two decades of experience as an educator and professional trainer, and 25 years as a student and teacher of mindfulness and yoga, and a love of neurobiology and neuropsychology. She authors the Pathways to Wellbeing column in the NC State Bar Journal and the Mindful Moment column in the NC Lawyer Assistance Program publication, and is a provider on the NCBA BarCARES panel. For more information visit consciouslegalminds.com

*This course is pending approval for 8 hours of CLE credit for mental health/substance abuse, professional responsibility, and/or general CLE credit by the NC State Bar.

Welcome to New Public Defender Sam Snead

On October 1, 2020, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Alan Z. Thornburg appointed Sam Snead as the Chief Public Defender for Buncombe County, filling the seat made vacant by the retirement of M. LeAnn Melton. Pursuant to North Carolina law, the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge appoints the Chief Public Defender for each defender district.

“Mr. Snead has a passion for providing excellent legal services to indigent clients at every level of the criminal process and an innovative, community-focused approach to managing the public defender’s office,” said Judge Thornburg. “Buncombe County will be well served.”

Snead was an assistant capital defender with the Office of the Capital Defender since 2015. Prior to that, he worked as an assistant public defender in Buncombe County since 1998. Snead was raised in Boone, North Carolina, and received his undergraduate degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. Snead earned a Juris Doctor from the District of Columbia School of Law, where he graduated with honors in 1996.

This photo shows his wife, attorney Anna Hamrick, holding the Bible as he swears in.

RGB Remembrances

Bar members are invited to submit their remembrances of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

From Leah Broker:

It was a privilege and honor to hear Justice Ginsberg speak and then meet her in 2007 when she visited Asheville.  I remember being amazed by her quiet, yet determined, demeanor and to hear her own story of attending law school, becoming an attorney while being a wife and mother in a time where that was trailblazing.  Thirteen years later I watched the movie “On the Basis of Sex” with my mother and my 13 year old daughter and was thrilled to watch my daughter’s eyes open to this history and to see her cheering on the case featured in the film.  RBG was a one-in-a-million years human being and humanity is better for her having been among us.

From Rendi Mann-Stadt:

I was privileged to attend the event with RBG here in Asheville, but it wasn’t the first time I was able to experience her brilliance in person. While a 3L, my alma mater, the University of Illinois College of Law, undertook an extensive renovation project, creating havoc as we attempted to take class and study. Our consolation prize was that after graduation we were invited to attend a rededication ceremony with Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the keynote speaker.  I attended, and took as my guest my oldest, then 11 year old, daughter. She delighted in the academic pomp and circumstance, especially the miniature top hat Justice Ginsburg wore with her gown– a vestige from when she received an  honorary degree in Sweden. Justice Ginsburg’s words were warm and meaningful and sparked a wonderful conversation between mother and daughter on our long ride home.   Fast forward, and 26 years later, as our family exchanged texts mourning RBG’s passing, the same daughter said “I will always recall the honor of being in her presence.”
I thank RBG for her pioneering work, admire her as of the finest legal minds ever, and appreciate her for teaching my daughters what a determined woman can accomplish.

From District Court Judge Susan Dotson-Smith:

The Communications Committee of the Buncombe Bar asked me to put together a few words to remember Justice Ginsburg, and it is an honor to do so. In 2007, Justice Ginsburg spoke in Asheville at a conference entitled “The Changing Face of justice: A view from the Bench”. The event was hosted by the North Carolina Bar Association and its Women in the Profession Committee and sponsored by many groups including the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.  Before an overflow audience of 500-plus, Justice Ginsburg was interviewed on stage by Suzanne Reynolds, future Dean of the Wake Forest University School of Law. Lawyers and Judges in attendance were inspired by her passion for seeking equality.

Most of us would not choose to be the voice and embodiment of dissent. Justice Ginsburg’s life reminds me that some have walked that journey of being “the dissent.” One of nine women matriculating at Harvard Law School her first year, Justice Ginsburg walked that dissent.  Justice Thurgood Marshall and Justice Ginsburg walked that dissent as they rose to their roles as Supreme Court Justices.  Many other unheralded attorneys walked, and continue to walk, that dissent as they break through barriers to justice for themselves and for their clients.

Organizations around the state recognize the significant legal advances owed to Justice Ginsburg, including breakthroughs in gender equality. I have heard many leaders choose the following as their lasting quote from the Justice: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Justice Ginsburg indeed was a superhero: her strength superhuman, her dedication and work ethic exceptional. Her lasting legal legacy includes the superpower of creating a dissent that can be used persuasively when the majority is ready and when legislators are ready. The power of persuasion, not only in the moment, but with an eye toward the future, requires a blend of courage, wisdom, and foresight.

Our country is not monolithic. Some may disagree with particular opinions of Justice Ginsburg. However, hopefully, all of us can appreciate her commitment to public service, to the legal profession, and to the rule of law.  We owe a great deal of appreciation and respect for this woman who fought for equality and equity.  She demonstrated great patience in waiting for others to catch up.

Attorneys, the State Bar has returned to deliberating on whether or not to include anti-discrimination language in the Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys have another opportunity to take a step towards justice for all, as Justice Ginsburg so often did. The next step is ours to take.

From Jackie Grant:

Former NC Bar Association President and Roberts & Stevens shareholder Jackie Grant recalls a surprise invitation to have dinner with Justice Ginsburg at the NC Bar Association’s Women in Profession 2007 celebration. “We had the most lovely time talking through dinner. Justice Ginsburg and her husband, Marty, were so sweet. He was so supportive of her.”

What most impressed Jackie was Justice Ginsburg’s friendship with her ideological opponent, Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Ginsburg famously disagreed with Justice Scalia about politics and interpreting the Constitution, but they bonded over a mutual love of opera. “It was a great testament to how Justice Ginsburg was, and a reminder of how we need to be. You can disagree – they don’t get more polar opposite than those two. That doesn’t make that person an evil person. You may be able to relate to them on other issues,” said Jackie.

Email your thoughts to admin@BuncombeBar.com with the subject line “RGB Remembrances.”