Getting By With a Little Help From My Friends

A new, landmark study conducted by the ABA and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation reveals substantial and widespread problems with addiction and mental health issues.

Of the 15,000 U.S. lawyers studied across the country, more than 1 in 3 practicing attorneys are problem drinkers. Lawyers report suffering from depression at a rate of four times the general U.S. population, with 28% suffering from depression, 19% from anxiety and 23% from stress.

I’m sure no one starts their legal career believing they will end up a statistic. So how does it happen?

Each story is different but probably shares many similarities. There were red flags that colleagues could have seen if they were looking. There were choices to make and decisions regretted.

Don’t become a discipline statistic. Here are a few red flags that are often symptoms of an underlying problem.

Relationship issues often show up as a symptom of an underlying problem. 

  • Complaints from clients     
  • Disagreements or inability to work with colleagues
  • Irritable, impatient
  • Angry outbursts, combative
  • Hostile attitude
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Unpredictable, rapid mood swings
  • Non-responsive

Personal issues often show up as a symptom of an underlying problem. 

  • Legal separation or divorce; custody issues
  • No family support
  • Living outside financial means
  • Credit problems, judgments, tax liens, bankruptcy
  • Frequent illnesses or odd accidents
  • Arrests
  • Isolating from friends, family
  • Chaotic personal life/lots of drama

Performance issues often show up as a symptom of an underlying problem. 

  • Missed deadlines
  • Decreased efficiency
  • Inadequate follow through
  • Lack of attention
  • Poor judgment
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Blaming or making excuses for poor performance

Know who your friends are. There are many programs across the state to help lawyers in trouble. If you believe a colleague is in trouble, but you aren’t sure how to help, you can reach out to one of the many organizations in the state designed to meet these needs. They can provide guidance or will help with an intervention by someone who is trained in helping people in distress.

The NC State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) is a confidential resource for lawyers suffering from anxiety, stress and burnout, depression and suicide, anger management, compassion fatigue, alcohol or drug problems, process addictions, grief and loss and over-functioning. Visit

BarCARES is a confidential, short-term intervention program provided cost-free to members of participating judicial district bars, voluntary bar associations and law schools. BarCARES is a program of the NC Bar Association. Visit

The Transitioning Lawyers Commission (TLC) provides support and resources to lawyers as they wind down their active career in the law. This project originated with the Senior Lawyers Division of the NC Bar Association. Visit

The NC Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism was established in 1998 to enhance professionalism among NC lawyers. Executive Director Mel Wright is a North Carolina treasure. While his efforts are often big picture for maintaining professionalism and excellence among lawyers, he can step in to offer advice and counsel for lawyers who are concerned about a lack of professionalism in a particular situation. Visit

Lawyers Mutual. Our Client Services Department and Claims Department have offered thousands of hours of advice and counsel to lawyers who are struggling with a specific case or with their practice in general. We have specialized programs to help firms in crisis such as our HELP team in case of lawyer death or disability, and claims repair when a case has slipped off the rails. You can reach us at 800.662.8843 or

A mental health hour on this topic will be included in the Lawyers Mutual CLE scheduled for Greensboro at the Grandover on Friday October 21. You can register here (free for insureds) –

Practicing law is a privilege. Following these steps will help you do it for many years to come.

Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at or 800.662.8843.

Young Lawyers Section: Connections, Oct 2016

YLS is off to a great start! In the month of September, we stuffed 87 backpacks for the comfort backpack program at Backpack Beginnings. Afterwards, we had our member kickoff party at Pig Pounder. Thank you to all YLS members who joined us. If you missed the opportunity to connect with YLS in September, we hope to see you at the Swearing-In Ceremony and/or reception on October 14, 2016.  More details on our upcoming events are included below.

Book Buddies

Book Buddies is a volunteer program that YLS created and supports every year.  The program pairs lawyers with classrooms at Hampton Elementary to read aloud to the class for thirty minutes to an hour.  The great thing about the program is that it’s flexible—once you’re paired with a classroom, you work with the teacher to schedule mutually agreeable reading times.  Our goal is to fully staff Hampton’s pre-K through second-grade classes and expand to another Guilford County school. To find out more about Book Buddies and how you can volunteer, please email Whit Pierce at

Swearing-In Ceremony/Bridge the Gap Program

Please mark your calendars for Friday, October 14, 2016.  We would love for GBA members to join us and support our newly licensed attorneys. Our Bridge the Gap Program starts at 9:00 a.m. and provides a great opportunity for new lawyers to tour the Federal, State, and Bankruptcy Courts.  If you are interested in signing up for the Bridge the Gap Program, please contact Grant Sigmon at  Our Swearing-In Ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m. at the Commissioners’ Room located on the second floor of the Old Courthouse (301 W. Market Street) with a reception at Churchill’s to follow.  To access a PDF copy of the application, please click here.  Applications are due by October 7, 2016.

Website Launch

Do you want more information about upcoming YLS events or how you can get involved? Check out our new website:  We look forward to connecting with you!

Jim Bryan Named Fellow in American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel

Nexsen Pruet lawyer Jim Bryan has been named a Fellow of The American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel in the practice area of insurance coverage.

The prestigious group is composed of about 300 preeminent coverage and extracontractual counsel in the United States and Canada, representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders.

“I believe in the goals and ideals of the American College, and look forward to contributing to this worthy group,” said Bryan. “I am honored by my selection as a Fellow, and humbled by this recognition.”

For a number of years, Bryan has been a leader at Nexsen Pruet in the insurance litigation practice and a leader in the Greensboro community. He believes in giving back – he was President of the Greensboro Bar Association (2014-2015) and is currently Secretary/Treasurer and a master in the Guilford Inn of Court.  He is a senior member of the firm’s Greensboro office, chairs the insurance litigation group, mentors younger attorneys and provides leadership for the office.

Message from the President, Oct 2016

At the September 14, 2016 meeting, the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Bar Association unanimously approved as a Greensboro Bar project the construction of a Habitat for Humanity house.  Our Bar has previously completed construction of seven houses (1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2010, and 2013), and we look forward to the eighth.

Our Habitat projects have afforded us a unique opportunity for positive interaction.  In addition to benefiting the homeowner family and community, these projects allow our members to work together and develop relationships totally removed from the stress and often adversarial nature of our professional lives.  During construction, we work on a common project involving senior and junior members of our Bar, members of the judiciary, clerk’s staff, and Elon law students.

The homeowner will be selected by Habitat for Humanity and will work with us in the construction of the house.  These homeowners are required to attend more than 30 hours of classes on budgeting, home maintenance, and finance to prepare them to be homeowners.  They work a minimum of 350 hours during construction and repay Habitat through interest free loans with a typical monthly payment of $650 to $800 (no more than 25% of their income).  These funds allow Habitat to acquire additional property and build additional homes.

This project will require both labor and funding in the amount of $75,000 to complete the house.  Of this amount, $60,000 has already been committed ($25,000 in anonymous contributions from your fellow Bar members, $25,000 in credit from Habitat for Humanity based on contribution of pro bono legal services from our Bar to the organization over the years, and $10,000 from the Greensboro Bar Association Foundation), leaving the sum of $15,000 to be raised from our membership.

We will kick off the project at our October 20, 2016 Bar lunch meeting, and plan to begin construction in the Spring of 2017.  Please indicate your willingness to contribute funding and/or labor to this project by e-mailing Diane Lowe at  Like most undertakings, you will get out of this project in proportion to what you put in – do take advantage of this project to enrich and expand your relationships with members of our Bar!

Greensboro Bar Association 2016-17 Officers and Board of Directors

Greensboro Bar Association

2016-17 Officers and Board of Directors





Kenneth R. Keller

p: 336-478-1125

f: 336-478-1116


Sarah H. Roane

p: 336-332-6128

f: 336-358-4950

Immediate Past President

Afi S. Johnson-Parris

p: 336-333-2244

f: 336-379-9415


Chelsea E. Anderson

p: 336-333-7907

f: 336-333-7909


Desmond G. Sheridan

p: 336-609-5135

f: 336-273-7293

Director (2017)

Eloise McCain Hassell

p: 336-574-0025

Director (2017)

J. Douglas Henderson

p: 336-412-7600

f: 336-412-7601

Director (2017)

Hon. Teresa H. Vincent

p: 336-412-7800

f: 336-412-7805

Director (2018)

Thomas D. Carruthers

p: 336-373-2320

f: 336-373-2078

Director (2018)

Abigail E. Peoples

p: 336-275-6003

f: 336-793-4181

Director (2018)

Robert J. King, III

p: 336-373-8850

f: 336-378-1001

Director( 2019) 2nd

Nicholas J. Bakatsias

p: 336-478-1121

f: 336-478-1112

Director (2019) 2nd

William B. Davis

p: 336-209-3902

f: 336-412-7778

Director (2019) 1st

Kimberly B. Gatling

p: 336-378-5356

f: 336-433-7499

Committee Chairs

Awards and Recognitions

W. Erwin Fuller, Jr.

p: 336-271-3106

f: 336-378-1001

Manning A. Connors,III

p: 336-378-5236

f: 336-433-7419


Desmond Sheridan

p: 336-609-5135

f: 336-273-7293

Bob King

p: 336-373-8850

f: 336-378-1001

Community Involvement

Craig P. Hensel

p: 336-218-6466

f: 336-218-6467

Melissa A. Duncan

p: 336-279-9327

Elon Liaison

Margaret R. Kantlehner

p: 336-279-9205

f: 336-691-1059

Elementary School Project

Erin D. Reis

p: 336-851-8066

Adam G. Kerr

p: 336-500-7599

f: 336-464-2819

Health & Wellness

Martha T. Peddrick

p: 336-574-9720

f: 336-574-9734

Herb Falk Society

Eric A. Richardson

p: 336-274-4494

f: 336-274-4525

History and Archives

T.M. ”Mark” Gaylord

p: 336-273-1797

f: 336-273-5878

Holiday Party

Gwendolyn W. Lewis

p: 336-706-1039

f: 336-217-8199

Legal Aid Fundraiser

Sarah Roane

p: 336-332-6128

f: 336-358-4950

Nick Bakatsias

p: 336-478-1121

f: 336-478-1112

Bill Davis

p: 336-209-3902

f: 336-412-7778

Recruit & Retain

Ames Chamberlin

p: 336-272-6867

f: 336-938-0234


Richard W. Gabriel

p: 336-478-1125

f: 336-478-1116


Douglas C. Tsao

p: 336-378-5277

f: 336-433-7483


Afi Johnson-Parris

p: 336-333-2244

f: 336-379-9415

Public Relations
(Blog, Website)

Damon T. Duncan

p: 336-856-1234

f: 336-358-4950

Second Chance Project

Patrick M. Kane

p: 336-378-5200

f: 336-378-5400

Section Heads

Family Law Section

Stacy F. Kroustalis


Real Property

Scott C. Gale



Young Lawyers

Lisa W. Arthur





Diane Lowe



NC Pro Bono Resource Center Launches

NC Pro Bono Resource CentOn April 1, 2016, the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission launched the NC Pro Bono Resource Center with the hiring of inaugural director Sylvia Novinsky. The newly-established NC Pro Bono Resource Center is one of only a handful of statewide pro bono resource centers in the country. The goal of the NC Pro Bono Resource Center is to increase pro bono participation statewide.

Rule 6.1 calls on all lawyers to provide legal services to those who are unable to pay. To assist lawyers in fulfilling their professional responsibility to provide pro bono, the center will serve as a clearinghouse of pro bono projects and will partner with legal aid organizations, local bars, law schools, community groups, and others to develop new projects to help address unmet legal needs. To that end, the center welcomes attorneys to learn more by visiting or emailing Sylvia Novinsky at for more information.

To view current pro bono projects, visit and click on “Find a Pro Bono Opportunity.”

Carruthers & Roth Attorneys Named “Lawyer of the Year” for 2017

Three attorneys from Carruthers & Roth, P.A. in Greensboro have been recently named Best Lawyers® 2017

“Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas:

Michael J. Allen Greensboro Copyright Law “Lawyer of the Year.”

Michael J. Allen
Greensboro Copyright Law
“Lawyer of the Year.”

June L. Basden Greensboro Banking & Finance Law “Lawyer of the Year.”

June L. Basden
Greensboro Banking & Finance Law “Lawyer of the Year.”

Richard L. Vanore Greensboro Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year.”

Richard L. Vanore
Greensboro Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
“Lawyer of the Year.”

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant.  Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

Sustaining Members 2016-17

Michael R. Abel

Michael J. Allen

Joseph S. Atwell

J. Alexander S. Barrett

Vance Barron, Jr.

June L. Basden

Jack B. Bayliss, Jr.

Frederick L. Berry

M. Douglas Berry

Marc D. Bishop

Howard L. Borum

Doris R. Bray

Frank W. Bullock, Jr.

Mark T. Cain

Barbara R. Christy

Robert C. Cone

Sally B. Cone

Barden W. Cooke

William O. Cooke, Jr.

John M. Cross, Jr.

Wanda Bracks Daughtry

Kearns Davis

Lindsay R. Davis, Jr.

W. B. Rodman Davis

Rachel S. Decker

Daniel L. Deuterman

M. Jay DeVaney

J. Scott Dillon

Jeri K. D’Lugin

J Robert D. Douglas, III.

Robert H. Edmunds, Jr.

Edgar B. Fisher, Jr.

K. Michelle Fletcher

John M. Flynn

Jamie Lisa Forbes

Richard R. Foust

W. Erwin Fuller, Jr.

Richard W. Gabriel

Michael H. Godwin

Garland G. Graham

Kenneth M. Greene

Charles T. Hagan, III

Marcus E. Hayes, Sr.

J. Patrick Haywood

Richard H. Hicks, Jr.

Thomas P. Hockman

Sharon O. Johnston

Kenneth L. Jones

Kenneth R. Keller

Michael E. Kelly

April E. Kight

Amy H. Kincaid

W. Winburne King, III

Anita Jo Kinlaw-Troxler

Robert O. Klepfer, Jr.

Norman F. Klick, Jr.

Jennifer L.  J. Koenig

Kenneth Kyre, Jr.

D. Beth Langley

Kathryn S. Lindley

Paul H. Livingston, Jr.

Anne B. Lupton

Henry B. Mangum, Jr.

Charles F. McCoy

David F. Meschan

Larry I. Moore, III

Benjamin R. Norman

Joel N. Oakley

Christina Freeman Pearsall

Reid L. Phillips

Richard L. Pinto

James M. Roane III

Sarah H. Roane

Russell M. Robinson, III

Stanley L. Rodenbough, IV

Kurt A. Seeber

John H. Small

Donald K. Speckhard

Stanley E. Speckhard

William L. Tankersley, III

Dennis J. Toman

Randall A. Underwood

Richard L. Vanore

Christopher J. Vaughn

Russell G. Walker, Jr.

Thomas C. Watkins

Robert Michael Wells, Jr.

Jeri L. Whitfield

Robert A. Wicker

Gregory S. Williams

Howard L. Williams

Joseph A. Williams

Edward C. Winslow III

Keith A. Wood

Charles P. Younce

Elizabeth J.  Zook

Attendees Share Best Advice

During the GBA meeting on Sept. 15, the Membership Committee posed a question as part of an icebreaker activity.  Attendees were asked to share their best advice received pertaining to the practice of law.  Below are some of their responses:

  • Always do the right thing.
  • Remember that the most valuable thing you have as an attorney is your credibility.
  • Be candid and transparent.
  • See your clients in jail as much as you possibly can.  You may be the only one they see.
  • Don’t comment too much from the bench.
  • If you mess up, fess up!
  • Slow & steady.
  • When dealing with parties before you in court, remember that human beings are fallible,
    and they are there because they screwed up–but they remain human beings that should be treated with dignity.
  • Make sure to be involved in activities unrelated to the law that you have a passion for and do the best you can with it–you need balance!
  • In doing trial work, use the restroom at every break–you don’t know when the next recess will be called.
  • Return calls the same day.
  • You have two ears and one mouth–listen often.
  • Don’t take thing personally in litigation. It is business.
  • Take your reputation and work seriously when
    you work with a group that took years to build
    its reputation.
  • Your word is your bond.
  • Don’t cry over spilled milk;
    it could have been whiskey.
  • Be patient and don’t panic.
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • As a lawyer you won’t get wealthy, but you’ll
    enjoy yourself, eat well & enjoy the camaraderie
    of good people.
  • If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.
  • Get paid up front.
  • If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything.
  • If all parties are unhappy, then you’ve reached
    a good settlement.
  • Upon graduating from high school, my great uncle sent me a long letter of advice
    which included not needing to know everything and not to be dismayed at not mastering all dance steps.
  • Get a good night’s sleep; the quality of your life
    is 10% what happens to you and 90% your attitude!
  • Pick up the phone and call.

National Pro Bono Week Celebration

Last year, more than half of the individuals who applied for assistance from a North Carolina legal aid organization could not be served.  National data echoes the same trend – too many of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues are in need of legal help but cannot afford a lawyer.

The National Pro Bono Week Celebration brings attention to the ever-growing need for pro bono services and recognizes the valuable contributions of lawyers who volunteer their legal services to individuals in need.  Members of the North Carolina legal community are putting the spotlight on pro bono work from October 23-29, 2016 as part of this National Celebration.   

During Pro Bono Week, North Carolina legal aid programs, bar associations, law firms, law schools, pro bono programs, and others will celebrate pro bono by recognizing volunteers, offering training, providing pro bono legal services at clinics, hosting events to raise money for legal aid, and raising awareness of the need for pro bono.

And the need is great. There is only one legal aid attorney for every 13,170 low-income people in North Carolina.  There is one private attorney for every 562 North Carolinians.  Last year, lawyers across North Carolina gave more than 27,000 hours to help legal aid organizations provide critical assistance to low-income North Carolinians struggling with civil legal problems ranging from domestic violence to foreclosure.  The total value of the pro bono volunteer contributions exceeded
$5.4 million in 2015.

For more information about events in your area, visit  For more information about how to volunteer for a pro bono project in your area, visit and