Navigating in the Dark
By Mariteresa Rivera-Rogers, Esq.
Our signature event, Meet Your Judges Mixer, which had been re-scheduled for July 23, 2020, will be cancelled and not take place at all this year. Our next Meet Your Judges Mixer will be held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. This is not the news we wanted to deliver. By now, you may not be surprised to hear about another event cancellation because of COVID-19. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, navigating in the dark and coping with continuous disruptions to our lives can take a toll on mental health.
The theme for this month’s issue is Mental Health. Most of us to one degree or another are dealing with a totally different way of practicing law under the constraints imposed by this pandemic. The practice of law in itself is stressful enough on any given day, whether you are dealing with deadlines, court appearances, research, or hourly billings, you bear a great responsibility on behalf of your clients. No matter what kind of law you practice, you must constantly stay on top of not only your cases, but also the financial wellness of your firm or your family. Nowadays, with so many protocols set by the CDC and the state of Nevada, restrictions for setting court hearings, and the priorities that have been set by the courts, it is also important to realize no one wants this state of affairs. We need to practice civility amongst ourselves and with the court. Professionalism and civility are at the core of a great lawyer. Making concessions not normally made in regular times may be needed. It is not easy to give away a tactical advantage.
So, how are you handling all these things right now? Are you working from home? Are you using Zoom, Blue Jeans, Teams, or other programs to communicate remotely? Probably, your commute to work got a lot better, although at the cost of many added stressors. The authors who have written articles for you in this issue will provide pointers or guidance on how to handle those stressors and confirm you are not alone. Mental wellness is essential to navigate in this muddy present. Predictions are more like premonitions, data is scarce, knowledge is lacking and planning has gone out the window. Patience is what we need.
Don’t forget the State Bar of Nevada also provides great resources for its members:
- Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers: Confidential peer support for Nevada attorneys in need of support to get in—or stay—in recovery. Weekly closed-door meetings held statewide.
- Nevada Lawyer Assistance Program: Clinical services for attorneys suffering from abuse, addiction and/or mental health issues which may impair professional competence. The program is staffed by clinical professionals statewide and when sought voluntarily, the initial assessment is provided at no charge to the attorney.
- Therapy Benefit: This member benefit offers therapist referrals. If an attorney wants assistance in dealing with a difficult life situation, such as divorce, depression, stress, the death of a loved one, a traumatic case, or any other stressful incident/situation, he or she can request the name of a therapist by calling 1-866-828-0022. The first three sessions are provided at no charge. The inquiry and subsequent three sessions are completely confidential.
See State Bar of Nevada, https://www.nvbar.org/member-services-3895/wellness/, 5/7/2020.
We want you to know we are here for you. Please let us know if there is anything else you want us to address in future issues. Your suggestions are welcome.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The CCBA has a published a list of health and wellness resources in the print magazine Communiqué (June/July 2020, pp. 27-29) and on the bar’s website. See https://clarkcountybar.org/health-and-wellness-resources-for-ccba-members/]
About the author:
Mariteresa Rivera-Rogers, Esq. is an associate at the Las Vegas criminal defense firm Wright Marsh & Levy. Her areas of practice include criminal law and juvenile law. She is fluent in Spanish, and both the federal and state courts recognize her as a certified court interpreter. Mariteresa is a committee member of the AOC Judicial Council of the State of Nevada Language Access, the Interpreter Certification Advisory Committee, and the Clark County Indigent Defense Selection and Appointment Committee. Her spirit of community and professional service has also led to involvement with the Latino Bar Association, Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys, Clark County Law Foundation, and Nevada Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Economic Bias. Mariteresa serves as president of the Clark County Bar Association through December of 2020.
This article was originally published in the “Mental Health” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (June-July 2020).
© 2020 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.