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Wellness Wednesday: Neuroscience, Well-Being, and Ethics

April 21 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

Presented by the CLA Health and Wellness Committee. Free event! No MCLE. Note: This event is not being recorded.

Join this session to learn about the latest neuroscience behind sleep, and its impact on mental health, substance use, ethical behavior, and performance. Join us to learn the latest neuroscience behind trust and how to generate the moral molecule—oxytocin—to enhance ethical behavior, performance, joy (yes, there is a biochemical basis for joy), and better self-care practices.

This program is designed to get you out of the world of “new, better, different” and show things you don’t know about well-being. For example, sleep is seldom discussed in the national conversation about well-being—and almost everything we “know” about sleep is wrong. Sleep impairment impacts competence, focus and diligence, decision-making, effective client communication, and making progress on cases. Sleep deprivation predicts lawyer misconduct by increasing anxiety, interrupting working memory, and impairing effective executive thinking.

You cannot achieve the six pillars of well-being for yourself and your organization without trust, or, more precisely, oxytocin. There are multiple ethical implications affecting client communications, ability to reduce bias in professional relationships and less risk for isolation. You will learn about the science behind the importance of oxytocin, about a stress release protocol used by the U.S. military, first-responders, the Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations around the world, and how to utilize these specific techniques to release your own stress and anxiety.

Interested in learning more about the Committee, finding some resources, or viewing a recording of a past wellness program?  Click here!


Speakers: Robin Wolpert & Joan Bibelhausen

Meet the Speaker!


In this short video, one of our two speakers, Robin Wolpert, tells CLA Health and Wellness Committee member, Layla Khamoushian, about herself and how she got involved in the national lawyer well-being movement. Robin gives us just a taste of what she and her co-presenter, Joan Bibelhausen, will be covering for us during their live presentation on April 21st which will include enhancing your health and cognitive function with proper sleep and generating happiness as a form of neuro-management.

Robin Wolpert is an accomplished appellate practitioner, business litigator, and white-collar criminal defense attorney at Sapientia Law Group in Minneapolis. Her 20-year career began in BigLaw, and she went on to serve as a prosecutor and Senior Counsel of Compliance & Business Conduct at 3M. Robin uses her unique blend of government, private-sector, and in-house experience to address legal, policy, leadership, and organizational challenges for a wide variety of clients. Robin handles a diverse mix of criminal and civil lawsuits and appeals, focusing on constitutional law, defamation, business fraud and misappropriation, money laundering, Title IX, cyber-harassment, and business compliance. She represents clients in litigation involving private parties or the government, including cases with parallel criminal and civil proceedings, civil and criminal appeals, and investigations.

Before becoming a lawyer, Robin earned her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. Her areas of expertise include constitutional law, judicial politics, cognitive and behavioral economics, and political and organizational psychology. Robin was Visiting Instructor at Georgetown University and Assistant Professor of Government & International Politics at the University of South Carolina. She earned her B.A. from Colby College and her J.D. from Cornell Law School.

Robin is passionate about public service. She oversees Minnesota’s lawyer disciplinary system as Chair of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. Robin is Secretary of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, Treasurer of the Institute for Well Being In Law, Member of the ABA House of Delegates, and past President of the Minnesota State Bar Association. She served on the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being from 2018-20.

Joan Bibelhausen has served as Executive Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers since 2005.  She is an attorney and is nationally recognized for her work in the lawyer assistance and diversity and inclusion realms.  Joan has significant additional training in counseling, mental health and addiction, diversity, employment issues, and management. She has spent more than two decades working with lawyers, judges, and law students at a crossroads because of mental illness and addiction concerns and well-being, stress, and related issues.

Joan has developed and presented numerous CLE and other programs throughout Minnesota and nationally and has written on mental health and addiction, implicit bias and mental health, career and life balance and satisfaction, stress, diversity and inclusion, marketing, and other issues of concern to the legal profession.  She is active in the MN State Bar Association, Hennepin and Ramsey County and American Bar Associations, and MN Women Lawyers. She has served on the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and its Advisory Commission. She has chaired CoLAP’s Education Committee and its 2016 Conference Planning Committee.  She has chaired the MSBA Life and the Law Committee and the HCBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Section and has co-chaired the HCBA Diversity Committee.  She represents the disability perspective on many bar-related diversity committees and initiatives, including the MSBA Diversity and Inclusion Council.  Joan also served on the MSBA Board of Governors,  HCBA’s Strategic Planning and Leadership Institute task forces, and the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance board.

Joan coauthored “Stress and Resiliency in the US Judiciary” for the ABA 2020 Journal of the Professional Lawyer, “Reducing the Stigma – William Mitchell College of Law – Spring 2015“,  published in the Mitchell Hamline Law Review (Vol. 41, Issue 3), and frequently writes for Minnesota and national bar publications. Minnesota Lawyer recognized her with a 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Award for her work regarding implicit bias and mental health in the legal profession.

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