Joyce Gist Lewis (J.D. ’99) and Sutton Connelly (J.D. ’09) have been elected to the State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors and were installed during the State Bar’s annual meeting in June. They will serve for two years.
Lewis, partner and managing member of Shingler Law LLC, represents Post 12 of the Atlanta circuit, and Connelly, managing partner of Cook & Connelly, represents in Post 3 of the Lookout Mountain Circuit.
Lewis plans to address the issues relating to wellness, aging, and the prevalence of alcohol addiction, depression and suicide in the profession.
“It’s important,” Lewis said, “that we take care of ourselves because sometimes there’s a tendency toward being machismo lawyers who wear as a badge of honor that we billed the most hours, took the fewest days off, or were the hardest or meanest. All of those carry a toll in our mental and physical health. Collegiality and professionalism say that we care about each other and we do the right thing when we sense a lawyer is in distress.”
The Wellness Committee, of which she is a member, has discussed making wellness hours part of the professional and ethics CLEs, something other states are doing. She would like the disciplinary system develop a step between being “just fine” and being disciplined for health related issues, and would like a system that gracefully assists older attorneys transitioning to retirement.
The impact of technology, with electronic record filing a pet project for him, concerns Connelly. “Technology is playing a huge impact in shaping our profession,” he said. “I’m interested to see how electronic filing is promulgated and how it can be achieved in a reasonable fashion for our bar members.”
He believes the State Bar should have more input on different ideas such as the new business court structure being considered statewide. Also important is the awareness of the different needs of attorneys. Specialization of one’s practice and differences between metropolitan and rural locations means a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work for attorneys in today’s world.
Noting their appreciation for Georgia State Law’s emphasis on professionalism and involvement, both say they look forward to being the voice of their constituents while contributing to the professionalism and influence of the State Bar.