Melissa Ray, a Partner with Nichols Zauzig, was confirmed as Parliamentarian for the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) by the Board of Governors at the recent annual convention. She and eight other officers comprise the VTLA 2019-20 Executive Council.
Ms. Ray has been involved in many VTLA leadership roles over the years, including serving on the Board of Governors since 2010, and as chair of several committees. She has been with Nichols Zauzig for 15 years and focuses her practice on medical malpractice.
While at the convention, Ms. Ray spoke on a panel that addressed how trial attorneys can integrate wellness into their practice. She shared some practical ways to incorporate wellness into the daily life of a busy trial attorney—especially when in trial and traveling. Ms. Ray discussed meditation, yoga and breathing exercises and suggested apps that make it convenient to practice those relaxation techniques when away from home.
“Even one short minute of breathing, or five minutes of guided meditation, can help you manage stress and improve focus,” Ms. Ray said.
The subject of attorney wellness has become so relevant that the Virginia Bar Association now recommends lawyers take a wellness education course every three years. This is the result of several recent national studies that found being a trial lawyers is one of the professions most susceptible to stress-related mental health issues.
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At Nichols Zauzig, Ms. Ray has represented patients not only all over Virginia, but also in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Ms. Ray, along with Managing Partner Charles J. Zauzig, has been recognized in Virginia Lawyers Weekly consistently for million-dollar settlements as well as for some of the largest verdicts in Virginia medical malpractice cases. In addition to her leadership roles with VTLA, Ms. Ray is a member of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Virginia Bar Association’s Boyd-Graves Conference.
Established in 1959 and now with over 2,000 members, VTLA is dedicated to enhancing the knowledge and skills of trial lawyers and improving the law and fairness of Virginia’s justice system, according to the VTLA Mission Statement.