Debra Norwood

Founder, Laughter Lawyer USA

Debra Norwood is an attorney/peacebuilder who is also a resilience trainer, Certified Brain Health Coach, Certified Joyologist, and Certified Humor Professional and Humanitarian Clown (Laughter Lawyer USA ) who uses her humor to open serious dialogues about difficult subjects. She has developed a program for lawyers called Lawyers as Couragekeepers and created an app for the iPhone called Couragekeepers: Uncovering the Hero Within. Participants journal courage while pursuing their character strengths, goals, purpose, and passion through action, optimism, understanding, grit, and empathy.

Debra encourages lawyers to develop a restorative, holistic, and integrative mindset to enhance their leadership abilities and help them become more resilient and at peace with themselves and others. She is a consummate educator with a passion for psychoneuroimmunology and loves to share the good news about the neuroplasticity of the brain and how attorneys can protect their most valuable asset: their cognitive ability. She has designed an unconventional conflict resolution model she calls Humor for Peace that incorporates principles of mindfulness, brain health, and therapeutic humor and laughter to help lawyers acquire trust-building, anger management, and conflict resolution skills in order to help lawyers improve well-being and acquire a more balanced law practice.

Teaming with organizational psychologists and using questionnaires that explore cognitive diversity, such as the Diversity Icebreaker and Humor Profiler, Debra is currently conducting a survey among the members of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association to explore the conflict management styles, communication preferences, and humor styles that may uncover the profile of the truly resilient peacebuilder. Debra is a Rule 31 trained mediator, a Train the Trainer in Restorative Circles, and a teacher at the Negotiation Clinic at Quinnipiac School of Law in Connecticut.

Debra serves as co-chair of the Wellness Committee of the National Hispanic Bar Association, is Southeast regional director of the J.Reuben Clark Legal Society, and is a board member the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, where she serves as director of diversity and inclusion. She also serves as an addiction recovery facilitator and is a part of a multistate suicide prevention and suicide awareness outreach for the Latinx community.

Debra has practiced law alongside her husband, Dan Norwood (also known as the Working Boomer Advocate), for more than 25 years, helping in various civil and family law issues, and has represented various minority groups in public interest cases in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. Concerned about the rising depression and suicide rates among attorneys, Debra and Dan have joined forces with brain health and leading heart health experts from around the globe to give lawyers the tools they need to increase resilience, authenticity, and joy. They are currently co-authoring a book: The Resilient Lawyer; Overcoming Challenges and Finding Joy in Modern Day Law Practice. Their presentations bring to lawyers the most up-to-date information on how to learn how to manage stress, avoid burnout, and rediscover the joy of practicing law.


Debra can be reached at, and her study on peacebuilding and leadership development can be seen at