Sarah McCarthy Headshot

For more than 20 years, Sarah McCarthy has been a public defender in both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. For the past six years, Sarah has supervised misdemeanor and felony lawyers, and now serves as part of the management team as an Assistant Public Defender with the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. After observing the impacts the work was having on her colleagues and herself, Sarah introduced the practice of mindfulness to the Public Defender’s Office in 2017, to support the mental and physical health of lawyers in the office. She completed Warrior One’s Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training in 2018. Sarah co-founded The Wise Warrior, a well-being program aimed specifically at supporting public defenders though the stressors and secondary trauma of their work, developing self-compassion, and helping them to find balance and equanimity in their lives. The Wise Warrior has become a safe space in which public defenders can acknowledge the harm and pain they experience in their work and support one another in community, while learning to develop the skills of awareness and compassion that allow them to be more resilient for their clients and in their careers.