The Greensboro Bar Association’s 2018 Pro Bono Award was presented to Tom Carruthers and Rosetta Davidson Davis at the October 18 member dinner. Since the law change in December 2017 to make many more people eligible for expungements, Legal Aid has struggled to keep up with the demand for its services. When the City Attorney’s office became aware of this need, Mr. Carruthers and Ms. Davis stepped up to take on many of these cases. Since April, Tom Carruthers and Rosetta Davidson Davis have handled more than 30 expunction referrals from Legal Aid and have made a huge difference in the lives of all these clients. This is an exemplary effort that is certainly deserves recognition. They have made a tremendous difference in the lives of many people through this extraordinary effort. The Greensboro Bar Association is pleased to recognize their service.
The terms of our State Bar Councilors Barbara R. Christy and Stephen Robertson expires on December 31, 2018. Barbara R. Christy is eligible to serve zero (0) additional three-year terms and Stephen Robertson is eligible to serve two (2) additional three-year terms. I am having this official notice sent to you pursuant to Section .0800 of Subchapter 1A of the Rules of the North Carolina State Bar. Take notice that an election will be held as follows:
EVENT: Election of State Bar Councilor, Judicial District 18
DATE: October 18, 2018
TIME: 5:30 PM
PLACE: Starmount Forest Country Club, One Sam Snead Drive, Greensboro, NC 27410
Any member of Judicial District 18 who desires to submit a nomination for State Bar Councilor may do so by mailing a written request to me, at the address listed above or emailing the nomination to me at the address above, any time prior to the meeting and nominations may be made from the floor the day of the meeting. Election must be by a majority of votes cast by those present by secret ballot. Use of proxies is prohibited.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me:
Hon. Teresa H. Vincent – President, Judicial District 18
PO Box 1825, Greensboro, NC 27402. [email protected]
GCABL 2018 Gala2 (PDF)
Britney Michelle Millisor
Black, Slaughter & Black, PA
Endorsed by James H. Slaughter
James Ray Harrell
Crumley Roberts, LLP
Endorsed by Darryl Tyler Nabors
Deal Law Group
Endorsed by L. Nicole Pinto
Deuterman Law Group
Endorsed by Molly Hilburn-Holte
Jessica Ketchum Culver
Endorsed by S. Bree Ward
Elon University School of Law
Endorsed by Jennifer G. Mencarini
Elon University School of Law
Endorsed by Katherine A. Reynolds
Tara Kay Johnson
Garrett Walker Aycoth & Olson, PLLC
Endorsed by S. Brian Walker
Ashley Nicole Hartman
Lanier Law Group, PA
Endorsed by L. Nicole Patino
Allison Weller Tikare
Legal Aid of North Carolina
Endorsed by Brian P. Hogan
Maggie M. Basu
Smith Moore Leatherwood
Endorsed by Amy S. Klass
Endorsed by Manisha P. Patel
Endorsed by Todd E. Davis
Jonathan Tyler Sink
Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP
Endorsed by Jamie H. Stone
Do you ever find yourself needing an ethics credit or a substance abuse credit in February? Do you hate having to take a series of online courses to meet these requirements at the last minute? We’ve all been there. To help solve this problem, the GBA CLE committee has created a fall CLE program that will help you meet your ethics and substance abuse requirements. Here are the details:
Date: October 26th
Location: Lincoln Financial Building,
hosted by Tuggle Duggins P.A.
Lunch: Free boxed lunch for CLE attendees provided by Lawyers Mutual
CLE cost: Free to GBA members
First Program Summary (presented by Mark Scruggs, Lawyers Mutual): Social media can be a great way for attorneys to gather and share information. It also presents many ethical traps. How can attorneys use Facebook and other social media in their practice in a way that complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct? Discussion will include: effectively counseling clients about the legal ramifications of social media; protecting client confidentiality; managing professional networking websites; ensuring that social media postings comply with advertising requirements; and managing online client reviews.
Second Program Summary (presented by Sarah Nagae, Nexsen Pruet): Using Mindfulness to Improve Your Legal Practice. The high pressure and high stakes of legal practice can easily lead to knee-jerk, emotion-based reactions. These reactions can exhibit a low level of professionalism and may constitute or result in acts that that are ethically questionable. Mindfulness is developing the ability to stay aware of your thoughts and emotions during high pressure situations. This awareness, in turn, helps you maintain your perspective and a sense of calm. When you are able to pause, breathe, and then act thoughtfully, you will be better able to consider the range of responses available to you in the face of difficult choices, and choose a path that will be most beneficial to your client.
We hope to see you there!
The North Carolina Bar Association and Elon University School of Law have teamed up to present a Wills for Heroes event at Elon Law on Saturday, October 27, 2018. We need a total of 20 licensed NC attorneys (10 for the morning shift of 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and 10 for the afternoon shift of 12:30-4:30 p.m.) to help prepare Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney and Health Care Powers of Attorney for first responders and military veterans. No prior estate planning background is required to serve as an attorney volunteer, but typing and computer skills are helpful in order to prepare the documents. Training sessions will be provided prior to the initial appointments, during which attorney volunteers will be provided basic training on NC law regarding preparation of the documents and the software used to generate them. To register to volunteer, please visit the 10/27 Wills for Heroes volunteer Eventbrite Registration Link.
We hope you’ll join our Greensboro Bar Association’s Human Race Team this year! We will be supporting two nonprofits in Greensboro area. If you’ve never participated in the Human Race, it’s the nonprofit community’s 5k. Since 1994, The Volunteer Center of Greensboro has managed the race, and helped raise over 4.5 million dollars for hundreds of local nonprofits. You can walk, run, or roll the 5k course. Mark your calendars for May 4, 2019 and stay tuned for more information.
Last month, the Young Lawyers Section partnered with Backpack Beginnings and filled backpacks as part of the comfort backpack program. Thank you to all YLS members and GBA members who were able to join us! The event was such a success that we hope to do it again in the spring.
YLS also worked with NCBA YLD President, Rachel Blunk, and had a wonderful lunch with young lawyers from Haiti. We look forward to more opportunities to interact with attorneys from across the world.
Each year the Young Lawyers Section sponsors a Swearing-In Ceremony for the admission of newly licensed attorneys to the state and federal courts. This year, YLS is hosting its annual Swearing-In Ceremony on Friday, October 12, 2018 at 3:00p.m. in Courtroom 3 of the United States District Court in downtown Greensboro.
We welcome the support and attendance of members of the GBA at the swearing-in to support our newly licensed attorneys. Friends and family are also invited to celebrate the occasion. Cell phones and cameras will be permitted at the event. If you are a newly licensed attorney or you know a newly licensed attorney, please e-mail Nicole Scallon at [email protected] to receive the application materials.
Hurricane Florence Relief
YLS would like to advocate the use of our services to assist those who were impacted by Hurricane Florence. The recovery will take some time and you can make a difference. The NCBA has created a Hurricane Florence Website which contains recovery resources. You can access that website at https://www.ncbar.org/florence/. The Disaster Legal Services Hotline is a pro bono legal project of the NCBA, Legal Aid of North Carolina, the American Bar Association, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency meant to provide disaster legal services for North Carolina counties approved by FEMA to receive federal assistance in wake of Hurricane Florence. Also, NC Free Legal Answers allows North Carolinians impacted by Hurricane Florence who have brief legal questions to post and attorneys can provide pro bono advice. You can access that website at: nc.freelegalanswers.org. We encourage you to participate if you are able.
Connect with Us.
Do you want more information about upcoming YLS events or how you can get involved? Visit our website at www.greensboroyls.org. E-mail Nicole Patino ([email protected]) to make sure you are on the listserv. Also follow us on Facebook (Greensboro Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section). If you missed the opportunity to connect with YLS in September, we hope to see you at the Swearing-In Ceremony or reception on October 12, 2018.
As we look toward the future, what should lawyers expect? Is it a business or a profession? How can we maintain high professional standards at time when so much in the legal profession is changing?
Law firms are facing 21st century challenges and they need to develop 21st century solutions to help them cope.
The legal industry is evolving; however, few law firms are reinventing their business model. Meet one firm who is, the Forrest Firm. Lawyers Mutual interviewed James Forrest earlier this year and I’d like to share some of his thoughts on being a 21st century law firm.
The Forrest Firm was founded in January 2011 by James Forrest, a lawyer who had practiced with large law firms for most of his career. The firm continues to expand and recently opened a Greensboro office.
A few years ago, the firm updated its mission to fit a B Corporation framework. James describes his firm’s mission as striving to create a healthy, sustainable work environment for their professionals (in a profession that’s notorious for high levels of burnout, depression, and suicide), and they are committed to community involvement with intentional policies regarding volunteerism and pro bono work. The Forrest Firm gives attorneys the ability to customize their practices to fit their own work/life balance desires and personality fit (some like to network and look for business, while others enjoy the more technical legal work behind the scenes, and all enjoy the collaborative spirit of the firm). Because of this commitment to team, James said the firm is increasingly attracting great attorneys who continue to fuel the growth of the organization and attract the next wave of clients who align with their mission. As more attorneys and more clients come to the firm, others see and want to participate in a positive lawyer/client environment.
James says, “For our firm, it’s a commitment to a triple-bottom-line mentality. We’re not just in business for profits, but rather to participate in the legal profession for good. That means social and environmental responsibility. It means a focus on hiring professionals who are underrepresented in the legal profession. It also means that we are always outwardly-focused, looking for ways to give back to the communities where we live and work across North Carolina. And lastly, it means assisting non-profits and community organizations with legal work that they can’t normally afford. And our community service isn’t just limited to direct pro bono representation. We also look for other volunteer opportunities to assist non-profits (e.g., board service), hubs for entrepreneurs (e.g., mentoring and office hours) and other philanthropic efforts (e.g., donating money).
He goes on to say, “For our clients, our firm’s B Corporation certification means the opportunity to align with a firm that holds similar values. When clients see that you are authentically adhering to your mission and expanding the level we give back year after year, they want to be a part of that positive community force. Clients can get legal services from many sources, but we want to provide a unique win-win-win scenario that benefits the firm, the client, and the community.”
James is developing a law firm that relies on good business practices and he uses data to measure results, but that is only one part of his management style. He realizes that business and professionalism are not at odds with one another. In fact, running his firm like a business allows James to practice professionalism in every decision he makes.
An article in the April 2018 issue of the ABA Journal says lawyers out of other professions rank highest on the loneliness scale. Sixty-one percent of lawyers ranked above average on the loneliness scale compared to 57 % of engineers and 55% of research scientists (other often isolating and analytical fields). Here is a sampling of the statements used to measure feelings of loneliness:
- I have nobody to talk to
- I feel as if nobody really understands me
- I feel left out
- No one really knows me well
- I feel isolated from others
- It is difficult for me to make friends
- I feel shut out and excluded by others
The ABA Hazelden study showed that lawyers are under greater stress than ever, experience depression and addictive behaviors at alarming rates compared to the general public. A particularly troubling aspect of these numbers is that lawyers are experiencing these concerns at a younger age and stage of their career.
North Carolina lawyer, Laura Mahr is the founder of Conscious Legal Minds. Laura writes a column in the State Bar Journal about her work in helping lawyers and law firms incorporate mindfulness, neuroscience and resilience- building tools into the practice of law.
Laura’s personal story is that after 10 years practicing law as a sexual violence attorney, she reached burnout. This came as a surprise to Laura as she was already practicing meditation, yoga, regular exercise and healthy eating. Laura took a sabbatical – though she almost talked herself out of it for fear of losing her professional status and identity – and began to research tools for building resilience, including neuroscience research. What she found is that evolution has wired our brains to experience the world in a reactive mode. However, we can re-wire our brains to a responsive or “in the flow” mode. When our brains are “in the flow” we experience greater productivity and increased satisfaction in our lives. Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation are neuroscience tools that can assist in the re-wiring process.
Laura writes about her experience with the Buncumbe county bar. The 28th Judicial District Bar offered a first in North Carolina, Mindfulness Meditation for Building Resilience to Stress class. When registration for the 6-week course opened, Laura didn’t know what to expect, but within a few weeks the class was filled with a wait list. The class was filled with men and women, young and not-so-young, folks who had a mediation practice and those who had never mediated. The class met in a conference room at Roberts & Stevens law firm and each week, the participants discussed neuroscience, mediation theory and tools that lawyers can put into practice daily to train their brains to be less reactive to stress. And each week, lawyers reported their personal stories of how they were integrating the tools into their lives.
Based on before-and-after assessments, 85% of the lawyers in class reported a reduction in stress. One hundred percent of the class reported that they were practicing mindfulness tools during their work day at least 5-10 times a week and some as often as 20-40 times a week.
Reach out to Laura if you are interested in learning how she can bring these results to your firm.
The practice of law is hard. Hopefully, you are developing your own 21st century solutions to the challenges the practice faces today. If you need help, give me a call.
Camille Stell is President of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at [email protected] or 800.662.8843.
Volunteers are needed to serve food to the less fortunate at the Urban Ministry’s Potter’s House.
Shifts are from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Dates to be announced soon. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community in the company of fellow members of the bar. We need help on the following Sundays:
Oct. 21, Nov. 18, Dec. 16
Please email Brennan Aberle at [email protected] if you are able to help. Write POTTER’S HOUSE in the subject line.
I would like to thank committee chairs and committee members for planning diligently for the 2018-2019 meeting year. I hope each of you will join efforts to enhance your membership experience and have a positive impact in our community, while serving as ambassadors of the legal community.
As you know, our state, especially the eastern region, suffered great damage from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Florence. Fortunately, the storm turned south, which lessened property damage to residents in the Triad area. I hope we will keep those who suffered great loss in our thoughts and prayers.
In addition to adversities, such as natural disasters, we will also encounter many political challenges and decisions in the upcoming fall 2018 election. Voters will have the opportunity to vote on North Carolina constitutional amendments that: (1) impact whether voters should be required to show voter identification before casting a ballot; (2) determine how our judges are appointed; (3) determine whether an eight member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement should be established; (4) determine whether a tax income rate of seven percent (7%) should be adopted; (5) deal with strengthening protections for victims of crime, etc.; and (6) determine protections dealing with rights of people to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.
In my experience, I have found that most lawyers desire to be well informed voters. In fact, the public expects lawyers to be well informed. I am sure that you have been approached countless times in informal settings by individuals with questions regarding topics directly and remotely related to the law.
The proposed amendment dealing with how judges are appointed to the judiciary will be addressed by our featured speaker, John Wester, with Robinson Bradshaw in Charlotte, North Carolina. Attorney Wester is a past president of the North Carolina Bar Association and a litigator. Consequently, I invite you to attend our next membership meeting scheduled for October 18, 2018. You may join us for “Mix and Mingle” at 5:30 PM, and our meeting at 6:15 PM, at Starmount Forest Country Club. I leave you with a quote by Thomas Jefferson. He said it best when he opined, “An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.”