The law firm of Black, Slaughter & Black, which has four offices statewide, will now be doing business as “Law Firm Carolinas.” In addition, three attorneys have been named partners in the firm: Jennifer Ruby, who does general civil litigation, business litigation and appeals; Michael Taliercio, who manages the firm’s HOA/condo assessment collections practice and practices bankruptcy and parliamentary law; and Harmony Taylor, who practices community association (HOA and condo) law and civil litigation. More information at www.lawfirmcarolinas.com.
The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) has announced that Andrew S. Chamberlin, a partner at Ellis & Winters LLP in Greensboro, North Carolina, has been elected president of the IADC for the 2020-21 term. The IADC, which is the preeminent invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests, has provided and continues to provide influential leadership on legal reform issues.
Mr. Chamberlin, who served as IADC president-elect for 2019-20, was formally installed as president as the IADC celebrated its 100th anniversary at the IADC’s 2020 Annual Meeting. The IADC also elected new board members for 2020-21, including new board leaders.
“I am honored to serve the IADC as its president at this critical juncture in our history and to help set the course for the future.” Mr. Chamberlin said. “I look forward to furthering the IADC’s mission of serving our members, the legal profession and civil justice systems throughout the U.S. and the world, by enhancing the development of skills, professionalism, diversity, and camaraderie in the practice of law.”
In his practice, Mr. Chamberlin is a trial lawyer with a broad national and international practice. He has handled product liability and catastrophic injury defense cases as well as the prosecution and defense of commercial, construction and intellectual property disputes. He has appeared in state and federal courts across the United States.
In addition to his leadership role with the IADC, Mr. Chamberlin is an active member of the Defense Research Institute and the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys. Mr. Chamberlin has been recognized among the “Best Lawyers in America” and has been selected as a “North Carolina Super Lawyer.”
Mr. Chamberlin received his J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia.
Carruthers & Roth, P.A. hosted an internal food drive to support the COVID-19 response efforts of BackPack Beginnings, a Greensboro non-profit organization founded to deliver child-centric services to feed, comfort and clothe children in need. The firm’s attorneys and staff collected donations during the first two weeks in May and were able to donate more than 1,000 items of food to BackPack Beginnings.
“There are many incredible organizations in our community working hard to serve the vulnerable during these uncertain times,” said Chris Vaughn, Managing Director of Carruthers & Roth. “Carruthers & Roth is pleased to be able to assist one such organization, BackPack Beginnings, in their efforts to combat increased food insecurity as a result of COVID-19.”
BackPack Beginnings is working closely with Guilford County Schools and other partner agencies to make sure food and other essential supports are provided to some of the most vulnerable school-age children and their families in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to food donations to stock their warehouse, BackPack Beginnings is looking for volunteers and other supplies. There is a “COVID-19 Response” information page on their website which explains how people can help during the pandemic.
About BackPack Beginnings
BackPack Beginnings, founded in 2010 by Parker White, a native of Greensboro and mother of 2 children, is a 95 percent volunteer-run and donor-driven organization. What started out as a feeding program in one school feeding 50 children has grown to a multi-program organization serving approximately 9,000 children a year. To find out more or support BackPack Beginnings through in-kind donations, funding or volunteering, please contact Parker White at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the organization online at www.backpackbeginnings.org.
The Young Lawyers Section is excited to kick off the 2020-2021 year!
YLS is planning to hold a Fall Swearing-In Ceremony in early October 2020, although it may look different as we adapt the program due to COVID-19. The date of the Swearing-In Ceremony will be announced when it is confirmed. As always, we encourage all members of the GBA to join us and support our newly licensed attorneys! If you are a newly licensed attorney, or if you know a newly licensed attorney, please e-mail Nicole Scallon at email@example.com to receive the application materials that will become available in September.
In connection with the Swearing-In Ceremony, YLS is hoping to offer a short virtual discussion for new lawyers and other attorneys to learn about important locations within the federal and state courthouses. If you would be interested in attending this virtual event, please e-mail Hillary Kies at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hillary Kies is President of the Greensboro Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section and is an attorney with Turning Point Litigation.
Connect with Us
Do you have ideas for future YLS events, service projects, and/or socially distant activities? Please let us know by e-mailing Hillary Kies at email@example.com to share your ideas.
Do you want more information about upcoming YLS events or to find out how you can get involved? Check out our website at www.greensboroyls.org. Also follow us on Facebook (Greensboro Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section). E-mail Hillary Kies at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our email list. We look forward to connecting with you!
Unprecedented times. Navigating the crisis. Stay-at-home orders issued.
These are the headlines of the day. And every lawyer – regardless of age, experience, or circumstances – has been affected.
Many of you had high hopes for launching your legal career and the pandemic was not a part of your plan. Or perhaps your career is well underway, yet the pandemic is causing issues that are not yet fully defined.
Let us talk with a few people who started practicing law during or immediately after another crisis, the Great Recession. Their stories of evolving and thriving will provide us with hope and a blueprint for moving forward.
Persistence and Creativity: Heather Hazelwood
Heather Hazelwood practices estate planning and estate administration as the solo owner of Ampersand Law established in Durham in 2016. Heather is a second career lawyer having worked in the non-profit sector for eight years prior to law school. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in May 2011.
After two years of practice, Heather says she began to think about ways to do law differently. “I was especially interested in finding new ways of doing business to update the [slow-to-change] long-established traditional models for law firms. That’s when the idea of going out on my own began to form.”
Two years later, UNC-Chapel Hill recruited Heather’s wife, they moved to North Carolina, she sat for the NC bar exam and opened her own firm, Ampersand Law.
Advice for lawyers and recent graduates? Heather says that at some point in her career, she realized that success is not linear, and that the only real failure is never trying. “Running your own business is much more trial-and-error than you’d expect. And most of us do not spend much time advertising the errors. Nothing is as good or easy as it looks on Instagram.”
Be Willing to Wear Different Hats: Neil Magnuson
Neil Magnuson graduated from UNC Law School in 2009. “I clerked for Williams Mullen during the summer prior to my 3L year and received an offer at the end of that summer. Many firms at the time had to push back start dates for incoming associates, and Williams Mullen did so in our case but, fortunately, they were able to bring us in after a few months’ delay [during which they also provided us a stipend].”
What strengths did you develop by starting work during a recession?
“In hindsight, I suppose it would have been the efforts during my first two years out of law school to learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could, while trying to do good work when I had work to do. I also endeavored to never turn down work, so long as I felt confident, I had the time to get it done, and done well. The breadth of experience has also been helpful in-house, where one may need to wear different hats from time to time.”
Today, Neil works as Media Counsel for NASCAR Media Ventures. “I work on the media side of the NASCAR business, primarily doing transactional work for the digital and broadcasting teams. I draft and review contracts, advise on media and IP matters, and help maintain our IP portfolio, among other things.”
NASCAR sounds like a dream job that perfectly suits Neil’s skill set.
“Prior to law school, I was a software engineer in the sports television industry – more on the productions / graphics and statistics side of sports television. Certainly, I had great interest in someday returning to the sports world on the legal side but expected that those opportunities would not present often. Fortunately, a position opened at NASCAR five years ago that seemed to be a good fit and, luckily, I was hired. And it has been a good fit, and a wonderful place to work. I grew up on stick-and-ball sports, but I now love a NASCAR race.”
She Wrote a Book: Venus Liles
Venus Liles has a great pandemic story to share. An in-house attorney at SAS Institute in Cary, she also moonlights on the side, helping startups and small to mid-sized businesses with their corporate legal needs.
Venus has two small kids, Violet [age five] and Ivy [age three]. As Venus says, “I searched for a children’s book to help explain the coronavirus and social distancing to my kids. When I could not find one, I decided to write it myself. I knew from the beginning that although I wanted the book to explain the coronavirus and good hygiene practices to kids, what I really wanted the book to focus on was the emotional side of social distancing. I also wanted the book to have a hopeful ending. I wrote the whole thing in one sitting, but a significant number of late-night edits followed. It was such a time-sensitive subject matter that I had to act quickly.”
Venus devotes a portion of the book proceeds – as well as revenue from her law firm – to charity.
“I just really love the idea of giving back in different ways. With the book, I am able to help families have honest conversations with their children about what’s going on the world and donate funds to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Response Fund. With my company, I am able to help startups and small businesses with affordable legal services and give back to local nonprofits. All of that makes the hard work completely worth it.”
Recent Graduates Consider Effects of Pandemic on Their Career
Tips for working through a pandemic include patience and preparation.
“Being patient often helps me gain better perception. Preparation helps me to control what I can and acknowledge what I cannot.”
Richard Glenn, December 2019 Elon Law graduate
“When the odds are against me, usually my first thought is, ‘we will see about that.’ I am always up for a new challenge and love finding creative solutions to meet my clients’ needs.”
Lauren Zickert, December 2019 Elon Law graduate
“Although it took some adaptation, the transition to working from home was fairly smooth. Programs such as Google voice have been a great help in transitioning to remote work.
Je’vonne Knox, Elon Law Class of 2019
Perspective of a Law Student
Lawyers Mutual participates in the NC Bar Association, Minorities in the Profession, 1L Summer Associate Program. This summer we were fortunate to have Quay Wembley intern with us.
“As a law student during the time of a world-wide pandemic, it has been difficult to stay positive”, he says. “After finally becoming accustomed to the rigor and fast pace learning in law school, I found myself having to start back at square one during the most crucial part of my 1L year. Within a matter of months, all law students across the country were forced to quickly adapt to remote learning. With tenacity and perseverance, I was able to finish my 1L year strong and in great standing, but that was only half the battle.”
“At the conclusion of my 1L year, the pandemic cases gradually increased. As a result, many of my classmates and colleagues had their summer opportunities canceled. Fortunately, I was able to continue my summer internship remotely with Lawyers Mutual. Although my internship became completely remote, I am grateful to have the opportunity to move forward as well as gain experience in the practice of law.”
“After reflecting on these past few weeks, I realized that there is a silver lining to my experience. I can truly say that I am watching the practice of law change and evolve. Within the legal profession, people of all ages are beginning to utilize technology more than it has ever been used before.”
“With travel costs and efforts to maintain social distancing, it is foreseeable that mediations, depositions, arbitrations, and other out-of-court proceedings will be conducted online more often. The use of technology and online software are likely to become the new normal in the practice of law. Stepping into summer employment during a pandemic has been challenging, but this experience will prepare me to adapt as well as develop resiliency for whatever lies ahead.”
We are in uncharted territory. You have probably never experienced a pandemic or had to develop a plan for surviving one. Both are scary. But with a plan, and the advice and counsel of our colleagues, we can survive this challenge.
Camille Stell is the President of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services and a specialist in working with lawyers and firms on strategic planning and succession planning. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at email@example.com or 800.662.8843.
Quay Wembley is an ECU Pirate and a rising 2L at the North Carolina Central School of Law. Quay is a summer intern with Lawyers Mutual and gaining valuable experience watching the New Normal of law practice develop in front of him. You can reach Quay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employment & Labor Attorney – Greensboro, NC
Nexsen Pruet is seeking a highly motivated Attorney to join their growing Employment & Labor Practice Group in their Greensboro, North Carolina office.
Experience and Background:
- 3 – 6 years of Employment and Labor experience
- Ability to regularly counsel and advise employers on compliance with federal, state and local employment laws
- Team Player
- Excellent legal skills and reputation
- Organized and attentive to detail
- Comfortable interacting with clients
- Commitment to exceptional work product and client service
- Strong academic background
- Business development potential
For consideration, please submit:
- Cover letter
- Salary history
- Law School Transcript
to Summer Winslow, Recruitment & Professional Development Manager
BarCARES is a confidential, short-term intervention program provided cost-free to members of the 24th Judicial District Bar and other participating judicial district bars, voluntary bar associations and law schools. If you would like additional information about the program and/or its availability in your area, please contact the BarCARES coordinator at 919.929.1227 or 1.800.640.0735 or click on the icon below.
Welcome to our inaugural COVID-19 bar association year. While I certainly did not expect to be writing the President’s message from my virtual home office, I promise to do my best to adapt to the new world that we are living in and serve the GBA to the best of my ability. To that end, we have already accomplished a lot this summer despite our newfound virtual reality. The GBA virtually hosted a meeting with Chief Justice Beasley of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and conducted our first ever virtual district court election.
Looking ahead, our theme for this year is “building our future.”
Our Habitat for Humanity project has been put on hold until January 2021 to allow for a safer build. I hope that we will have the opportunity to take on that project given the present conditions. We will reevaluate how we participate in the project as we get closer to next year. In response to the pandemic, I have created a Coronavirus Response Committee. The goal of the committee is to assist our members through this difficult time. To better plan for our future, I created a long-range planning committee. The committee will define objectives and goals for the GBA’s next 5-10 years.
My goal is to regularly host GBA events while maintaining member safety. We will plan to have our first meeting in September virtually. I will make the decision monthly going forward. Plan on GBA events, board meetings and other committee meetings being virtual in the short-term. The GBA will be posting announcements about the status of Guilford County Courthouse operations. Please be on the lookout for emails and posts on our website regarding that information.
I would love to hear your feedback as we move through the year. Please feel free to email me with any comments, questions, or suggestions at email@example.com. I hope you will join us virtually on September 17, 2020 to kick off our first GBA meeting of the 2020-2021 year!
GBA President, 2020-2021
The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has wide-reaching effects, including on Elon Law students. A number of them have been advised by employers that summer internships, for which they were previously hired, have been canceled. We anticipate that this trend will continue as we approach the summer months.
If you are able to host one of our bright, hardworking law students as an intern this summer so that they can continue to gain experience in preparation to practice, please contact Jennifer Mencarini at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unpaid experiences and remote research opportunities are welcome. To make intern selection as easy as possible for GBA members, we have collected resumes from students by practice area and can quickly send you resumes for review.
We know these are challenging times for lawyers, too – and we are thankful for all of the support the GBA and its members provide to our school and our students.
President Eric Richardson was recognized for his service at the virtual Annual Meeting of the Greensboro Bar Association and the 24th Judicial District Bar on April 16th. President Elect Lisa Arthur paid tribute to Mr. Richardson’s many accomplishments and contributions to our organization. This year’s need for social distance dictated that a gift from the members be presented to Eric at his office by colleague Molly Hilburn-Holte after the Annual Meeting.
Thank you, Eric, for serving the members of the Greensboro Bar Association so well!
Although the March 28, 2020 beer and wine tasting event was canceled, during the April 16, 2020 GBA meeting, we
were able to deliver a check for $22,204.81 to Legal Aid of North Carolina. We would like to thank our sponsors and donors who purchased tickets to the event, each who generously agreed to have their funds donated directly to Legal Aid
of North Carolina:
Fox Rothschild, LLP
Morgenstern & Associates
Turning Point Litigation
Black Slaughter & Black
Carruthers & Roth, P.A.
Deuternman Law Group, PA
Hagan Barrett & Langley
James W. Bryan
Johnson, Peddrick & McDonald
Patterson & Sheridan LLP
Sally B. Cone
Elon Law School
Garret Walker Aycoth & Olsen, PLLC
Hon. Robert N. Hunter, Jr.
Law Offices of Charles Winfree
Richard H. Hicks, Jr.
Sigmon Klein, PLLC
Tarheel Advisors, LLC
Hon. Teresa Vincent
J. Patrick Haywood
Hon. Bill Davis
Additionally, thank you to everyone who participated in our online raffle. Each ticket sold was assigned a number and, after a random number generator picked a number to be associated with the prize, the prize was won by the person with that ticket number. The winners of the electronic raffle are:
Triad Stage tickets: Lisa Arthur
Quaintance-Weaver gift certificate: Leigh Cain
Maxie B’s gift certificate: Barbara Christy
Crafted gift certificate: Rachel Decker
Green Bean gift certificate: Margaret Kantlehner
Gate City Growlers gift certificate: Diane Lowe
Dancing Dogs class pass: Barbara Morgenstern
Carolina Theater tickets: David Puryeaer
Brew Peddlers gift certificate: Kyle Woosley
Fresh Market gift basket: Bill Davis
The Herb Falk Society honors those members of the Greensboro Bar Association who contribute at least 75 hours of pro bono service annually. The eleven GBA members inducted for 2019 were recognized at the virtual Annual Meeting on April 16th. They are:
T. Keith Black – 84.4 hours
Kearns Davis – 100.5 hours
Richard W. Gabriel – 80.1 hours
Eloise McCain Hassell – 119.6 hours
D. Beth Langley – 102.9 hours
Manisha P. Patel – 651.5 hours
Karen McKeithen Schaede – 75 hours
Jim Slaughter – 99 hours
D. Clark Smith – 235 hours
Theodora A. Vaporis – 100.1 hours
Jonathan Wall – 110 hours
Congratulations and thank you for your service!
Every year, the GBA hosts a day at the ballpark at the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ stadium. We look forward to it every year as a chance to catch up with one another and celebrate the conclusion of another successful GBA year. This year, however, things are different and COVID-19 presents new challenges for social gatherings. Not to mention, COVID-19 has changed our community, causing many to be struggling with this new normal. So, rather than reschedule the Grasshopper’s event, the GBA Board voted to reallocate the $3,000 budgeted for this event to the following charitable organizations that need our help right now more than ever:
Backpack Beginnings: an organization that provides backpacks filled with food and other supplies directly to children in need. The GBA will gift $1,000 to this organization. To read more about Backpack Beginnings, click here: https://backpackbeginnings.org/about/
Greensboro Urban Ministries (GUM): The GBA regularly serves at GUM providing meals to the homeless in our community. In lieu of serving at GUM this month, the GBA will gift $1,000 to this organization. To read more about Greensboro Urban Ministries, click here: https://greensborourbanministry.org/
Downtown Greensboro Meals for Frontline Heroes: Downtown Greensboro has created a GoFundMe page to raise money to donate to local restaurants in downtown Greensboro. The following restaurants are participating: 1618 Downtown, A Sweet Success! Bakery, Baked, Blue Denim, Cheesecakes By Alex, Chez Genese, Cincy’s, Deep Roots, Ghassan’s, Heavenly Buffaloes, Jerusalem Market, Liberty Oak, Machete, Mellow Mushroom, and SMOHK’D. In return, the restaurants will provide meals to Cone Health healthcare workers on the front lines fighting COVID-19. The GBA will gift $1,000 to this initiative. To read more about it, click here: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/greensborostrong
While we will miss seeing all of you at the ballpark, the GBA board determined that the money would be better served supporting the community that we love so much during this uncertain time. We hope you all stay safe and well!
The Greensboro Bar Association established the Distinguished Service Award in 1993 to annually recognize a lawyer for exhibiting a deep devotion to the legal profession and an enduring contribution to the administration of justice and the public good through unselfish service. Kearns Davis was honored at the Greensboro Bar Association’s historic virtual annual meeting on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Members are invited to read the nomination submitted by the Awards Committee:
GBA Awards Committee’s Nomination of Kearns Davis
Kearns Davis founded and leads Brooks Pierce’s white-collar defense and investigation practice. Among other honors and awards, he is listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers Top 10 attorneys in all categories (Thomson Reuters, 2016-2019), The Best Lawyers in America© in White-Collar Criminal Defense (2010-2019), Chambers USA: America›s Leading Lawyers for Business in White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations (Band 1) (2012-18), and Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” in Criminal Defense (2008-19). In addition, Best Lawyers has repeatedly named him «Lawyer of the Year» for Greensboro in White-Collar Criminal Defense (2013, 2016, & 2018), and Benchmark Litigation recognizes him as a “Litigation Star” for North Carolina in White-Collar Crime (2015-2019). A former federal prosecutor, he has tried jury cases at all levels of federal and North Carolina trial courts, represents clients in U.S. trial and appellate courts across the country, and handles a broad range of federal and business litigation.
Kearns Davis served as president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2016-17 following a year as president-elect. Davis previously served as chair of the NCBA’s Young Lawyers Division from 2004-05, as chair of its Criminal Justice Section from 2007-08, and as a member of the NCBA Board of Governors from 2011-14. He was the first recipient of the Young Lawyers Division’s Robinson O. Everett Professionalism Award. During his tenure as chair of the Criminal Justice Section in 2007-08, the section initiated an annual recognition dinner that has evolved into one of the highlights of the association year. The event features recognition of an outstanding criminal defense attorney and an outstanding prosecutor.
Davis began laying the groundwork for a historic relationship while serving as president of the North Carolina Bar Association during 2016-17. On a personal trip to Haiti before becoming NCBA president, Davis connected one morning for breakfast with Haitian bar leaders. During that meeting, Port-au-Prince Bar Association President Stanley Gaston expressed interest in developing a relationship with the NCBA. Haitian bar leaders then traveled to North Carolina to witness Davis’s inauguration as NCBA president in June 2016. In May 2017, Davis, other representatives of the NCBA, and students from the Elon University School of Law visited Haiti to present at a conference on economic investment. In his address at the Haitian Supreme Court, Davis emphasized the North Carolina Bar Association’s belief in Haiti’s ability to create a bright future for the country, citing its ready workforce and geographic advantage as well as the importance of the need to trust the legal system in that everyone who invests in a business, whether it is an international investment or a domestic investment, wants to know that the business will be treated fairly, in accordance with the law.
The latest trip to Haiti included the Honorable James Gale, Chief Judge of the North Carolina Business Court, who also addressed the Haitian Supreme Court. A group of young attorneys from Port-au-Prince visited North Carolina in September 2018 as part of an exchange between the two bar associations.
Davis has participated in a broad range of professional and civic activities, including service on the boards of directors of the Greensboro Police Foundation and the Greensboro Sports Council. He has also served on the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission and as president of the Federal Bar Association’s Middle District of North Carolina Chapter.
Stay-at-home orders and self-quarantine are impacting our ability to travel freely, but they don’t mean our networking efforts have to cease. Having a vibrant network is essential to keeping your law practice healthy.
When networking from six feet, it is inevitable that we use technology to build community and deepen relationships.
Here is an example of what one North Carolina law firm has done.
NC Planning, an estate planning and business law firm located in Cary, sent daily messages to clients and friends of the firm for approximately 10 days running. The emails contained brief information, with an informational video, on one or two topics of interest such as how to be prepared with telemedicine and health care directives. By week 2, they began to offer free 30-minute business owner consultations on topics such as how to apply for the new federal funding programs that were available. At the end of the second week, they announced they were moving from daily emails to weekly emails, but they were still offering free 30-minute business owner consultations and they were updating social media channels daily, including offering videos on Facebook Live.
A business example outside of legal is Constant Contact. I, like many small businesses, use Constant Contact for my email service. On March 31, in response to COVID-19, Constant Contact sent its small business partners a Small Business Support Kit, which included tools to help boost business, share stories of inspiration from other small business owners, reduced pricing on e-commerce management tools, industry-specific Small Business Action Plans, weekly webinars and access to a community online forum. When I clicked on the “consulting and training services action plan,” I found an 11-page plan that offered advice on building your brand online, moving in-person events to online events, working from home, and more.
During this same time frame, other law firms heard messages from their clients that they were overwhelmed with information in the opening days of March and they asked their firms to turn off the messaging. Listening to what your clients need and want is important, so turning off communication for a short period is also a great strategy. Let your clients lead the way in communication preferences.
Start by asking, how can I be of service? You need look no further than your local news feed or emails from community charities and food banks to see we have a tremendous amount of unmeet needs in our local communities. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Retweet the link to a helpful resource
- Share on social media what legal associations or other organizations are doing that provide aid
- Look for pro bono opportunities through bar associations and the NC Pro Bono Resource Center
- Drop food at a local food bank
- Volunteer to assist in feeding kids
- Give blood to the American Red Cross
- Send an online gift card as a thank you
- Watch and see what the needs are of others and if you can fill a gap
Email your contacts with a short note, “I wanted to reach out to see if there is anything I can do for you. You’ve been so generous with your time (or your business, your referrals), I want to return the favor if I can.”
Send Positive Vibes
Reach out to let someone know you are thinking of them. This is a great time to check on people with an email or call. Send a hand-written note of thanks. When you see someone doing good, offer congratulations or thank them for their service. It is important to be authentic in your networking communications and especially now when nerves are frayed. You don’t want to send messages that look like hidden requests for business or being tone-deaf to the people you are reaching out to. But this adage is true, the more you give, the more you get.
Use Tech to Connect
Use technology such as Zoom or FaceTime to connect. Extroverts are particularly feeling the pain of working from home. In addition to work meetings, schedule social dates and plan virtual conversations, morning coffee, and stay-in-touch calls.
Now is a good time to strategically take inventory of who you want to be connected to and reach out. Look for online communities such as Facebook Groups or through a platform such as Mighty Networks that match your interests. If you can’t find a group that speaks to you, create your own.
Follow potential clients, colleagues, associations, or referral sources on LinkedIn and other social platforms – connect, follow, comment. Use technology to stay connected and grow your network. This is also a good time to refresh and update your social media profiles.
Use Tech for Wellness
Use this time to start an affirmation, meditation, or another wellness practice through tools such as Headspace, Insight Timer, Breath, Calm. I’m a big fan of Insight Timer which has a huge collection of free meditations and calming music, chants, or sounds of nature that help me with sleep at night or a refreshing break during the day.
Search for lawyers in the wellness space and follow them such as Laura Mahr with Conscious Legal Minds or Colleen Byers with Bell Davis & Pitt. Both Laura and Colleen are gifted in wellness topics and offer CLEs, webinars, and consultations.
Use your Fitbit or other tech tool to remind you to get up and walk around, set walking goals daily, create contests among your friends and family to hit target number of steps. Sitting in my home office with no outside stimulation can be hard, but when my Fitbit alarms at 10 till the hour, I get up, refill my water bottle, and add another couple of hundred steps to my total for the day.
And, finally, reach out to your BarCares or the State Bar LAP program if you need to talk with someone. Or find a friend, a trusted advisor, a spiritual leader or your Employee Assistance Program, to get some help. This might be a great time to see how telemedicine works for you.
I hope you are safe and healthy during this time. I hope your law firm, organization, business, or association weathers the COVID-19 storm. I look forward to networking from six feet, but even more, I look forward to our next in person gathering.
Camille Stell is the President of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at email@example.com or 919.677.8900.
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. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community in the company of fellow bar members.
Schedule changes due to COVID-19:
May 17 (Tentative)
Please email Molly Hilburn-Holte at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to help. Write POTTER’S HOUSE in the subject line.
We have adjusted the sails at the Greensboro Bar Association. The end of any term in a leadership position naturally brings thoughts of reflection. And this year for me as President of the Greensboro Bar Association is no different. I am satisfied with our performance over the last year and excited about our future. I cannot wait to see the great things that Lisa Arthur and her leadership team will bring to the membership. But what might normally be bittersweet feelings of leaving this position are unfamiliar this year. It seems like everything was different in May of 2019. Last May, I attended a reunion in Williamsburg, Virginia with fellow college classmates as we all turned age 50. We said we would make it an annual event. We held our second reunion, in 2020, by way of Zoom. Where and how will we meet in May of 2021?
My example represents so many others’ experiences and concerns about the future. Will we eat in restaurants like we used to, will we watch movies in a movie theater again, will we cheer at sporting events in large stadiums, will we take vacations, will we gather together for meetings, celebrations, dinner parties? I have no prediction. For me, the answers to these questions have a lot to do with leadership. The idea of leadership and how it entered my life this past year forced me to re-evaluate my response to a myriad of situations. So, in my final message, I want to talk about the importance of leadership.
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
Last month, I talked about how crisis, with all the negatives that come with it, can bring about beneficial change. It is no secret that the pandemic we now live with has refocused our attention on our leaders – at all levels of life – for answers to the question of how we move forward. For lawyers, we have seen exceptional leadership from our Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley who took the extraordinary measure of altering the rules of the court system to decrease personal contact and save lives. Similarly, our Guilford County Chief Judges – Joe Craig in Superior Court and Teresa Vincent in District Court – have navigated the path of keeping our courthouses open but with the safety of court employees, legal professionals and the public in the forefront of their decision making. We are fortunate to have strong, compassionate leaders in our legal system.
In trying to understand how different leaders might approach the same situation and take significantly different courses, a recent article argues that one attribute, above all others, determines a leaders’ decision making: mindsets. Mindsets are leaders’ mental lenses that dictate what information they take in and use to make sense of and navigate the situations they encounter. This study identified four ‘sets of mindsets’ most prominent in organizations: Growth vs. Fixed, Learning vs. Performance, Deliberative vs. Implemental, and Promotion vs. Prevention. Organizations that promote growth, learning, deliberative and promotion mindsets, they argue, see a better payoff. Gottfredson & Reina, To Be a Great Leader, You Need the Right Mindset (Harvard Business Review) (January 17, 2020).
I see these attributes as guideposts to evaluate leaders of any kind because they are predictors of how the leader will perform. Just like past decisions or behaviors provide some evidence of how we might perform in the future. What kind of leader are you? And, what kind of leader do you want in your organization? If these questions matter to you, consider the mindset of the leader.
Good luck to our incoming Board. I will continue to support you and this organization in any way I can next year. To our members, have a safe summer and best wishes in the weeks and months ahead.