A special joint meeting of the 24 and 24H Judicial District Bars was held on Wednesday, October 26 for the purpose of selecting five nominees for the District Court judicial vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the Honorable Marcus A. Shields.
The five elected nominees:
Walter W. “Trip” Baker – 112 votes
Tomakio S. Gause – 72 votes
Brenton J. Boyce – 68 votes
John Parker Stone – 67 votes
Susan Yu O’Hale – 62 votes
William H. Hill – 54 votes
Taniya D. Reaves – 38 votes
Rebecca Perry – 23 votes
Lisa Maria Grigley – 6
Jim Slaughter, a partner at Law Firm Carolinas, has a follow-up book to his Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track, released earlier this year. Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition is a user’s guide to meetings and Robert’s Rules of Order that uses a question-and-answer format to cover the most misused and asked-about provisions. Notes and Comments previously received the Phifer Award from the National Communication Association.
It’s once again time to kick off fundraising for the Jones Elementary School project, a wonderful Greensboro Bar Association tradition. For new members or those that need a refresher, each year the GBA raises money to purchase and hand out books to the K-5th graders in the neighborhood leadership division of the school, as well purchase and deliver books to all 5th graders shortly before summer break. In previous years, strong member participation allowed the GBA to donate excess funds to the Jones Elementary School Food Bank.
We are excited to report books will once again be wrapped by members at the GBA holiday party and hand delivered to students, as in years’ past.
We can’t keep this wonderful tradition alive without your donations so please Donate now online, or mail your check made payable to the Greensboro Bar Association Foundation, with “Elementary School Project” in the memo line, to:
Greensboro Bar Association Foundation
P.O. Box 1825
Greensboro, NC 27402
Donations are tax-deductible, with receipts sent to each donor. Thank you in advance for your continuing support – the children and teachers at Jones thank you too!
Last month, the Young Lawyers Section held its Fall Swearing-in Ceremony for the admission of newly licensed attorneys to the state and federal courts. Thank you to all Young Lawyers Section members and GBA members who were able to join us to support our newly licensed attorneys! The event was a success, and we hope to hold another swearing-in ceremony in the spring.
Lunch and Learn Series:
The Young Lawyers Section is planning a Lunch and Learn series in November 2022. The Lunch and Learn series will feature a prominent attorney in the community who will offer advice to new and aspiring attorneys on furthering their careers and making the most of the legal profession. This will be a great opportunity to learn while enjoying lunch on the YLS and networking with other young lawyers in the community. If you are a young attorney, or know a young attorney, and would like more information, please contact the YLS at [email protected]. The date and location of the November 2022 Lunch and Learn event will be announced on the YLS Facebook page as it is confirmed.
Connect with YLS:
YLS is in the process of scheduling a social event for our members. An e-mail blast will be sent out in the coming weeks regarding this event. We hope you can join us!
Do you have an idea for a future YLS event, service project, and/or social activity? Please share by emailing Robert Trimble at [email protected].
Do you want more information about upcoming YLS events or to find out how you can get involved? Check us out and follow our Facebook page (Greensboro Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section).
If you would like to be added to the YLS email list, please email Robert Trimble at [email protected].
YLS would like to celebrate life’s milestones with our members. Email [email protected] to share personal and professional updates about yourself that you would like celebrated on the YLS Facebook page.
While some law firms never shut down, and others were remote prior to the pandemic, many businesses and firms returned to the office in Spring 2022. Lawyers Mutual was one of those. After 24 months working from home, we returned to work from the office with a hybrid plan.
Lessons Learned Since 2020
What companies found about work from home is that people are just as productive, if not more so, when working from home. There were plenty of articles and surveys confirming this result.
Then in 2021, a strange thing begins to happen, people quit their jobs. The Great Resignation refers to the 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. People are rethinking where, how, and why they work.
NPR’s Planet Money team uses the term, the Great Renegotiation, and says it’s not uncommon in a strong job market to see workers look for better pay, perks, and flexibility. During a strong job market, bargaining power shifts to employees.
As a result, employees expect flexibility from their employers. As a result of the pandemic, business has technology systems in place that allow for remote work, we have collaboration tools that allow us to stay in touch, and we are able to look at our business results to know that our employees were productive.
A Webex report shows:
- 57% of employees expect to be in the office 10 days or less each month
- 77% of employees will embrace a flexible workstyle
- 97% of employees want changes to make the office safer before they return
Hybrid Work Schedules
While lawyers have typically had flexibility and the tools to work remotely, paralegals and other team members are often not given the same opportunity. It’s not uncommon for firms to require support staff to work from the office and the technology and equipment provided for staff doesn’t accommodate remote work.
During the pandemic, as law firms had to figure out how to have everyone work at home, Martindale-Avvo surveyed firms and 50% of those surveyed plan for their staff to continue working remotely in some fashion when the pandemic is over.
For many firms, making this decision will help them remain an employer of choice in a tight job market where the best talent has many options.
There is no question that lawyers and team members are going to be interested in hybrid situations. Commute time can be significant for those living in metro areas or traveling into metro areas to work. I typically spend 1.5 – 2 hours a day on my commute. Having that extra time available to focus on myself and my family, or pending work projects when necessary, increased my wellbeing during the pandemic. Many lawyers and team members report the same while expressing a desire for hybrid opportunities. It seems we all want the best of both worlds, the ability to re-enter the world, collaborate with our colleagues, yet have some days during the week where we don’t fight the commute.
- 64% of people say the ability to work from anywhere affects whether they stay at or leave a job (Hybrid Work Index, Cisco, February 2022)
- 81% of people either do not want to go back to the office at all, or would prefer a hybrid schedule (Future of Work from Home Research, Harvard Business School)
- 58% of those working from home said they are using workplace collaboration tools more than they were pre-pandemic (Future of Work Research, Forbes, March 21)
- 87% of executives expect to make changes to their real estate strategy in 2022 (Remote Work Survey, PWC, January 2021)
Designing the Best Hybrid Workplace
Firms express the same concerns about how remote work will impact law firms over time. Here are some best practices to implement.
Be intentional in mentorship and training. Partners are concerned about how Next Generation employees will be mentored and will learn substantive skills working on a computer from home. Partners wonder how to teach young professionals if they aren’t in the office available for casual drop-ins or lunch opportunities? Intentionality is the key.
Create more structured training programs. Create skills boot camps with both virtual and in-person components. Schedule in-person lunch opportunities for internal networking followed by one-on-one meetings to collaborate on specific matters. Create collaborative work teams led by senior paralegals to teach associates how to work as part of a legal team and to fully utilize technology tools to build relationships.
Maintaining firm culture is important to partners. But sometimes maintaining firm culture is a way to say, “let’s make sure nothing ever changes”. Firm culture is important, but so is flexibility and adaptability. Rather than lament the old ways, define what is important about your firm culture. Is it the collegiality? Is it the open-door policy? None of these things have to change. Collaborative tools allow for an open-door policy. At LM Title, Troy Crawford stays in contact with his remote work force through Microsoft Teams collaboration tool. Troy is available to answer questions and support his team by keeping the chat and video feature open all day. The employee experience is as though they are in the same office.
Take the long view for retaining legal professionals through part-time and flex-time policies. Do you measure productivity by sitting in a chair for eight hours? Many partners do, but that’s an outdated measure.
During the pandemic, you may have been unaware that your employee was at a parent-teacher conference in the middle of the day or taking a walk in the park at 3:00. But you were also unaware that they made up those hours after dinner or by logging on before office hours.
Today, employees embrace work-life integration rather than work-life balance. Balance suggests that our work life and personal life are independent of each other. There needs to be balance as we exist in one world or the other. Integration recognizes that our work and life need to coexist.
Strengthen wellness and mental health programs. Mental health has always been a hot button topic in the legal profession and the pandemic has increased the need for wellness and mental health programs. This is an area where you don’t have to find the solutions on your own. The resources of the NC State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), BarCares, hiring professionals such as Laura Mahr, using the Employee Assistance Programs that are part of your health insurance, or subscribing to an online wellness or mental health service are all steps you can take to create a more sustainable work environment.
Implementing these tips will allow your firm to evolve and thrive.
Camille Stell is the President of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services and the co-author of Designing a Succession Plan for Your Law Firm available from Amazon. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at [email protected] or 800.662.8843.
Chief Justice Mark D. Martin
High Point University School of Law
Hon. Robby Hassell
Kathryn A Mangus
Bagwell Holt Smith PA
Richard Glenn III
Sean Thomas Placey
Fox Rothschild LLP
Patrick M. Kane
Shauna L. Baker-Karl
Tuggle Duggins, PA
William G. Burgin
Alexandria B. Morgan
Tuggle Duggins, PA
William G. Burgin, III
The GBA Real Property Section will meet for dinner on Thursday, November 3, 6:00pm at 400 Bellemeade Street, Suite 800 (the FNB Building beside the Grasshopper Ballpark). Our guest speakers will be Kevin Redding, Executive Director, and Kalen Kingsbury, General Counsel, from Piedmont Land Conservancy. To make a reservation, please call Martha Bailey directly at 336-271-5202 or send an e-mail to [email protected]
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.
November 3 – GBA Real Property Section Meeting, 6:00 PM, Tuggle Duggins
November 9 – GBA Board Meeting, 4:00 PM, Self Help Building
November 16 – YLS Board Meeting, 12:00 PM, Sigmon Klein, PLLC
November 17 – Member Meeting, 12:30 PM, Greensboro Country Club
November 20 – Submission Deadline for December Newsletter
I hope that Fall has provided a fruitful harvest for all of you as you endeavor to improve the lives of your families, clients, and community. We are continuing the work that we are charged to do as an organization. We have continued work on the Habitat for Humanity Build for the deserving family. We are making plans to give back to our local schools through the Holiday Project. Look out for information on the Holiday Party. We are planning to have a fantastic event raising money for NC Legal Aid. We are appreciative of our members, and we value each one of you. Thank you to Guilford County Recovery Courts who served as our October 2022 Member Meeting Guest Speaker. For those in attendance, I am sure that each of you were deeply impacted by the speakers, including the success stories provided by past and current recovery court clients. We are better as a community because Guilford County has provided an alternative service for recovery for those in need of substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment services who happen to have interaction with the criminal justice system. As we continue to fulfill our mission, I hope each of you will consider joining or assisting a committee. The focus for this year is both community and wellness. Through our projects and initiatives, I hope that we can continue to improve the profession and our community. I look forward to seeing each of you at the November 2022 member meeting!
Marcus Allen Shields
President, Greensboro Bar Association 2022-2023