Seeking Bench-Bar Liaison Committee members

The Buncombe County Bar is seeking volunteers to serve on the Bench-Bar Liaison Committee. Please email the Bar Administrator here to submit your application for consideration by the Bar’s Executive Committee. Please note the following explanation in the Bar’s bylaws:

Bench Bar Liaison Committee

(1)  The Bench-Bar Liaison Committee was created to facilitate and maintain good relations between the Bar and judiciary of the District Bar. The Committee shall endeavor to create an environment of a respectful, but friendly, dialogue and camaraderie between the Bench and the Bar. The Committee will endeavor to facilitate open and frank discussions between Bar representatives and the Bench to further the administration of justice in Buncombe County.

(2)  The Committee shall consist of at least five but not more than nine members of the District Bar.

(3)  Ex Officio members shall include one Superior Court Judge (nominated by the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge), a District Court Judge appointed by the Chief District Court Judge, and the President of the District Bar. The remaining members of the Committee shall be selected by the Executive Committee of the District Bar to staggered two-year terms with at least one member of the District Bar who practices in each of the following areas of law: Criminal; Superior Court Civil; and Family Law.

Drop-in CLE Hours October 3 & 4

Need CLE credit? All Bar members are invited to drop in for an hour or two to the Professionalism For New Admittees in the Buncombe County Bar at the Starnes Conference Room at Van Winkle Law Firm on Thursday, October 3, between 9 a.m., and Friday, October 4, at 4 p.m. This program consists of 12 hours of training in subjects designated by the North Carolina State Bar, including professional responsibility, professionalism, and law office management.

Bar members should email the Bar Administrator to reserve a seat. To receive credit for the hours attended simply pay $35 per hour and complete a partial credit form, and give both to the Bar Administrator at the time of attendance. All credit is ethics/professionalism credit, except for the Lawyers Assistance Program hour, which is mental health/substance abuse credit. The schedule is as follows:


8:45 – 9:45   Sabrina Presnell Rockoff of McGuire, Wood & Bissette Law Firm 

Organization of a Law Office, getting a privilege license (as distinct from law license), budgeting, advertising & marketing, forms, office accounting, Attorney-Client Relationships, creation & termination, engagement letters, fees & fee agreements, Organization of a Law Office, docket control and case management–(setting realistic goals), conflict detection, training and supervising employees, duties of diligence and communication, attorney-client privilege and communication

10:00 – 11:00 Laura Mahr, Conscious Legal Minds 

Five Things Every Lawyer Should Know About Burnout

11:00 – 12:00 Professionalism Pitfalls & Law School Debt Panel (Sonya Rikhye, Carter Webb, Tikkun Gottschalk, Kathryn Beach)

Professionalism & budgeting for law school debt payments

2:00 — 3:00 Jim Barrett, Director, Pisgah Legal Services  

Importance of Pro Bono Service – Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers

3:15 – 4:45   Hon. Sharon Barrett, Retired Superior Court Judge

Professionalism, Mentors & why they are useful, What Law School Didn’t Teach: What to Say At Trial, Ex Parte Communication, Do’s & Don’ts in Court     



9:00 – 10:00   Kevin Mahoney, NC Eminent Domain    

Technology, Assembling the infrastructure of a law practice with an overview of the technology necessary to build a law office support system, Resources for defining, acquiring, installing and integrating technology, Preview of technology’s impact on ethical responsibilities, Confidentiality, Rule 1.6, Communications: email, Twitter, cell phones, Information storage: cloud computing, Photocopies and photocopiers, Metadata, Portable devices and media, Unsecure wireless networks/public computers/malware, Working in public spaces (e.g., airports, trains, restaurants, Social Media, Ethical and professional requirements when marketing a law practice, Ethical and professional requirements when communicating with clients and 3rd parties, Conflicts control, Rules 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10 iv., Risk of spoliation of evidence, A Lawyer’s Relationship to the Public with Advertising and Social Media

10:15 – 11:15 Troy Crawford, Claims Counsel, Lawyers Mutual Insurance  

Trust Accounting Rules, Rule 1.5, Recordkeeping, Software, What is deposited in trust account operating account, Supervision of personnel handling trust account, Personal injury settlements, Real estate transactions, Service as escrow agent, Random audit program, IOLTA

11:15 – 12:15  Hon. Martin Reidinger, US District Judge, Western District NC  

Professionalism and a Litigator’s Public Relationship, and a Lawyer’s Relationship with his Colleagues, including:

    1. Honesty
    2. Respect
    3. Seeking Mentoring
    4. A Lawyer’s Relationship with the Courts
    5. Courtroom decorum
    6. Being Prepared
    7. Honesty and Candor
    8. Avoiding Frivolous Positions
    9. Avoiding Untenable Positions
    10. Avoiding the Waste of Time

1:00 – 2:00 Robynn Moraites, Lawyers Assistance Program   

Work/Life Balance, Substance abuse/mental health, the Lawyers Assistance Program, Statistics on lawyers, Relation to professional discipline, Secured leave policy, Setting boundaries (e.g., cell phone and email access) with clients and the office to preserve personal time

2:00  – 300  James Ellis, Stone & Christy Attorneys

Overview of North Carolina State Bar, Regulatory framework – Chapter 84 of the General Statutes and State Bar rules, Obligations of membership including dues, CLE, reporting misconduct, and responding to inquiries of the State Bar, Ethics and Grievance Committees, State Bar programs and committees including: IOLTA, CLE, Legal Specialization, Client Security Fund, Fee Dispute Resolution, Authorized Practice Committee, Administrative Committee

3:00  -4:00  Professionalism in Practice Panel Moderator: Hon. Sharon Barrett, Retired Superior Court Judge Panelists: Kenny Hunt, Roberts & Stevens, Johanna Finkelstein, Assistant Clerk of Courts, Anne Salter, Pisgah Legal Services, John Olesiuk, DeVere Lentz & Associates

Presentation of vignettes with specific professionalism challenges

Notice for New Bar Members

The annual Swearing-in Ceremony for the Buncombe County Bar takes place on October 10th in the 5th Floor Courtroom. New Bar members are invited to sign up now to be sworn in to state, federal and/or Cherokee courts at this ceremony. New members are also invited to attend the Professionalism For New Admittees in the Buncombe County Bar, a 12-hour, two-day continuing legal education course for attorneys who plan to practice in Buncombe County. It is free for new members of the Buncombe County Bar, and $25 per hour for others. Pre-registration is required; sign up here.

Have You Used Your Free Resilience Coaching or Mental Health Benefits?

Did you know that lawyers and judges in the Buncombe Count Bar are eligible for free Resilience Coaching sessions with Laura Mahr or free mental health care sessions with a local therapist this calendar year? If you have not yet used your 2019 BarCARES benefits, call BarCARES at 800-640-0735 during business hours. The program coordinator will take your confidential call. You can specifically request three sessions with Laura Mahr, a local attorney and mindfulness-based resilience coach, or ask for a referral to a participating licensed therapist. You do not need to give any specifics other than your name and Bar number to access your benefits.

To find out more about BarCARES, visit To find out more about Laura’s mindfulness and neuroscience-based resilience coaching for lawyers, visit
NOTE: Per BarCARES rules, if you used your 2018 BarCARES benefits for coaching sessions with Laura, you are eligible for only two sessions with her in 2019.