Mentorship – Promoting Professionalism

On behalf of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism,  Associate Justice Paul Newby recently expressed appreciation for the work of the Buncombe County Bar in its 7-year old program of formal mentorship. Leading a statewide effort to improve mentoring and promote professionalism, the senior justice suggested Buncombe Bar’s mentoring experiences “would be very helpful to others across the State.”  He also thanked Buncombe Bar “for investing in the future of the profession.”

In 2012, the Buncombe County Bar,  building on its long tradition of informal mentoring, formalized its mentorship program, which is currently administered by the Wellness Committee.  Justice Newby noted that as a young attorney at the Van Winkle Law Firm he personally benefited greatly from informal mentoring within the Buncombe County Bar. Based on his experience and the success of the Buncombe County Bar’s Mentorship Program, he has invited the Buncombe County Bar to participate in a statewide Mentoring Symposium to be held later this spring.

If you are interested in learning more about the Buncombe County Bar Mentoring Program, click here. For more information about mentoring or other wellness initiatives, please contact the Chair of the Wellness Committee, Gill P. Beck at gill.beck@usdoj.gov or 828-259-0645, or Lisa-Gaye Hall at admin@BuncombeBar.com.

Mindfulness Meditation CLE

Would you like to feel more resilient and less stressed? Once again, the Buncombe County Bar is partnering with Laura Mahr of Conscious Legal Minds LLC to offer a mindfulness meditation CLE course. This year, there will be two courses (Level One and Level Two) that run simultaneously, starting April 7 and ending May 8, with a week break on April 10 for the BCB April meeting. Click here for more information.

Hon. Cheri Beasley named Chief Justice of NC Supreme Court

Today, Governor Roy Cooper named Associate Justice Cheri Beasley as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

“Chief Justice Mark Martin has admirably served our state for years, and I wish him well in his new role,” said Gov. Cooper. “Justice Beasley is a well-respected jurist, and I know her to be fair and deeply committed to viewing all North Carolinians equally through the eyes of the law. I appreciate Justice Beasley’s willingness to serve the people of our state in this critical role.”

Justice Beasley has served on the North Carolina Supreme Court since 2012. She was previously an Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and before that served as a District Court Judge. Governor Jim Hunt first appointed Justice Beasley to the state bench in 1999. Beasley is a graduate of Rutgers University and received her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Justice Beasley will serve as the state’s first African American female Chief Justice of North Carolina.

Update from State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Members of the Buncombe County Bar –

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the new year!

The NCSB Council recently held its first quarterly meeting of the year. You will get a more detailed report from the Bar, but in the meantime here are some brief updates:

One of the big pieces of news is we are one step closer to being able to do all of our required CLE online. The proposed rule changes which would allow this are being drafted and will go to the Supreme Court for approval within a couple weeks. Hopefully it will not take a long time for the Court to review the proposed amendments and let us know their thoughts. I will keep you posted.

You may have heard of the proposal regarding use of the term “specialist.” The Ethics Committee declined to endorse the proposed language as it was determined a large number of board-certified specialists did not support it. Unlike many states, NC has a board-certified specialization program, so the use of the term in NC carries more weight than it may in states which do not have such a program.

The NC IOLTA Report to the North Carolina State Bar Council has some positive news: While all 2018 IOLTA income from participating banks that hold IOLTA accounts will not be received and entered until the end of January. Participant income through November 2018 was more than $2.5 million, an increase of 64% over the same period in 2017. This increase during the same period from 2016 to 2017 was only 2%. We hope this positive trend will continue into 2019 to enhance availability of funds for grantmaking. At the November 30 grantmaking meeting, the IOLTA trustees approved 2019 IOLTA grant awards. Regular 2019 IOLTA grants totaled nearly $1.85 million: $1,447,000 to support providers of direct civil legal services, $305,000 to volunteer lawyer programs, and $112,500 to projects to improve the administration of justice. An additional grant of $998,000 was made to the Home Defense Project Collaborative to support foreclosure prevention legal services provided by six organizations across the state. This grant was made with funds from the national Bank of America settlement.

The IOLTA trustees also dedicated funds to rebuild the reserve fund which has a current balance of $367,201. Though the amount will not be finalized until all 2018 income has been received, we anticipate a contribution of at least $500,000.

One of the goals of the NCSB is to make itself and its functions more transparent to our members and the public. We recently started to show the full council meeting live on Facebook (this is the meeting that usually starts on the Friday of the quarterly meetings at 8:30 am). If you follow the NCSB’s Facebook page, you can be part of the action. In the interest of trying to help with increased transparency, I thought I would start doing a short segment focusing on one part of the Bar. In this edition, let’s get to know the Office of Counsel.

The Office of Counsel (“OOC”) is the legal department of the North Carolina State Bar. It consists of disciplinary staff, authorized practice staff, the investigations department, the Attorney/Client Assistance Program (ACAP) staff, and the trust account compliance program. The OOC reports to the Grievance Committee upon all grievance files opened by the State Bar involving allegations of professional misconduct by North Carolina lawyers. It investigates and tries claims of professional misconduct and disability. The OOC assists the Authorized Practice Committee by investigating and reporting upon complaints concerning the unauthorized practice of law, including representing the State Bar in lawsuits to obtain injunctions prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law. It provides legal counsel to the Client Security Fund Board of Directors and pursues subrogation actions for recovery of funds paid by the CSF. It coordinates the appointment of trustees to wind down the practices of deceased, disabled, and disbarred lawyers and obtains court orders to disburse funds in the trust accounts of disbarred and suspended lawyers. The OOC represents the State Bar in litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts and provides legal opinions on issues of interest to all departments, committees, and boards of the State Bar.

The ACAP staff helps members of the public resolve problems with lawyers other than matters involving potentially serious violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The ACAP staff also provides information about the grievance process, the courts and the justice system, and helps resolve fee disputes between lawyers and their clients.

The OOC includes sixteen lawyers, one of whom serves as trust account compliance counsel, one administrator, ten investigators, one random auditor, eight paralegals, four administrative assistants,one investigative assistant, two investigative clerks, the ACAP director, who is also a fee dispute resolution facilitator, a second fee dispute resolution facilitator, and two public liaisons. After this brief introduction, if you have questions about the OOC, please let me know and I will try to get you the answer.

If you need any ethics CLE, I will be doing a one-hour CLE presentation created by the NCSB on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. It covers the basic workings of the State Bar. Just FYI, it is the same one given last year when the Supreme Court came to town.

Lastly, I would like to let you know how much I appreciate your reelection of me to represent you in this office. I hope to be of use to our Bar, and welcome any ideas you may have how I can improve . For this year, I have been assigned to the following committees: Communications, Distinguished Service Award, Executive, Legislative, and Grievance (Vice Chair, subcommittee II). Please let me know if there is any way I can be of help to you in State Bar related matters, or if you have any questions, concerns, or criticisms. My cell is (828) 707-4249, and my email is Hamrick@gtalaw.net.

Sincerely,
Anna R. Hamrick

Continuing Legal Education Seminars in 2019

Need CLE? We’re here to help!

January 17, 2019 — Creating a Litigation Advantage Through Proper Discovery
3 hours general credit for $75
Presenters: Katherine Langley, David Wilkerson & Mark Kurdys
Location: Van Winkle Law Firm, Market Street, Asheville
Sign up here.

January 25, 2019 — Family Law From the Trenches
4 hours general credit for $75
Presenters: Jim Siemens, Janet Amburgey, Jason Gast, Marion Parsons, Sara Player
Location: Van Winkle Law Firm, Market Street, Asheville
Sign up here.

February 13, 2019 — Stories of Renewal & Recovery
One hour of mental health/substance abuse credit for $25
Presenter: Brandon Shelton of Ogletree Deakins Law Firm in Charlotte
Location: Hilton Garden Inn, College Street, Asheville
Sign up here.

February 22, 2019 — Topics in Landlord-Tenant & Consumer Law
Three hours general credit for $75 or free for MAVL volunteers
Presenters: Parker Smith, Ben Many, Molly Maynard
Location: First Presbyterian Church, Church Street, Asheville
Sign up here.

February 22, 2019 — A Lawyer’s Guide to the NC State Bar
One hour ethics credit for $25
Presenter: State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick
Location: First Presbyterian Church, Church Street, Asheville
Sign up here.