Update from State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Friends and Colleagues of the 28th Judicial District Bar –

I hope you are well.  The State Bar Council held the quarterly meeting last week in Raleigh, and I wanted to give you some highlights.  You will receive the more extensive report directly from the Bar in the near future.

In the Executive Committee:

  1. The big news is that Alice Mine has named Peter Bolac and Brian Oten to assume new executive positions.  Alice will take over as the executive director of the Bar upon Tom Lunsford’s retirement.  Brian will take over many of Alice’s committees, boards and commissions effective July.  Effective October 1, Peter will become Assistant Director with new management responsibilities added to his communications and legislative efforts.  I think these are both great new roles for Brian and Peter, and the Bar will be well served by them.
  2. The Communications Committee is gearing up through our subcommittees.  Specific measures are still in the works, but the goal is to increase technological advances and engagement.
  3. The Bar is pleased to promote the Supreme Court’s visit to Asheville, and the free CLE on the afternoon of May 16.

Our Ethics Committee continues to grapple with the impact of technology on the delivery of legal services.  Regulation of the Internet is a daunting task, and the Committee continues to consider the ways it can most effectively protect the public and the profession.

Issues Committee highlights include:

(1) review of Rule 5.6 (which prohibits placing limitations on the right of lawyers to practice law either in an employment contract or as part of a settlement). The consensus was that we should not do a study of that rule, that it seems to be working well.

(2) there is some exploration of a Supreme Court Museum.

The Grievance workload continues to be steady.  Two notable items are:

  1. The State Bar continues to see scams and attempted scams of wired funds by attorneys, especially in the real estate practice.  This issue has been ongoing for several years now, and discipline for attorneys who fall into the trap can be significant.
  2. President John Silverstein created an ad hoc Disciplinary Review Committee to scrutinize the process the State Bar uses to investigate and adjudicate grievance cases.  President Silverstein expects the committee to complete its work by October and to bring any recommendations for changes or improvements to the full Council at that time.

I would like to mention that if any of you have someone you may want to nominate for the Distinguish Service Award, we would love to hear from you. Suzanne Lever from the Bar has an article coming out in the next issue of the State Bar Journal detailing this award.

Just an FYI – at each quarterly meeting the State Bar publishes a list of lawyers who may have accidentally overlooked paying their State Bar dues, their local bar dues, returning their CLE form, completing their CLE hours, or paying CLE their fees. The list is distributed to the Bar councilors, and we each call the lawyers in our district to give a gentle reminder that something may be outstanding.  The goal is to get these items taken care of to avoid the Bar does having to issue a show cause or suspension.  Our Bar generally has 5-10 people I have the honor of calling.  Even though I know I may call you with annoying news, I really enjoy the opportunity to speak to those I call.  The feeling is probably not mutual.  Just one reminder – please be sure the Bar has your current contact info, as there have been persons on the list with outdated contact info, and even when I Google, I sometimes come up with nothing.  That can lead to a suspension, which the lawyer may never find out about (due to aforementioned lack of contact info) and a cascade of time-consuming bureaucratic tasks for the lawyer.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  My direct line at work is 575-1344.  Thank you, and take care!

Anna Hamrick
State Bar Councilor & Attorney

State Bar Councilor Election 2015

The term of our State Bar Councilor, Howard L. Gum, expires on December 31, 2015. Howard L. Gum has served three consecutive terms and is not eligible for reappointment. An election will be held at the Annual Meeting of the Buncombe County Bar, on June 10, 2015. The meeting will be held at The Venue, 21 N. Market Street, Asheville, from 12:30 – 2 pm.

Any member of the 28th Judicial District who desires to submit a nomination for State Bar Councilor may do so by emailing our Bar Administrator, Lisa-Gaye Hall, at admin@28thJDB.com, by June 5, 2015. Nominations may also 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. Members who are unable to attend the Annual Meeting may vote by secret ballot from noon – 1 pm at The Venue.

Two members have declared their candidacy for State Bar Councilor. The candidates submitted the following profiles:

FullSizeRender (1)BILL CHRISTY

I am thankful that I am a lawyer, and for the many opportunities that the law has given to me, including the opportunity to know so many lawyers both here and around the state. I grew up in Asheville and am a graduate of Warren Wilson College. After a brief career as a high school English teacher I attended and graduated from NCCU School of Law. I next attended and received an LLM in Taxation from the University of Florida. I practiced for a few years in Durham, and then moved to Black Mountain in 1995 and joined Dick Stone to form the firm of Stone & Christy. My practice has included tax matters, real property transactions and litigation, probate transactions and litigation, as well as working with small businesses and general litigation. I served as President of the Buncombe County Bar in 2010-11, and on the Executive committee for a few years before that; since that time I have served on the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Conference of Bar Presidents.

I have served on a number of local non-profit Boards. I am currently on the Board and serving as Secretary to the Board of Trustees of Warren Wilson
College, and am on the Board of Black Mountain Savings Bank, SSB. In addition I am involved at the District level with Rotary Youth Exchange.
I think that my many experiences, including significant experience outside of the legal realm, give me the background to understand and evaluate issues
that are critical to the legal profession, as well as the protection of the public. I promise that I will be a diligent participant, a good communicator to the local Bar, and a good listener to concerns from the local Bar. Thank you for considering my candidacy, and I ask for your vote.

anna headshot from websiteANNA HAMRICK

My name is Anna Hamrick, and I am running for State Bar Councilor for the 28th Judicial District. I seek this position as I hope to continue the excellent job our predecessors have done in contributing to the governance of the Bar. I would also like to help the Bar meet the needs of our diverse membership in these quickly changing times.

By way of background, I am a Chapel Hill native, and received my undergraduate degree from UNC and my law degree from George Washington University. My husband, Sam Snead, is an assistant capital defender. We moved to Asheville in 1996, and have two daughters, ages 12 and 14.

I have practiced law in Western North Carolina since we moved here, first in a general practice firm, and later doing residential real estate law, medical malpractice defense, and general civil litigation. Since 2002, Leah Broker and I have represented clients in Social Security and workers’ compensation matters at Broker & Hamrick, P.A.

I am also on the State Bar Publications Committee. This has allowed me to meet members of the Council, as well as learn more about the role of the State Bar. The State Bar Councilor is charged with keeping the constituents within the District Bar informed of important events relating to the administration of the State Bar; exercising good judgment in voting on issues before the Council to serve the best interests of the people of North Carolina; being aware of and to the greatest degree possible representing the views of the constituents, and helping the District Bar put into place any requirements of the Council. I believe I can faithfully execute these important tasks, and should I be elected, would always have an open door to hear questions, criticisms or comments from members of our Bar.

Seeking Nominees for State Bar Councilor

The Buncombe County Bar Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for State Bar Councilor, for a term beginning January 1, 2016. Nominations for this position are due on April 24th, 2015.

According to Buncombe County Bar State Bar Councilor Howard Gum, “The North Carolina State Bar was created in 1933 by the North Carolina General Assembly as the government agency responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in North Carolina. The State Bar currently regulates over 20,000 licensed lawyers. Protection of the public and protection of our system of justice are the objectives of regulation.

The North Carolina State Bar is governed by a 62 member council whose members are lawyers elected by the lawyers in their home communities. The public’s interests are represented by three members of the council who are not lawyers and who are appointed by the Governor and other elected officials. Four officers are elected by the members of the council to provide leadership. The daily operations of the State Bar are carried out by a staff of over 60 lawyers and non-lawyers.

The key regulatory responsibility of the State Bar is the investigation and prosecution of lawyers who violate the State Bar’s Code of Ethics for lawyers.

In addition to lawyer discipline, the State Bar’s regulatory activities include: promoting the competency of lawyers and paralegals; adopting the Code of Ethics for lawyers (known as “Rules of Professional Conduct”); counseling lawyers on how to follow the Rules; resolving disputes between lawyers and clients; preventing the practice of law by people who are not licensed; compensating clients who were the victims of lawyer theft; and advancing the administration of justice.”

An open meeting of the Nominating Committee of the Buncombe County Bar will take place on Friday, May 1, at 12:30 pm., in the Pisgah Legal Services conference room. The purpose of the meeting is to consider nominations for State Bar Councilor, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three members of the Executive Committee for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Suggestions for persons to fill these vacancies are welcome. Nominations can be mailed to the Bar Administrator, P.O. Box 7391, Asheville, NC 28802; faxed to 866-231-5177; or emailed to admin@28thJDB.com, and must be received by 5 p.m., April 24, 2015. According to the Bar’s By-Laws, any member whose name is submitted for consideration for nomination to any office must have indicated willingness to serve in such office if elected.

The election of officers for the fiscal year of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, (and for the State Bar Councilor’s term beginning January 1, 2016,) will occur at the annual meeting of the Bar on June 10, 2015. Additional nominations may be made from the floor at the meeting when the election is held.