Dear Friends and Colleagues –
I hope you are well! The NCSB recently held its October quarterly meeting. As per the new procedure, you will receive a full summary of the results of the meeting directly from the Bar. However, I wanted to pass along some highlights.
To begin, we have a new slate of officers. They are :
Darrin D. Jordan – President, Salisbury, NC (Darrin practices criminal law)
Marcia Armstrong – President-Elect, Smithfield, NC (Marcia practices family law)
Todd Brown – Vice-President, Charlotte, NC (Todd practices complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution)
Barbara R. Christy – Past-President, Greensboro, NC (Barbara practices commercial real estate law).
Alice Neece Mine – Secretary/Treasurer, Raleigh, NC (our wonderful Executive Director)
Some of the big news out of the October meeting of the Council (apart from the new officers) is the completion of the two studies, one on compensation for court-appointed private counsel and the other on secured leave. Both reports have the potential to impact lawyers in very positive ways and in ways that will help with lawyer wellbeing and, as a consequence, help the public by improving the fitness and competency of practicing attorneys. Although the implementation of the conclusions and recommendations in the reports will be up to other government agencies or branches of government, the value of the studies cannot be underestimated.
The news out of the Regulatory Change Subcommittee continues to be interesting. At the July meeting, upon the recommendation of the subcommittee, the Executive Committee authorized the officers to appoint an ad hoc committee to study the creation of a paraprofessional license that would permit the licensee to engage in limited practice in areas where there is a serious access to justice problem (as demonstrated by the Equal Access to Justice Commission’s Civil Legal Needs Assessment Report (2021)). The ad hoc committee will be appointed soon.
In internet news, our State Bar has a podcast entitled BarTalk. There are now eight episodes. The most recent one, hosted by Peter Bolac (Assistant Executive Director and Legislative Liaison) and Brian Oten (Ethics Counsel) is a recap of the October meeting, and can be found at: https://bit.ly/2ZosFYa.
In award news, I would like to solicit nominees from our local bar for the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award. I sit on this committee, and would love to see some lawyers from our area. The last recipient from our Bar was Howard Gum, in 2016. This award honors current and retired members of the North Carolina State Bar throughout the state who have demonstrated exemplary service to the legal profession. Members of the Bar are encouraged to nominate colleagues who have demonstrated outstanding service to the profession. The award criteria are as follows:
Cultivating knowledge of the law beyond its use for clients, employing that knowledge in reform of the law, and working to strengthen legal education.
Furthering the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system.
Devoting professional time and resources and providing civic leadership to ensure equal access to our system of justice for all those who, because of economic or social barriers, cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel.
Aiding the legal profession by helping the bar regulate itself in the public interest and by seeking to improve the administration of justice and the quality of services rendered by the legal profession.
Providing professional services at no fee or a reduced fee to persons of limited means or to public service or charitable groups or organizations, by service in activities for improving the law, society, the legal system or the legal profession, and providing financial support for organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.
Treating opposing counsel with courtesy and respect; encouraging and counseling peers by providing advice and mentoring; and fostering civility among members of the bar.
Promoting diversity and diverse participation within the legal profession.
Please consider if there is anyone you know who would be a good candidate for this award. Again, it would be wonderful to have a local recipient. Here is a list of past recipients:
Lastly, my second term is coming to an end this year. I am eligible for one final three-year term. I would be honored if you would consider allowing me to serve in this capacity one more time. I have learned a great deal about our Bars (both the local and the statewide) over the past six years, and hope that I have been able to put that knowledge to the use of each and every one of you in some way. This experience has been very rewarding to me personally, but that means nothing if I have not been of help to you.
Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, criticisms, or just want to discuss the working of the NCSB and what the local bar councilor does. I believe you will hear in the near future from our local bar about the time and place of an election.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent our bar in Raleigh for these past six years.
Sincerely, Anna Hamrick