August, 2020 Update from State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Fellow Members of the Buncombe County Bar –

I hope everyone is well. The North Carolina State Bar Council held its Quarterly Meeting last week via Zoom. It was our second Quarterly Meeting held via Zoom, and all committees were able to meet. I would like to share with you some of its highlights. You will get a more detailed report later directly from the Bar.

1. The Ethics Committee approved publication for comment of an amendment to the preamble to the Rules of Professional Conduct that identifies the avoidance of discriminatory conduct as a fundamental value of the profession.

Below is the proposed language. Your opinion matters, and so please consider sending your comments to: ethics@ncbar.gov.

Proposed Amendment to the Preamble of the Rules of Professional Conduct

July 23, 2020

Purpose: To identify the avoidance of discriminatory conduct while employed or engaged in a professional capacity as a fundamental value of the profession.

27 N.C.A.C. Chapter 2, Rules of Professional Conduct

0.1 Preamble: A Lawyer’s Responsibilities

[1] ….

[6] While employed or engaged in a professional capacity, a lawyer should not discriminate on the basis of a person’s race, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or socioeconomic status. This responsibility of non-discrimination does not limit a lawyer’s right to advocate on any issue, nor does this responsibility limit the prerogative of a lawyer to accept, decline, or withdraw from a representation in accordance with these rules.

[7] [6] ….

[re-numbering remaining paragraphs]

2. The Ethics Committee will establish a subcommittee to study ABA Model Rule 8.4(g), which specifies that discriminatory conduct while acting as a lawyer is professional misconduct. The subcommittee will also study whether the comment to Rule 1.1, Competency, should state that knowledge and understanding of implicit bias is a component of competency.

3. The Council approved publication for comment of amendments to the advertising rules in the Rules of Professional Conduct. The proposed amendments substantially modernize the advertising rules, including the elimination of a number of regulations.

4. The Council approved for publication amendments to Rule 1.5, Fees, that will specifically prohibit charging a client for responding to allegations of professional misconduct from a disciplinary authority.

5. The Council approved to send to the NC Supreme Court: comprehensive revisions to the rules for prepaid legal service plans.

6. The Council approved to send to the NC Supreme Court: amendments that delay the imposition of the late fee for delinquent dues until August 31 (we are already acting in accordance with the rule amendment).

7. The Council approved the designation of the NCBA’s Transitioning Lawyers Commission as a lawyer’s assistance program under Rule 1.6, Confidentiality.

8. PMBR and Cybersecurity Committees will work together to create a self-assessment on cybersecurity for law firms.

9. The Issues Committee–through 3 subcommittees–is continuing its work on (1) study of regulatory changes in other jurisdictions; (2) compensation for lawyers who are court appointed to represent indigent defendants; and (3) proportional discovery.

In past emails to the Buncombe County Bar I have discussed different parts of the NCSB to try and assist with Bar transparency. I thought I would focus a bit on what occurs during the Quarterly Meetings in this email. The Council meets in committees four times per year. The Fall, Winter and Spring meetings occur in Raleigh (unless we are Zooming) and the Summer meeting usually occurs in a different NC city (chosen several years in advance).

The following are the Committees of the NCSB:

  • Administrative
  • Appointments
  • Authorized Practice
  • Communications
  • Distinguished Service
  • Publications
  • Executive
  • Finance and Audit
  • Ethics
  • Grievance
  • Issues
  • Legislative
  • LAMP
  • Nominating

The following are Special Committees:

  • Courthouse Access
  • Proactive Management Based Regulation
  • Cyber Security
  • Committee to Study ABA Rules Amendments to the Model Rules on Advertising

Each Councilor is assigned to several committees. I am currently assigned to Communication, Distinguished Service, Executive, Grievance (Vice Chair of Subcommittee 2), and Legislative.

At the end of the week, the entire Council meets together to vote on various issues and hear from speakers. This is livestreamed if you would like to watch it on the NC State Bar Youtube Channel. Our last meeting agenda is reproduced below so you can see what goes on:


MEETING OF THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR COUNCIL

8:30 a.m., Friday, July 24, 2020

President C. Colon Willoughby, Presiding

Acknowledgement of Recent Correspondence from the Ethics Commission

INVOCATION

REMARKS OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE TO THE STATE BAR IN GENERAL SESSION –

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley

REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE NORTH CAROLINA BAR ASSOCIATION – C. Mark Holt

RECOGNITION OF NEW COUNCILOR/PUBLIC MEMBER – Patti Head, Littleton

ADOPTION OF A RESOLUTION OF APPRECIATION FOR ROOT EDMONSON

TENDER OF SURRENDER OF LICENSE OF DANIEL MATHIAS KINCHELOE – Katherine E. Jean

TENDER OF SURRENDER OF LICENSE OF JOHN VINCENT IVSAN CASE – Pat Murphy

COMMITTEE REPORTS

EXECUTIVE – C. Colon Willoughby, Chair

ADMINISTRATIVE – C. Everett Thompson, III, Chair

AUTHORIZED PRACTICE – Kevin G. Williams, Chair

COMMUNICATIONS –Heidi C. Bloom, Chair

ETHICS – David N. Allen, Chair

GRIEVANCE – A. Todd Brown, Chair

ISSUES – Darrin D. Jordan, Chair

LAMP – C. Branson Vickory, Chair

LEGISLATIVE – John S. Willardson, Chair

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE – Charles R. Hardee, Chair

NOMINATING – John M. Silverstein, Chair

ADJOURN


The Quarterly Meetings are the main ways the Bar accomplishes its business, although there can be meetings outside of the Quarterly ones as well. If you have any questions about these, please let me know.

I would like to encourage members of our Bar to consider nominating a member they think might be a good candidate for the Distinguished Service Award. I mentioned the criteria in a recent email, and you can learn more about it on the NCSB website. It would be great to have someone from WNC.

In addition, the Council has Advisory members which can be a way to become involved in Bar activity. I first participated with the Bar Council when Bonnie Weyher was President in 2009. I emailed her expressing my interest in learning more, and she assisted me in finding a place on the Publications Committee as an advisory member. If you have any interest, please let me know and we will see what might be available now, and if there not a position currently, we can talk about something for the future.

Thank you – Take care, Anna

Anna R. Hamrick
Attorney
NC Board Certified Specialist – Workers’ Compensation
Grimes Teich Anderson LLP
D: (828) 575-1344P: (828) 251-0800F: (828) 236-9200
535 College St.
Asheville, NC 28801