Update From State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Friends and Colleagues –

I hope you are well.  The Bar Council met July 19-22 in Wilmington.  Here are some pertinent updates from the meeting:

  1. Regarding the CLE Board’s Proposes Sweeping Changes to CLE Rules – There is now some mention of allowing a carryover of 6 hours.  I think they should allow for 12 hours to carryover.  However, I am but one voice.  The Bar will be re-publishing the CLE Rules along with another article in the next Journal, so comments can be received throughout this quarter.  The Bar will also be sending out a video and a podcast via email in August, and Peter Bolac will be doing a YouTube Live Q&A as well (time and date TBD).  If you have thoughts, I strongly encourage you to email them in comment form to:  Pbolac@ncbar.gov and ethicscomments@ncbar.gov.  The Bar would like to get them from you by October 1, if possible.
  2. There is a new administrative level to the Grievance procedure.  This came out of the General Assembly, and we can all do the math on why, but long story short, if you get a grievance with which you disagree, you can now have a reconsideration hearing before heading to DHC.  The rules on how that will work are not final (even though the law is, and so we are now going to be doing it very soon).  Essentially, you can have a hearing before a panel (whom is on the panel is TBD) and your lawyer can argue why the penalty issued is wrong.  One caveat – if you appeal, the panel is free to give you a worse penalty than the Grievance Committee did.
  3. Every six years the Bar does a recalculation of the allotment of councilors to determine how the at-large councilors get distributed amongst the districts.  The calculation is based on population.   The latest numbers mean Forsyth will lose its at-large councilor as part of the new reapportionment to Mecklenburg.  The at-large councilor breakdown as January 1, 2023 will be as follows:
  • Wake – 7 at large (8 total)
  • Mecklenburg – 7 at large (8 total), increase of 1 councilor
  • Durham – 1 at large (2 total)
  • Guilford – 1 at large (2 total)
  • Forsyth – 0 at large (1 total), decrease of 1 councilor

If trends continue, there’s a chance that Durham and/or Guilford could lose their at-large seat in 6 years.  If you are wondering , increasing the number of at-large councilors or capping a district’s at-large councilors would require a statutory change.

In other NCSB news:

  1. Grievance Committee:  As of July 13, 1,544 grievances were pending. One hundred ninety-one grievances were stayed.  Thirty-five pending files were in the judicial district grievance committees or had been returned by the district grievance committees within the past 30 days. The OOC had made its recommendation in 239 of the pending cases and the cases were ready for the Grievance Committee’s decision. Of the remaining 1,079 files in which no recommendation has yet been made, 216 were more than six months old. In the second quarter of 2022, 148 files were dismissed by the Grievance chair or by the Grievance chair and a vice chair.
  2. Ethics Committee:
    A. The Ethics Committee introduced the following FEO to be adopted by Council:

Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 2  – Limited Representation in a Criminal Matter

Proposed opinion rules that a privately retained lawyer may provide limited representation to a criminal defendant who has been appointed counsel if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances.

Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 3 – Inclusion on Allied Professional’s List of Recommended Lawyers

Proposed opinion rules that a lawyer may be included in an allied professional’s list of recommended lawyers provided that the professional does not disseminate the lawyer’s name and information in a manner that is prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct.

B. The Ethics Committee proposed the following Formal Ethics Opinions for Publication:

Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 5 – Client Paying Public Adjuster/Witness a Contingency Fee

Proposed opinion rules that a lawyer may call as an expert witness a public adjuster who will collect a statutorily authorized contingency fee paid by the client.

The next meeting will take place in October.  Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or criticisms.  I will do my best to help.

Take care,