NCAJ Members Protect the Citizens of North Carolina: October 2018 edition

robby jessup  by Robby Jessup

NCAJ attorneys & other NCAJ legal professionals protect the citizens of North Carolina who have been harmed. For a snapshot of their work, read NCAJ’s October 2018 Verdicts, Settlements and Dispositions column, linked below.

Congratulations to all attorneys highlighted in the column:   Robert Elliot and Michael Elliot of Elliot Morgan ParsonageJustin Lowenberger of Ted A. Greve & Associates, Assistant Capital Defender Stephen Freedman, William Durham of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, Sidney Fligel and Preston Lesley of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, Assistant Appellate Defenders Barbara Blackman, John Carella and Kathy VandenBerg, Paul Tharp of Arnold & Smith, PLLC; Assistant Public Defender Richard Miller; Tabitha Bingham of Bingham Law PLLC, and Stuart Paynter, Sara Willingham, Jennifer Murray and Celeste Boyd of the Paynter Law Firm.

Click to read full article

 

 

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NC Pro Bono Resource Center: Helping You Overcome Hurdles to Pro Bono Work

sylvia
Sylvia Novinksy, Director     
Leigh-BW
B. Leigh Wicclair, Pro Bono Program Manager  

One of the ways NCAJ members serve NCAJ’s mission of protecting people’s rights is through their commitment to pro bono work. This past spring, over 20 NCAJ members were recognized by the North Carolina Supreme Court for having reported over 50 hours of pro bono legal services work in 2017. We are so proud of, and grateful for, these NCAJ members’ pro bono participation!

When we talk to attorneys across the state, we consistently hear that attorneys want to do pro bono work and deeply value the service element of our profession. In fact, most of the attorneys we speak with chose to become lawyers in order to “make a difference” in the world. However, given the demands that accompany our profession, it not always easy to do pro bono work.  Common barriers to pro bono include an inability to find pro bono projects, feeling overworked and unable to commit the time necessary to do pro bono, and feeling unequipped to handle a pro bono project outside of one’s regular practice area.

We are here to help you overcome these hurdles!

Launched in 2016 by the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission, the NC Pro Bono Resource Center is a statewide pro bono resource center ready to help YOU with your goals to increase pro bono work. The NC Pro Bono Resource Center serves as a clearinghouse for pro bono projects, provides trainings and CLEs to assist attorney volunteers and nonprofit service providers, and recruits and connects volunteers directly to projects. We also work with our legal and community partners to create impactful pro bono clinics and other pro bono projects which directly serve North Carolinians who would not otherwise have representation.

Let us help you find pro bono projects in your community, in your area of expertise, and that fit into your schedule! We can also help you become trained in a new area of law so that you can confidently assist pro bono clients and, perhaps, expand your practice area.

Visit ncprobono.org to learn more about available pro bono opportunities, including:

Triangle Area
NC Justice Center Driver’s License Restoration Project

Mecklenburg Co Area 
Custody Advocacy Program

Western NC
Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyer (MAVL) Project is administered by Pisgah Legal Services

 Anywhere in NC
Catholic Legal Immigration Network’s BIA Pro Bono Appeals Project

Don’t forget that voluntary pro bono reporting from the previous year occurs from January 1- March 31. Keep track of your hours throughout the year and log them during this time at ncprobono.org/volunteer/reporting/.

 

*Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 encourages each NC attorney to provide 50 hours of pro bono legal services each year to those unable to afford them without expectation of a fee.

Sponsors & Exhibitors at Upcoming NCAJ CLE!

Be sure to stop by and visit with our sponsors and exhibitors at NCAJ CLE this September!  They provide valuable resources for members.

September 7 –  Family Law Specialization Exam Review Seminar
Breakfast Sponsor:  Sawyer Consulting LLC
Lunch Sponsor: Smart Start
Exhibitor: Carolina Case Management


September 21 – Quirky Issues in Workers’ Compensation Seminar

Breakfast Sponsor:  Robson Forensic
Lunch Sponsor:  Your Legal Nurse Consultants and Ametros Financial
Exhibitor: Sawyer Consulting LLC

Specialized Lawyer Directories: Get Listed and Get Found

cloninger.brian  by R. Brian Cloninger

 

Today’s post covers improvements that have been made to the NCAJ Specialized Directories.

I always ask clients how they got my name. By far the most frequent answer is they found me online doing a Google search. Until recently, none of my clients found me using the NCAJ Traffic Referral List. Why are they able to find me (and other lawyers listed in the Specialized Directories) now? Keep reading for the answer, to learn why you should update your profile, and why you should get added to the directories, if eligible.

A week or so after NCAJ’s Annual Convention, I contacted Membership and Development Director Amy Smith to suggest changes to our membership profiles and the referral directories that would add a marketing benefit for NCAJ membership. She sent me a recent Trial Smith (aka MemberCentral) post entitled, “We’ve Enhanced SEO with Store, SeminarWeb, Events, and Blog Posts.” The single sentence post read: “New HTML Title Tags are now automatically inserted into pages making Store Items, SeminarWeb Programs, Events and Blog Posts not only more browser friendly for end-users, but also more search engine friendly, including more accurately titled search results in search engines.”

After I looked up the meaning of “SEO” and “HTML,” I started messing around on the NCAJ website and doing some Google searches. The improvements I suggested had already been made without me realizing it. I found myself.

Many of us have used the listserves to request referrals rather than using the NCAJ Specialized Directories. Now, we don’t have to use the listserve for that anymore. Even better, the public can now find NCAJ members easier using the directories or by simply doing a Google search.

All NCAJ members are listed in the Membership Directory. There is also a Bilingual Referral Directory (ncaj.com/bilingual). Listing in other Specialized Directories is only available to members of the Section. For example, listing in the Traffic Referral Directory (ncaj.com/traffic) is a benefit of membership in the Criminal Defense Section. These directories are accessible to NCAJ members and to the public. You must be a member of NCAJ to access the Products Liability and Construction Defects Section Directory (ncaj.com/products), and must be a member of the Section to be listed.

Update your profile (ncaj.com/updateprofile) to get added to the Specialized Directories, and get found!

 

 

NCAJ Members Protect North Carolinians Many Different Ways

robby jessup  by Robby Jessup

 

NCAJ attorneys and other NCAJ legal professionals offer relief and protection to citizens who have been harmed.

For example, NCAJ’s July Trial Briefs magazine’s Verdicts, Settlements and Dispositions Column describes a dog bite case win;  a win pertaining to the constitutional rights of public employees; a verdict for an elderly couple’s mental anguish against a home healthcare company; an appellate victory for workers’ compensation claimants; a second-degree verdict for a client facing first degree murder (Life Without Parole); a jury verdict for compensatory damages for the negligent handling of human remains; a settlement for a wrongful death of a motorcyclist and other auto accident verdicts.

Congratulations to all attorneys highlighted in the column:  Alex Woodyard of the Law Offices of William K. Goldfarb; Luke Largess and Cheyenne Chambers of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, PLLC; Jeremy Wilson of Ward & Smith, P.A.; Wade Byrd of the Law Offices of Wade E. Byrd, P.A; Bradley Smith of Campbell & Associates; Charles Hinnant and Dr. Ted Greve of Ted A. Greve & Associates; Assistant Public Defenders Matthew Geoffrion and Taplie Coile; James Rogers of James E Rogers, PA; and Robby Jessup and Joan Davis of Howard Stallings Law Firm.

Click image below to read full article

verdicts settlement dispositions column july 2018_Page_1

 

NCAJ to Host Mountain Magic 2018 from Oct 18 to Oct 21 in Asheville, NC

NCAJ’s annual fall conference in Asheville, NC will again be held at the beautiful Omni Grove Park Inn.   The conference is one of NCAJ’s most anticipated events featuring nationally recognized speakers and attendees from across the state!

Take advantage of NCAJ’s group rate of $355/night by calling the Omni Grove Park Inn at 1-800-438-5800 or click here to reserve your room online.

Program chairs Jon Moore of Brown Moore & Associates in Charlotte and Valerie Pearce, IDS Regional Defender in Durham are leading NCAJ in finalizing all other details surrounding the conference’s terrific professional development programming and networking opportunities.  Sneak peek below!!  Please check back at ncaj.com/mountainmagic  for complete event details soon.

Interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at this popular event?  Contact Membership and Development Director Amy Smith  at amy@ncaj.com.

SNEAK PEEK PREVIEW :

THURSDAY, October 18

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm          Welcome to Mountain Magic @ Lexington Avenue Brewery – Sponsored by FindLaw, a Thompson Reuters business     Complimentary for Mountain Magic attendees, Fall Conference for Paralegals attendees and Asheville area legal professionals.

FRIDAY, October 19

8:45 am – 9:00 am           Welcoming Remarks – Mountain Magic Co-Chairs
                                                Jon Moore,
Brown Moore & Associates, Charlotte
                                                Valerie Pearce, IDS Regional Defender, Durham

8:55 am – 4:45 pm           Fall Conference for Paralegals

 9:00 am – 12:15 pm        GENERAL SESSION (for Civil and Criminal Practitioners)

Featured Speaker –Theodore J. Leopold, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

“Do’s and Don’ts at the Court of Appeals”
Featured Speakers – Judge Mark A. Davis,
NC Court of Appeals, Raleigh and Judge Donna S. Stroud, NC Court of Appeals, Raleigh

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm        Mountain Magic Luncheon and Presentation  – Sponsored by Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Co. of North Carolina

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm          Sunset Social at the Omni Grove Park Inn & Spa – Sponsored by Robson Forensic   Catch up with old friends and make new friends before dinner in Asheville. Includes light hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the Vanderbilt Terrace

SATURDAY, October 20

9:00 am – 12:15 pm        GENERAL SESSION (for Civil and Criminal Practitioners)
“Leaders of Tomorrow – Moving Juries and Other Gatherings of People to Greatness”
Featured Speaker – Mel C. Orchard, III,
The Spence Law Firm, LLC, Jackson, WY

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm          Substance Abuse Hour

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm          Saturday Night Party at Smoky Park Supper Club – Sponsored by Milner Plaintiff Service/Millennium Settlements  Join us along the majestic French Broad River for dinner, dancing and fun! We will have a fantastic band providing live music during dinner. This is always one of the highlights of Mountain Magic and a great way to spend time with friends from near and far one last time, before heading home!   This is a family-friendly event, complimentary for Mountain Magic attendees and guest.

Saturday Night Party Band – Sponsored by Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, Attorneys at Law

SUNDAY, October 21

8:30 am – 12:30 pm        NCAJ Board of Governors Meeting

Part 2: The Educators

by Bradley Bannon, NCAJ President

By now, even if you haven’t seen it, it’s hard to imagine you haven’t at least heard of the movie “Black Panther.” In four months this year, it became the ninth highest grossing movie of all time. The fact that it’s a superhero movie was unremarkable. The fact that the superhero was an African man, whose three strongest and closest allies in the movie were all African women, each with different areas of skill and expertise, was unprecedented.

“Half the battle is getting that kind of imagery made,” Rafe Chisolm told SF Gate. “Lots of kids never see anyone who looks like them in that kind of light.” Chisolm made sure that lots of them did, by organizing screenings for them in their home town of Oakland, California—a key location in the plot of the movie.

I’d learned a similar lesson about imagery while working with Karonnie Truzy and Sarah Olson in their roles as Co-Chairs of NCAJ’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (DITF).

Karonnie, who also serves as the organization’s inaugural Diversity Officer and is receiving an Ebbie Award this year for his years of service to the NCAJ and its mission, told me about how he had to be contacted several times about becoming more involved in the organization before he finally agreed. Why the initial reluctance? Because he hadn’t really seen anyone else who looked like him in leadership, or behind the podium at the front of the rooms where most of our members regularly convene: our CLEs.

Sarah, who also serves as the Criminal Defense Section Chair this year and previously received an Ebbie herself, spoke more bluntly about the impact of imagery at that podium: “When you are a woman, and you attend CLEs where every single faculty member is a man, it raises real concerns about the role of women in the organization and how women are viewed by the organization.”

This makes perfect sense. It’s not as if our profession is devoid of women and people of color who are highly qualified to teach our CLE programs. So when you don’t see them at the podium, and when you are one of them, you may quite naturally wonder whether there’s much of a role for you in the organization and its CLE programming, beyond paying for admission of course. And the more you’re made to wonder that, the more likely you are to seek other professional communities and programs where you feel more welcome.

In recent years, NCAJ leadership has recognized shifting sands in our population, profession, and organization. In 2015-2016, NCAJ President Chris Nichols highlighted the need to attract Millennials, who by that time had already surpassed Baby Boomers in the workforce. In 2016-2017, President Bill Powers recognized the need to focus more intentionally on diversity in our membership and leadership. This year, I have built on both of those initiatives by developing a more formal organizational framework to connect with the state’s law schools and students.

NCAJ’s effort to reach Millennials and tap into the law school pipeline is no more designed to exclude or devalue our members of other generations (like me) than its effort to strengthen diversity and see more women and people of color behind CLE podiums is designed to exclude or devalue members of any other categorical group (like me). Quite the contrary, it’s all designed to recognize an undeniable truth: there is strength in numbers.

The pragmatic side of that truth is that NCAJ must expand and cultivate a broad membership base to survive and successfully pursue our mission in an evolving profession. The aspirational side of that truth is what we recognized when we adopted our Diversity Statement last year. And both sides are served by putting people behind the podium in our CLEs who are not only qualified, but reflect all members of our profession and organization.

That is why, after publication for comment, the Board of Governors adopted a Diversity Plan last fall that included an initial goal of developing and implementing a Speaker Diversity Program. Working with DITF membership and leadership, as well as Education Committee members and Vice President Meghann Burke, NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch and Education Director Alex Rogers developed an infrastructure of member tools and staff support to assist CLE planners in achieving more speaker diversity.

We now have a Speaker Diversity Database, and our staff will be working with members to build that database over the months and years to come into a powerful resource for helping program planners identify qualified presenters. We have created a checklist for planners, highlighting the speaker diversity goal. We have begun to collect and analyze data on a quarterly basis about the extent to which we achieve the goal and the factors involved in that success. We are working more closely with Section and Division Chairs to identify speakers at the Section levels. Membership Vice President Sonya Pfeiffer has been working with Membership and Development Director Amy Page Smith to establish and renew our connections to affiliate organizations and affinity bars.

These institutionalized efforts are long overdue. NCAJ did not suddenly begin to value the worth and dignity of all of our clients and members when we adopted the Diversity Statement and crafted the Diversity Plan last year. We just became more intentional about weaving that valuation into the fabric of our entire organization. In terms of institutionalizing the efforts, we are either shoulder-to-shoulder with or trailing other professional organizations. This point was brought home to me in March, when, in my capacity as NCAJ President, I accepted an invitation from Dayatra Matthews, the first African-American female President of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, to attend NCADA’s first day-long program focused on identifying and addressing white privilege and implicit bias, two loaded terms I wrote about coming to terms with myself in this space last week. Fortunately, nothing but good can come from our institutionalized efforts, and everything about them is who we are and need to be.

Specifically regarding the Speaker Diversity Program, we have recognized the reality that the educators at our CLE programs are not just teaching attendees about the substance of their presentations, but about the substance of who we are and who we value as an organization. Because #WeAreNCAJ, we value everyone who shares our mission—from our clients, to our members, to our leaders, to our educators. Since that’s the substance of who we are, it should certainly be the imagery we project.

And, of course, #WakandaForever.