Teamwork and Tenacity: The Story Behind the Secure Leave Initiative

Working Together, NCAJ Members Helped Change the Face of Work for NC Trial Lawyers

By Amber Nimocks

When N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced last September that the state courts had changed their family leave policy, the news pinged around the globe. State and local media outlets covered the press conference where Beasley and NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch announced the change, the ABA Journal followed the story, and legal news sites as far away as Australia took note.

The new policy extends the time new parents are guaranteed away from the trial calendar from three to 12 weeks. This means a trial lawyer who has had a child won’t be called back to the duties of the profession for at least three months, giving that mother or father the opportunity to rest, recover and form a crucial bond with their newborn.

Join members of the Womens Caucus at their Second Annual NCAJ Women’s Caucus Retreat, scheduled for March 6 at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston-Salem.

The publicity the change earned offers proof of how rarely the legal system responds to the personal needs of legal professionals. That the change was made is a testament to the leadership of North Carolina’s judiciary and to the tenacity and foresight of the NCAJ’s Women’s Caucus and the NCAJ members and partners who supported the effort.

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Best Lawyers vs. Best Lawyering: When Listening Is Better Than Having the Answer

By Vernon Sumwalt

Cal called the first week of November and asked if we could meet at Starbucks.

“Sure thing,” I said, without hesitation.

Now, you have to understand two things about Cal’s call. First, I had never been to Starbucks in my life. (No joke!) And Cal knew this. Second, Cal — which isn’t his real name, of course — doesn’t drink coffee. And I knew this. That’s how well I try to get to know my clients. Which is precisely why I responded so quickly to his call.

I had last seen Cal and his wife Allison (not her real name, either) about two years ago. It was early evening. We met in a strip mall parking lot in Charlotte. Not the most austere place to close out a case. There were people running around us, going to dinner, shopping — people being normal. In hindsight, this is all Cal and Allison wanted. Not lawyers offices. Not depositions. They didn’t want their case commemorated in a list of glorious verdicts and settlements in Lawyers Weekly or on some website. They wanted back to normal. Or as close to it as they could get. Cal’s last question in the parking lot that evening said it all: “Does it ever get easier?”

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Strategic Targeting: Find Your Ideal Client

Look for this feature in the current edition of Trial Briefs, exclusively for NCAJ members.

By Tea Hoffmann

In my coaching practice, I ask lawyers on the initial call to describe their ideal client. Most say “ones who can pay” with a chuckle. While having paying clients is important, finding the right paying clients is even more important. But how do you find the right clients for your practice? Strategic targeting is a method that has proven benefits when it comes to attracting the right clients.

Strategic targeting is a marketing method wherein you identify clients you would like to provide your services to, and those clients are also in need of someone with your experience and expertise to do work for them. These clients can fit into a certain demographic or market segment or fit into a certain business segment you find fascinating. For example, if you enjoy an eminent domain practice, you should be targeting clients who need help with a condemnation or eminent domain issue. Your website should contain resources designed for this type of client including frequently asked questions and past examples of your victories and representative matters. Video testimonials as well as written testimonials are also powerful. Credentialing yourself as a “Best Lawyer” in your specific field or “Super Lawyer” is also a great way to set yourself apart from your competition. In other words, you must get into the head of your ideal client and consider how they buy and why.

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We’ve Set NCAJ Up For Long-Term Success

By Kim Crouch

Shortly before Christmas with the holiday season in full swing, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice received a gift that members will value for years to come. On Dec. 16, 2019, the NCAJ’s Board of Governors approved a comprehensive, five-year strategic plan that sets this organization on a path toward a modern, sustainable future.

We announced the news about the plan in December, and I am already working with members and staff to put it into action. But I want to take a moment as we begin the new year to reflect on this pivotal moment for our organization. I am humbled and honored to be leading NCAJ at this time and I am confident that we will look back on the adoption of the strategic plan with a true sense of pride. We have set NCAJ up for long-term success that will allow us to continue to protect the people, fight the powerful, prevent injustice and promote fairness.

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