Welcoming 2020 | NCAJ Five Year Strategic Plan Approved

On Dec. 16, your NCAJ Board of Governors approved a comprehensive strategic plan to guide the organization over the next five years.

I am grateful to the leadership for setting a course that will modernize and sustain this organization for the future. I want to thank the members of the Strategic Planning Committee for their commitment and dedication to the development of this plan and for their continued oversight of the plan in 2020. I also want to thank Mary Moss and Kim Glenn from moss + ross for their professional guidance and assistance in developing NCAJ’s strategic plan.

In early 2020, I will work with the NCAJ staff to begin addressing and implementing the plan’s action steps. With this strategic plan, NCAJ will be focused on mission, beliefs and goals that will allow this organization to continue protecting people, preventing injustice and promoting fairness.

Learn more about the NCAJ strategic plan for 2020-2025 and its highlights.

Thank you for your continued support of NCAJ.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Crouch
Executive Director

Inaugural NCAJ Conference To Feature NC Judiciary Leaders and National Diversity & Inclusion Experts

MEDIA ADVISORY

Sept. 19, 2019

CARYNorth Car­­olina Advocates for Justice will welcome nationally known experts and three members of North Carolina’s judiciary at its inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Conference for attorneys on Friday, Sept. 20 at One Eleven Place in Cary.

North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Anita S. Earls, North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda M. McGee and Judge Ashleigh Parker Dunston of the Tenth Judicial District will participate in a judicial panel discussion on the importance of diversity in the legal profession and the judiciary. Lisa Coleman, Chief Diversity Officer for New York University, will deliver the keynote address, and Sybil Dunlop, of Green Espel PLLP in Minneapolis, will speak on implicit bias and diversity. See schedule below.

SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY, SEPT. 20

  • 1 p.m. Welcoming Remarks and NCAJ Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report: Kim Crouch, Executive Director, North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • 1:15 p.m. Keynote: Lisa Coleman, Ph.D. Chief Diversity Officer, New York University
  • 2:15 p.m. Judicial Panel Discussion with N.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anita S. Earls, N.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda M. McGee, Judge Ashleigh Parker Dunston, Tenth Judicial District
  • 3:30 p.m. Implicit Bias and Diversity: Sybil Dunlop, Green Espel PLLP, Minneapolis, MN

Media Contact

Amber Nimocks
amber@ncaj.com
(910) 547-0457

About NCAJ A nonpartisan association of legal professionals dedicated to protecting people’s rights, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice provides continuing legal education aimed at enhancing the quality of the legal profession, works to improve access to the legal system, and advocates at the state legislature in the areas of criminal and civil justice.

NC Advocates for Justice Members Applaud Changes To Parental Leave Rules

Supreme Court Amends Secure Leave Policy At Urging of NCAJ, Women’s Caucus and Partners

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Advocates for Justice offers its congratulations and thanks to the N.C. Supreme Court for its decision to make parental leave available for attorneys practicing in state courts. Chief Justice Beasley announced the rules changes at a press conference in Raleigh today. Kim Crouch, executive director of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, spoke following Beasley’s announcement. 

“We are happy and encouraged by the Court’s decision to amend this rule,” Crouch said. “It will advance the well-being of attorneys and their families during one of the most significant stages of family life. In turn, clients will be provided better representation. It is a positive step forward and a necessary change for all members of the North Carolina State Bar who wish to remain active in the practice of law.”   

The Supreme Court amended Rule 26 of the General Rules of Practice and Rule 33.1 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure during its conference on Sept. 4. The amended rule makes it possible for North Carolina attorneys to designate up to 12 weeks without court appearances within the first six months after a child is born or adopted.

Members of the NCAJ, its Women’s Caucus and other supporting legal professional groups proposed the Secure Leave Initiative to the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism in February. The previously existing rule, which guaranteed attorneys just three weeks of secure leave per year, meant that parents with newborns or newly adopted children could be called to appear in court within a few weeks or even days after the birth or adoption. The NCAJ and its partner organizations argued that this did not allow enough time for parents and children to recover and bond, harming the child, the lawyer, and the lawyer’s family and clients.

NCAJ members, leaders and staff at the February 2019 meeting of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. From left to right: NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch, Anna Kalarites, Melissa Abrams, Sarah Olson, Manisha Patel, Sarah Jessica Farber, Mary Pollard, Kristi Thompson, Helen Baddour, Burton Craige, Jennifer Watson Marsh, NC Association of Defense Attorneys Executive Director Lynette Pitt, NCAJ Director of Sections, Divisions and Caucuses Andrea Rutherford.

NCAJ President Vernon Sumwalt joined Crouch in congratulating the Supreme Court on its decision.

“For lawyers who are parents, access to the parental leave they need to bond with their newborns and newly adopted children goes a long way to support the goal of making the legal profession a sustainable, long-term career path,” he said. “This  policy also puts the opportunity to become a trial lawyer – or to continue a career as a trial lawyer – within the reach of a greater number of attorneys.”

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley joins members of the NCAJ Women’s Caucus and their families, NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch and NC AOC Interim Executive Director McKinley Wooten for today’s announcement.

In addition to extended parental leave, the new rule urges those in charge of court schedules to bear in mind the uncertainty that can surround a child’s birth or adoption date: “The superior court or district court scheduling authority must make reasonable exception to these requirements so that an attorney may enjoy leave with the child.”

Partnering with the NCAJ and its Women’s Caucus on this issue were the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys and the N.C. Attorney General’s Office. 

WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE

The North Carolina Advocates for Justice is a nonpartisan association of legal professionals dedicated to protecting people’s rights. NCAJ provides continuing legal education aimed at enhancing the quality of the legal profession, works to improve access to the legal system, and advocates at the state legislature in the areas of criminal and civil justice. The third-largest Trial Lawyers Association (TLA) in the nation, NCAJ has served its members for over 50 years.