NCAJ Elects New Members To Board of Governors, Executive Committee

The North Carolina Advocates for Justice held its Annual Convention and Meeting on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19 virtually via Zoom.

The NCAJ’s newly elected leaders Board of Governor’s Members for its 2020-2021 fiscal year are:

Class of 2023: J.K. Moser Kristen Dewar, Darrin Jordan, J.K. Moser, Kevin Murphy, Paige Pahlke, Manisha Patel, Anabel Rosa, David Sherlin, Brad Smith, Jeremy Wilson
Class of 2022 (filling unexpired term): Mike Adkins, Rachel Matesic
Class of 2021 (filling unexpired term): Miranda Mills

Representing NCAJ at the American Association for Justice will be:
AAJ Delegate: William Goldfarb
AAJ Minority Delegate: Curtis Osborne
AAJ Revitalization Delegate: Lauren Newton

Also, the NCAJ Board of Governors approved members of the 2020-21 Executive Committee, a subset of the board. Continue reading

David Henson Accepts NCAJ Presidential Gavel From Vernon Sumwalt

David Henson, a partner in the Raleigh law firm Henson & Fuerst, P.A., accepted the president’s gavel from Vernon Sumwalt on Thursday during the Annual Convention of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, held virtually via Zoom. Henson will serve a one-year term as NCAJ president beginning July 1.

Henson will succeed Sumwalt of The Sumwalt Group in Charlotte to become NCAJ’s 46th president.

Henson received his bachelor’s degree with academic distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995 and his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1998. After passing the Bar, he joined Henson & Fuerst, a state-wide law firm representing individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries from motor vehicle accidents, workplace incidents, nursing home abuse and neglect and professional negligence.

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33 NCAJ Members Inducted Into 2019 Pro Bono Honor Society

We offer our thanks and congratulations to the 33 NCAJ members inducted into the Pro Bono Resource Center’s 2019 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society. The attorneys listed below reported completing 50 or more hours of pro bono legal services in 2019 to become members of the honor society. For more information about the society, view this article from the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.

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Join Us At Virtual Convention To Honor Leaders In the Legal Profession

The pandemic has altered our Convention plans, but it can’t deter us from honoring those who continue to lead the legal system and NCAJ through these unprecedented times.

When we meet via Zoom for Virtual Convention on Thursday, June 18, we will present awards to the following:

  • Outstanding Trial Judge Award to Judge Paul C. Ridgeway
  • Outstanding Appellate Judge Award to Chief Justice Cheri L. Beasley
  • Outstanding Legislator Award to N.C. Sen. Danny Earl Britt Jr.
  • Charles L. Becton Teaching Award to Rick Glazier

The Becton Award recognizes excellence in the teaching of trial advocacy.

  • Ebbie Award to Michael S. Adkins
  • Ebbie Award to Carmaletta L. Henson
  • Ebbie Award to Jennifer Moeller Lechner
  • Ebbie Award to Jason A. Orndoff
  • Ebbie Award to Kimberly Wilson White

The Ebbie Award is named after Ebbie Bailey, the first lady emeritus of NCAJ, who helped founding member Allen Bailey establish the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers over 50 years ago. Named in her honor, the Ebbie Award was created in 2003 to recognize service and inspired commitment to NCAJ and its mission.

Find more details about Convention 2020 on our website. Please register to join us and help us honor all our award winners.

Give Thanks For Invisible People And Remember That Trial Lawyers Can Save the World

By Vernon Sumwalt

My last President’s Column. Here it is, and here I am — for the first time ever — sipping coffee in New Orleans as I start putting my thoughts to paper. It’s a brisk dawn. Late February. Mardi Gras. My balcony hangs above Canal Street, only a block from Bourbon Street. I wonder, “How do the streets get so clean so soon after mayhem? And so early in the morning? After all that happened down there last night?”

Just a few hours before, a horde of beadseekers stumbled through the trash, beer bottles and other litter. NOLA, I decide, is a lot different from where I grew up. But they have one thing in common, at least when the sun rises: They have clean streets. “Who did this? And so fast?”

When we have a chance to pause and take a breath, we see the fingerprints of many invisible people who make the world happen while the rest of us enjoy the ride. For them, we give thanks.

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Pro Bono Opportunity For Employment Law Attorneys

In our efforts to partner with legal organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond, NCAJ is proud to partner with the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center on pro bono and mentoring opportunities for attorneys who are willing to provide advice and counsel in their area(s) of practice.

One immediate need is for attorneys in the area of Employment Law.  With over 170,000 unemployment claims filed in North Carolina last week due to economic fallout from COVID-19, the need for employment law legal services has also increased.  Below is a specific request from Pisgah Legal Services for your help:

Pisgah Legal Services is a civil legal aid firm serving western North Carolina. Traditionally, Pisgah Legal has referred out the few unemployment benefits cases we have to local volunteer attorneys, and our staff attorneys have not developed expertise in this practice area. In the past few weeks with the COVID-19 crisis, Pisgah Legal has had an exponential increase in calls for help with unemployment benefits matters. The organization is currently training several staff attorneys to advise clients on these matters and have a few volunteer attorneys assisting, however we need to increase our capacity significantly.

Pisgah Legal is seeking attorney volunteers with unemployment claims expertise to provide limited mentoring to our staff attorneys, and attorney volunteers to take pro bono cases for our clients who need advice regarding their unemployment claim and/or need to appeal a denial. Please contact Katie Russell Miller at katierm@pisgahlegal.org or 828-210-3420 if you would like more information or would like to help.

NCAJ Welcomes Trudi Brown As Director of Development and Membership Engagement

Trudi Brown has joined the NCAJ staff as the organization’s new Development and Membership Engagement Director. She began her position March 25.

Brown has over 20 years’ experience in development, fundraising, external relations, event management, board development, marketing and communications. She most recently served as the director of external relations for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at N.C. State University. In that role, she managed the corporate partners program, which focuses on engagement and recruitment of nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students, led internal communications efforts and managed various outreach programs and events. Prior to joining N.C. State, Brown worked for Campbell Law School as the director of development and at the N.C. State Poole College of Management as the director of development and external relations. She has also held development positions at the WakeMed Foundation and marketing, communications, sales and service roles with Central Carolina Bank in Durham. Brown received her BA in Business Management with a concentration in marketing from N.C. State University.

NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch said Brown’s skills and experience make her a great fit for NCAJ.

“She is well versed in structuring and improving fundraising and development programs,” Crouch said. “She also knows many of our members through her prior work experience. I am confident she will be a terrific addition to our team.”

Ironman David Daggett: ‘Every Crisis Conceals An Opportunity’

By Amber Nimocks

Here’s a COVID-19-informed update of our profile of attorney, community leader and Ironman athlete David Daggett that offers a look at how Daggett Shuler is addressing the challenges of the pandemic, how the firm’s signature Safe Sober Prom Night works in a season without proms, and how his Ironman training is going now that pools are strictly off limits.

When I interviewed Daggett last fall for a profile in the Winter edition of Trial Briefs, he was looking forward to celebrating the 30th anniversary of Safe Sober Prom Night this spring. His Winston-Salem firm started the program, which has reached 600,000 kids with its message of safety and responsibility during its three-decade run.

Then came COVID-19. Undeterred, Daggett powered ahead, setting up an awards ceremony for the winner of the program’s annual T-shirt design contest in late March — where everyone stood six feet apart. And though prom night is postponed, possibly cancelled, Daggett has promised that students will get their Safe Sober Prom Night T-shirts, which have become a popular totem of the community’s high school experience.

David Daggett
Daggett Shuler
Attorneys At Law
Winston-Salem
www.daggettshulerlaw.com
NCAJ member for: 34 years
Education:
BA in Economics from Indiana State University, law degree from Wake Forest University Law School.
Family:
Three children: Annecy, a junior at William & Mary University; Emmaline, a freshman at Swarthmore College; and Riley, a junior at Richard J. Reynolds High School. Daggett and his wife, Cynthia, live in Winston-Salem.

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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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