Page 1

July 2009

Volume 36 No. 1

From the President

Annual Meeting Report

Duty, Honor and Joy in the Profession of Law Recently, I had the privilege of addressing the graduating class of the Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) on the topic of Patrick E. Kelly, “Leadership Opportunities MCB President in the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB).” Our discussion soon turned to more basic questions: Why should I be actively engaged in the Bar? How is the MCB relevant to me as an attorney juggling competing professional, personal and family obligations? I would not be surprised if many of us have asked ourselves the same questions at some point or another. The answer to these questions became more evident when I reflected upon the purposes of the Bar as outlined in the Mission Statement and Goals: to serve the public and members of the Bar; to promote the highest standards of professionalism, competence and ethical behavior; to promote the administration of justice; to assure access to legal services to all regardless of social, ethnic or economic status; to promote public education in the community on legal issues, the Bar and the legal system; and to provide MCB members with continuing education. These goals, to all who have plunged into active participation in the Bar are well aware, are not mere platitudes. Every day, the Bar’s dedicated staff and attorneys, including more than 40 committees and sections, work tirelessly and with little fanfare to make these goals a reality. Here are just a few examples: The Professionalism, LawyerLife, and Culture Committee serves MCB members by providing support services and programs to attorneys who have lost jobs or are suffering from the effects of the down economy. The Bar Leadership Institute inspires participants to pursue leadership opportunities to improve the legal profession and the quality of life in our community. The Volunteer Lawyers Program and the Lawyer Referral Service assure access to justice to those who may not otherwise have access. The CLE Committee provides quality, affordable and convenient continuing education opportunities to members. Law Day and Law & Society promote public awareness of legal issues and of our legal system. In performing these and many other functions, the Bar ensures that each of us fulfills our solemn oath to our profession and to our community—what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. calls the “ideal part” of the law, the pursuit of “intellectual and spiritual interests, without which we are but snails or tigers.” As members of the legal profession, we are not merely called to zealously represent our clients – we are sworn officers of the court. We are public citizens having a special responsibility for the quality of continued on page 6

July 2009

Above: MCB Secretary, John R. Wester; MCB Executive Director, Nancy M. Roberson; MCB President, John W. Lassiter; incoming MCB President, Patrick E. Kelly; The Honorable Albert Diaz; MCB Past President, Robert C. Stephens; and MCB Treasurer, Maria Blue Minsker. Right: Incoming MCB President, Patrick E. Kelly is sworn in by The Honorable Albert Diaz.

BY MATTHEW R. ARNOLD, CO-CHAIR, SOCIAL & SPORTS COMMITTEE On Thursday, May 21, 2009 the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) returned to the beautiful lawn of First Presbyterian Church in Uptown Charlotte for its 97th Annual Meeting. With the buzz of Speed Street in the air, the more than 450 MCB attending members enjoyed the traditional luncheon of Bubba’s BBQ, sweet iced tea and chocolate chip cookies on one of the warmer days of a mild spring in the Queen City. Outgoing MCB President, John W. Lassiter led the MCB members in a moment of silence to honor the following barristers who passed during the 20082009 fiscal year: John T. Allred Sr., William F. Barnes, B. Irvin Boyle, James N. Brennan IV, George C. Covington, Kenneth R. Downs Sr., Philip E.

Gerdes, Larry Ray Green, Robin L. Hinson, Kathleen G. Lee-Stevens, Marshall McCallum Jr., Susan Ivy McCrory, Thomas C. Ruff, Joseph C. Travis, Alfred F. Welling Jr., and Henry H. Wilson III. Volunteer Lawyers Program Co-Chair, Larry Gwaltney presented Pro Bono Awards to law firms and attorneys who generously served our community by donating their limited time and considerable talents to those who could not afford legal services. To read about those award-winning attorneys and their pro bono endeavors, please turn to page 5 of this edition of The Mecklenburg Bar News. MCB Past President and Chair of the Nominating continued on page 6

by Robert P. Johnston Wester to Lead Bar Association for 2009-2010

John R. Wester

John R. Wester accepted the presidency of the North Carolina Bar Association on June 27 at the organization’s annual meeting in Asheville. He is the group’s 115th president and will serve for the next year. A Whiteville native who grew up in Rockingham, Wester attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship. He received his J.D. degree from Duke University, where he was Note and Comment Editor of the Duke Law Journal. He was Order of the Coif. A member of Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, Wester is on the Board of Visitors for both the University of North Carolina and for the Duke University School of Law.

Ten Years of Service Completed Ward A. McKeithen and Henry N. Pharr II recently completed ten years as co-chairs of the Bar’s Memorials Committee, coordinating Court presentations in memory of deceased members of the Bar. “Typically these take place 4-6 months after the death, so they are not like a funeral or an obituary. They have an anecdotal quality,” according to McKeithen. ”I think it’s a fine Bar tradition that enables us to fondly remember lawyers who have lived and served well. I wish more young lawyers would take advantage of the opportunity to attend and learn more from those who have gone before.”

Ward A. McKeithen

Henry N. Pharr II

continued on page 9


Left: The Mecklenburg County Bar and the Charlotte Women’s Bar partnered to present the CLE Women Lawyer’s 2009 Retention, Advancement, Equity and Satisfaction. Panelists Marlon Nesbeth, Abbie Baynes, and Valecia McDowell provide tips and techniques on how to successfully negotiate and achieve pay equity in the workplace.

Live Programs Ethics and Professionalism with Jim Blackburn (video) CLE Credit: 2.0 Ethics and 1.0 Mental Health/Substance Abuse hours Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 Time: Registration 8:45 a.m. Program 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Location: TBD (MCB Center or Hudson Legal, 129 West Trade) Fees: $110 attorney rate; $55 paralegal rate Law License Risk Management: Attorney Discipline in an Economic Downturn CLE Credit: 1.0 Ethics hour Date: Friday, July 17, 2009 Time: Registration 12:00 p.m. Program 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Location: Charlotte School of Law Fees: $30 MCB Silent Partner rate; $60 Not a member of MCB Silent Partner program Asset Planning and Protection CLE Credit: 1.0 General hour Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Time: Registration 12:00 p.m. Program 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Location: MCB Center Fees: $75 attorney rate; $35 paralegal rate The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 and MSAs CLE Credit: 3.0 General hours Dates: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program 9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Location: MCB Center Fees: $150 attorney rate; $75 paralegal rate

Who Moved My Job? Guidelines for Job-Loss Grief Recovery for the Legal Community CLE Credit: 3.0 Mental Health hours each seminar Dates: Tuesday, August 18 and Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Time: Registration 15 minutes prior to program Program Seminar I (8/18/09) 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.; Seminar II (8/18/09) 1:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.; Seminar III (8/19/09) 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Location: MCB Center Fees: $110 attorney rate per seminar or $275 for all three; $55 paralegal rate per seminar or $120 for all three Why Using ADR For Resolving Disputes Can Be Your Best Option CLE Credit: 2.5 General and 0.5 Ethics hours Dates: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Location: MCB Center Fees: $175 attorney rate; $90 paralegal rate Residential and Commercial LandlordTenant Law 2009 –Practical & Ethical Concerns CLE Credit: 3.0 General and 1.0 Ethics hours Dates: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Location: MCB Center Fees: $175 attorney rate; $49 pro bono attorney rate; $25 LANC/LSSP rate

Consider the MCB CLE Advantage Your Bar offers high-quality, incredibly convenient, and cost-effective continuing legal education programs right here in Mecklenburg County. The feedback on our accreditation and evaluation forms consistently rates our training as excellent. We offer live and prerecorded CLEs here at the Bar Center, other local sites, and even at your own office, as well as online programs right at your desk 24/7. Our programs are competitively priced–with rarely any additional long-distance travel expenses. And our customer service is friendly, competent, and knowledgeable. Support your local Bar by getting your CLE credits through the courses listed.

In-House Video Replays You can bring CLE video replays to your firm by contacting Lisa Armanini at or CLE Assistant Sally Kenney at At least three attorneys must view the course, and Lisa or Sally need at least 30 days notice. Video replay hours do not count towards the four-hour online allotment. Video replay dates at the Bar Center from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, 2009; Wednesday, November 18, 2009 and Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Online Programs Online CLE Programs are available on demand, 24 hours a day at The N.C. State Bar allows up to four hours of online courses annually–video and live programs do not count towards that total. MCB endorses only Education Over the Net as our online hosting service. Customer service line 800/590-6867.

M a j o r, Lindsey & Africa


Attorney Search Consultants


July 2009

Patrons Fund 2009

Why Do You Support The Mecklenburg Bar Foundation? BY


During these difficult economic times, I imagine that most of us will receive requests for donations from a number of worthwhile charitable organizations. Some of us will inherently give of our treasures far beyond the call of duty, while Richard M. Thigpen others will need to consider very carefully their charitable options, prompting the question for our Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) members—why do I support the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation (MBF)? Claire J. Rauscher, executive director of the Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina and MBF president, writes, “By funding such organizations as Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Larry King’s Clubhouse, and the International House, the MBF addresses the needs of

those less fortunate seeking legal-related assistance. I’m also particularly proud of the MBF’s support of the MCB to deliver services to our members as they face the economic hardships of the current recession in Mecklenburg County this year.” Daniel A. Merlin of Johnston, Allison & Hord writes, “I support the MBF because it is the only organization of its kind in this area. The MBF is truly unique in that it is an organization run by attorneys for attorneys and other critical legal-related projects that may not otherwise receive funding. As a member of the MCB, I consider it a duty and an honor to dedicate, not only my money, but also my time to supporting the MBF.” Julie Z. Griggs of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson and her husband Gene Griggs of Poyner & Spruil write, “We really appreciate the MBF’s efforts to support legal programs impacting at-risk children in Mecklenburg County.” There are a number of reasons to support the MBF this year, including the opportunity to be recognized for participating in a collective effort by the legal community. I’m happy to report that 100% of the MCB and MBF board members have

participated in the 2009 Patrons Fund Campaign, raising a collective $36,000—a 16% increase over last year for this particular group. In addition, most of our major contributors (gifts of a $1000 or more) from years past have stepped up again this year. Building on this momentum, nearly 40 firms and legal departments across Mecklenburg County have already begun or are in the planning stage of their own Patrons Fund Campaign. With their help, we hope to raise a record $125,000 by July 31st. Enclosed in this issue of The Mecklenburg Bar News is your pledge envelope. Please complete and return it before July 31st. If you intend to be billed, the Foundation is happy to create a billing cycle specific to your needs. You can also mail a check to MBF Patrons Fund, Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, 438 Queens Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207 or donate online at Donate now and allow the Bar and Foundation to inspire others by recognizing your contribution in our ongoing programs and publications. For additional details or to set up a Patron’s Fund Campaign at your firm, please contact Stephen Belenky, or 704/375-8624.

As of June 16, 2009 Patron ($2,500-$4,999) Peter J. Covington Hon. Robert P. Johnston

Barrister ($1,000-$2,499) Bob and Sandra Bisanar Francis J. Blanchfield A. Todd Brown James R. Bryant Mark T. Calloway William K. Diehl Douglas R. Edwards Peter S. Gilchrist Katherine S. Holliday H. Bryan Ives Patrick E. Kelly John W. Lassiter DeWitt F. McCarley Alice K. Moore Randel E. Phillips Bradley Pearce Claire J. Rauscher* Nancy and David Roberson In Honor of John Lassiter Shapiro & Ingle, L.L.P. Raleigh A. Shoemaker Robert C. Stephens John N. Suhr Richard M. Thigpen Christopher M. Vann David B. Whelpley

Counselor ($300-$999) T. Jonathan Adams George Edward Battle Stephen Belenky Aretha Venyke Blake Jo Ann J. Brighton Jonathan E. Buchan John Howard Cobb Edward G. Connette Heather W. Culp Hon. Albert Diaz Jill Elyse Dinerman Robert C. Dortch Anthony Foxx Trevor M. Fuller John W. Gresham Henry A. Harkey

July 2009

Robert E. Harrington H. Parks Helms Edward T. Hinson Michael A. Hudson Douglas M. Jarrell John and Meredith Jeffries Hannah H. Kim Howard M. Labiner Mary K. Mandeville Steve and Patti Mayo* George J. Miller Eric Montgomery John C. Nipp Hon. Sarah E. Parker Bailey Patrick Jr. Charles H. Rabon Ray Owens & Sara Higgins S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan Claire & Edward Shapack Nina Shor Jen and Bob Simmons Richard E. Thigpen Anne M. Tompkins Brent A. Torstrick Henry B. Ward John R. Wester

Contributor ($1-$299) Karen J. Adams Martha G. Barber Rebecca S. Chaffin Robert K. Corbett Marion Cowell Jeff A. Davis Tricia Morvan Derr Robert T. Duffy Douglas W. Ey Gregory H. Gach Eugene Steven Griggs and Julie Zydron Griggs Toni K. Grove In Memory of Hon. Brent McKnight William F. Hamel Hon. Tyyawdi M. Hands Hon. Jane V. Harper In Memory of Larry King Amy Purwin Hunt Cyrus M. Johnson William B. Kirk Jonathan C. Krisko

Anthony T. Lathrop Lina James & Steve Meier E. Lynwood Mallard Daniel Adam Merlin Maria Blue Minsker Rajsekhar Natarajan Ross Howard Parr Francis M. Pinckney Eddie Poe In Honor of William E. Poe, Sr. Anne J. Randall LaVenettra Walls Reaves Anna F. Schleunes Benjamin Freedman Sidbury Lee A. Spinks John L. Sullivan James M. Talley Jr. Kelly S. Thomas* C. Sydnor Thompson Scott M. Tyler Nicholas Peter Valaoras Jerry H. Walters Samuel S. Williams

*Thank you to our Matching Organizations Bank of America Wachovia

EDITORIAL POLICY The Mecklenburg Bar News accepts editorial and advertising material of general legal interest to the practicing Bar of the 26th Judicial District. The implicit purposes of the newsletter, website, and related methods of communication are to educate members of the Mecklenburg County Bar and to create and maintain shared communication with its members. The Communications Committee reserves the right to accept, reject, or edit all material. DISCLAIMER Efforts will be made to provide information of interest that is timely, accurate, and relevant to the legal community. The Mecklenburg County Bar is not responsible for misprints, typographical errors, or misinformation in The Mecklenburg Bar News. The views and opinions are not necessarily those of the 26th Judicial District Bar. Communications Committee: Tricia Derr, Chair, Judge Bob Johnston, Stephen Belenky, Mike Daisley, Alan Edmonds, Will Esser, Jon Goldberg, Allison Karp, Charles Keller, Rhea Kelley, John Lassiter, Phillip Lewis, Nancy Roberson, Michael Shor, Russ Traw


MCB Volunteer Spotlight: Clark C. Walton The Mecklenburg County Bar’s Volunteer Lawyer Program dedicates its July spotlight to Clark C. Walton. Clark has recently begun working as an Assistant District Attorney in Mecklenburg County after practicing banking and finance law. Before accepting his role as an Assistant DA, Clark was heavily involved in two pro bono projects. We wish Clark all the best in his new position! Current Employer: Several weeks ago I began work as an Assistant District Attorney in Mecklenburg County (the 26th Prosecutorial District). Prior to that, I worked as an associate for three years at Mayer Brown LLP in Charlotte and one year at Nelson Mullins in Charlotte. Area of Practice / Expertise: As an Assistant DA, I am developing expertise in criminal law. My primary legal experience has been in banking and finance.

Law School / Law School Graduation Year: Georgetown University Law Center, 2005 MCB VLP: What pro bono projects interest you? CW: There are two major pro bono projects I’ve worked on during the past year. (As an Assistant DA, I cannot practice law outside of my employment, therefore I am not handling any pro bono matters going forward.) I’ve been working on Wills for Heroes, a national project begun by a group of young lawyers after the September 11 terrorist attacks, to provide free estate planning documents to first responders. I have also worked on the List Project. My former firm, Mayer Brown, began participation in this project in the spring of 2008. We worked with Iraqi

nationals, who have assisted the US Government and are now being threatened or forced to flee Iraq because of their work, to obtain resettlement in the United States to escape those threats. The process involves working with the client to Clark C. Walton determine their eligibility for various State Department and Homeland Security resettlement programs, then assisting them with the paperwork and interview process from that point forward. MCB VLP: Did you participate in any particular training so that you could work on these projects? CW: Wills for Heroes –Volunteer attorneys who specialize in estate law provide a one-hour training session for our volunteer lawyers who draft the estate planning documents. The estate law experts stay onsite to assist individual lawyers throughout the day. The List Project –Mayer Brown provided a threehour training for the List Project cases and a specialized training manual. MCB VLP: What is your hope for the future with regard to the List Project and Wills for Heroes? As far as the List Project, the hope is that eventually the situation in Iraq will stabilize to the point that many Iraqis who have worked with the Americans

will cease to be threatened, and that those threatened Iraqis who have been resettled will be able to return back to their homes. CW: For Wills for Heroes, I’d like to see the program continue such that an event is held somewhere in the state at least quarterly. We’ve gotten so many requests from the first responder community for new events, but only have capacity to do a certain number per year. Given the demand, I’m confident this program can continue on in North Carolina for a number of years. MCB VLP: How can the Mecklenburg County legal community help with similar projects? CW: The hope is that the North Carolina Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division will continue to run Wills for Heroes clinics in the Charlotte Metro area. More information about the national organization can be found at There are also ways to assist locally with the List Project. More information about the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies can be found at The Mecklenburg County Bar’s Volunteer Lawyer Program provides pro bono wills for qualified individuals and works closely with Habitat for Humanity in ensuring their homeowners have their estate planning needs met. If you are interested in being involved with this opportunity or others, contact Mary Jordan Mullinax, staff coordinator to the Volunteer Lawyer Program Committee at 704/375-8624 or

Committee Founder Receives Diversity Award This April, the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) Special Committee on Diversity honored past MCB and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation president George V. Hanna III with the second annual presentation of the Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award. The Award, which was presented to Hanna at the 2009 McMillan Fellowship Fund Dinner, celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to diversity and equal opportunity in the CharlotteMecklenburg legal community. The award reflects Mr. Hanna’s “passionate advocacy for making diversity a key focus of our Bar,”

including his pivotal role in founding the MCB Special Committee on Diversity, said Norfleet Pruden, current Committee member and attorney with K&L Gates. Since its creation in 2004, the Committee has launched a number of initiatives to diversify the local legal profession, including: the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship program, Lunch with a Lawyer, the Diversity Day program for undergraduate and high school students of color, the Diversity Initiative, and the recruitment of a fulltime diversity coordinator. The Committee continues to provide support to local minority Bars through

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various partnerships as well. Hanna, a trial attorney with Moore & Van Allen, has served as a member of the MCB Volunteer Lawyers Committee for more than ten years. He continues to serve as a member of the North Carolina George V. Hanna III Chief Justice’s Commission on Equal Access to Justice, and was a former board chair for Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and the Children’s Law Center (currently referred to as the Council for Children’s Rights). Outside of his professional and community commitments, Hanna places a priority on spending time with his grandchildren. The Award is fittingly named after its first honoree, the distinguished civil rights attorney Julius L. Chambers. Mr. Chambers represented the plaintiffs in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school desegregation case in which the late James B. McMillan, whose memory the McMillan Fund honors, was the presiding judge. Since 1995, the McMillan Fund has supported justice and innovation within our local legal system by awarding law students summer fellowships in public agencies. These fellowships are funded in large part by the annual dinner.

July 2009

2009 Volunteer Lawyers Program Pro Bono Award Winners Recognized Eight Pro Bono awards were distributed at the Bar’s Annual Meeting. Mecklenburg County Bar attorneys donated their time and skills to help victims of domestic violence, children, and the underserved. William K. Packard with Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson won the Outstanding Individual Attorney Award. Mr. Packard was nominated by his firm as well as the Charlotte Housing Authority for his 150+ hours donated to CHA, Hall House, Thompson Child & Family Focus, and Shared Services for Agencies of Children and Family Services Center. Annabelle Suddreth, executive director of A Child’s Place said “Will has given unselfishly of his time, his talents and his gifts to serve those in our community who need help the most.� Hunton & Williams was chosen to receive the Outstanding Large Firm Award. Attorneys at Hunton & Williams donated more than 3000 hours (equivalent to more than four months) with organizations such as the Urban Ministry Center, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Council for Children’s Rights, NC LEAP, Mecklenburg County Teen Court, and McDowell Street Center for Family Law. For the second year in a row, Hatcher Law Group was presented with the Outstanding Small Firm Award, nominated by United Family Services’ Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Unit. They have donated more than 350 hours working with United Family Services and the Mecklenburg County Women’s Commission family law seminars. Legal Aid of North Carolina presented its yearly pro bono award to Thomas P. Holderness from Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson. Mr. Holderness volunteered more than 100 hours in 2008, particularly in domestic violence and landlord/tenant cases. According to his nomination, “Tommy leaves no stone unturned in an effort to give his clients the very best representation.� Legal Services of Southern Piedmont gave their yearly award to Richard S. Wright of James, McElroy & Diehl. His work is much appreciated on an equitable distribution dispute that required more than 120 hours of volunteer work. Although the case took almost a year to complete, Mr. Wright accepted the challenge and eventually won a clear deed to the house and equitable distribution for the client and his daughter. Heidi S. Risser of Redenbaugh and Risser was recognized by the Council for Children’s Rights for her dedicated work as a child advocate on a case involving a thirteen year old girl who relied on Ms. Risser to help her through the custody and visitation issues that had been present for most of her life. The child, distrustful and resistant at first, came to know of Heidi’s deep concern for her and her best interest, relying on Heidi to help her through the process. The VLP’s Pro Bono for Nonprofits Program presented Christopher J. Tucci an award for his continued success as a leader of this initiative. Through his leadership, the Pro Bono for Nonprofits Program continues to expand and reach new audiences. The Jane V. Harper Pro Bono Award was presented to Kimberly E. Zirkle for her outstanding pro bono work with the 26th Judicial District SelfServe Center. Ms. Zirkle was recognized for her many hours spent volunteering as Attorney for the Day, in addition to her support through her firm’s commitment to the SelfServe Center.

July 2009

William K. Packard

Hunton & Williams, Robert J. Hahn, Wendy L. Spanbauer, Robert J. Grey, Jr. and Jeremy M. Deese.

Hatcher Law Group, Greg J. Hatcher

Thomas P. Holderness

Richard S. Wright

Heidi S. Risser

Christopher J. Tucci

Kimberly E. Zirkle










The Charlotte Women’s Bar: Report from the President BY AMY E. SIMPSON, PRESIDENT CHARLOTTE WOMEN’S BAR Now celebrating its fourth anniversary, the Charlotte Women’s Bar (CWB) has expanded in size, community, commitment, principle and purpose. The women of the CWB are determined in this day and age of professional uncertainty and difficult economics to continue to make a difference to each other and to the community. And having had the distinct pleasure of being one of the organization’s founding members I can say that with each new year, my level of pride in the group and its membership continues to grow. We boast members of all ages, faiths, nationalities, areas of the law, and involvement in all aspects of the community. These members remain committed to diversity, and have a renewed focus on the development and success of the membership both inside and outside the group. Our individual successes have not gone unnoticed. Our very own Terra Atkinson was recently named one of twenty Charlotte Women Extraordinaire of 2008 by Business Leader Media. Our 2009 programs highlight our group successes. For example, in early April the members came together to assemble Spring Baskets for our Spring Community Service Project. The group prepared baskets full of goodies, and the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services distributed the baskets to homeless children, children in public housing and other children in need. On March 12, 2009, we lightened the mood a bit with a social evening out for existing and potential new members at Solé Spanish Grill on East Boulevard. The social was very well attended. We had more than 10 potential new members attend and express and interest in joining after the night of relaxation and community. On April 22, 2009, the CWB and the Mecklenburg County Bar presented Women Lawyers 2009 Retention, Advancement, Equity & Satisfaction. The continuing legal education event was a great success and the panelists were able to dialogue over the issues that face women in the legal profession every day. On May 16, 2009, the members participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Project. This project aims to help families obtain decent, affordable homes by building Habitat houses, while strengthening relationships and a sense of community among women. The first all women house was built

in Charlotte in 1991. Since then, ten more have been built. It is amazing to see the difference women can make. In the fall of 2009, the CWB plans to embark on a new public service project. We will plan and hold a “Career in Law Day” for local girl scouts to expose the girls to different careers in law and to raise interest in a potential career in the legal field. In addition to our continued focus on educating, encouraging, communicating, sharing and growing “community” for strong professional women committed to themselves, their work, and their families, we continue to find new ways to reach out and touch others outside the group. We have a mentoring program with the Charlotte School of Law, and boast many law students as members. We are also sponsoring mock interviews for 3L students. My goal for CWB in 2009 is to build strength, hope, vision and the courage to continue to make steps, strides, and leaps forward in these trying times. We hope to grow the organization in wisdom, develop committee strength in numbers and effectiveness, structure a consistent calendar of events to bring uniformity and security to the group, encourage the reach of the organization inside and outside its borders, and to continue to make a difference individually, collectively, professionally, personally, and publicly. The only way these goals can be accomplished within CWB is through the never-ending leadership, support, inspiration and hard work of the following persons: Mindy Staley, Vice President and Sponsorship Chair; Danica Little, Treasurer; Meg Maloney, Secretary; Megan Sadler, Communications Chair; Julie Seidenstein and Heidi Royal, Community/Public Service Committee; Sarah Byrne and Amy Foxhall, Membership Committee Chairs; Terra Atkinson, Program Chair; Julie Kerr Adams, Liaison to NCAWA; Beverly Binner, Sarah Byrne, Sarah Crotts, Judge Paige McThenia, Jennifer Schenck, Nicole Sodoma, and Kendra Thornton, Board Members at Large To those of you who already involved, thank you. For those of you who have yet to get involved, come join. And for the remainder of the Mecklenburg County Bar, we appreciate your continued support, attention and encouragement of our group. To join the CWB, please log on to To learn more about the group or how you can get involved, email me at

June 15 Coffee Connections The Professionalism, Lawyer Life and Culture (PLLC) Committee hosted its second Coffee Connections at the Bar Center on June 15, 2009. Geared towards opening and running a solo/small firm, Coffee Connection participants learned about the beginning stages of opening a firm all the way to running a successful small firm. Many current solo/small firm attorneys took advantage of the opportunity to network with other similarly situated colleagues. Ashe Lockhart, of Lockhart Hornby PLLC, spoke to attendees about his past experience in opening and running firms – with partners and without, and the importance of networking both for professional contacts and garnering new clients. Additional resources included: • Starting up a firm and choosing a practice area, featuring Sarah J. Kromer, solo firm owner and member of the PLLC Committee, Mr. Lockhart,


and Carol Van Buren of Van Buren Law, PLLC. •

Marketing yourself and your firm provided by Renee Hughes, Gardner & Hughes PLLC, and solo practitioner Heather Cook Skelton.

Networking/volunteer opportunities, Mary Jordan Mullinax, MCB Community and Volunteer Services Coordinator; and

Vendors who provide services to solo/small firms, AccTech Solutions, FindLaw, Lawyers Mutual, Merrill Lynch, Reid Accounting Solutions, and Westlaw.

Ms. Mullinax said that “many attendees expressed appreciation for the chance to network with colleagues, and were excited to learn about more opportunities that the MCB had to offer.” The PLLC Committee is looking at additional ways to offer MCB members resources in these and other areas that may be impacted by the current economy.

From the President continued from page 1 justice in the greater society. We are educators who are expected to cultivate knowledge of the law beyond its mere use for our clients. We are promoters of a justice system that depends upon popular participation and support to maintain its authority. We are defenders of the poor, and sometimes persons who are not poor, who do not have access to adequate legal assistance. Individually, none of us could ever hope to live up to these daunting expectations of duty and self sacrifice. Yet through our collective efforts, facilitated by our professional organizations and particularly through our own local Bar, we are able collectively to achieve, or at least strive to achieve, the ideals of the profession which by even our most dedicated individual efforts would be beyond reach. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. noted in “Life as Joy, Duty, End,” it is not the monetary and tangible rewards of the profession, great as they may be, which are ultimately the most meaningful and rewarding. Reflecting on his long and distinguished career, he concluded that it was not fame or fortune that satisfied him most. It was the knowledge that he had done his duty as a professional. “We are lucky enough if we can give a sample of our best, and if in our hearts we can feel it has been nobly done … the rule of joy and the law of duty seem to me all one.” I think Justice Holmes had it right. The pursuit of the ideals of the profession, through the Bar as embodied in the Bar’s mission, provide meaning, purpose and yes, joy to the practice of law. In that spirit, I accept the mantle of MCB President with a sense of duty and a sense of joy in being given the privilege to serve this Bar and its more than 4200 members. Like Justice Holmes, I hope to give a “sample of my best” to the noble cause that is the Mecklenburg County Bar—a cause that all of us share as members of the learned and honorable profession of law.

Annual Meeting Report continued from page 1 Committee, Robert C. Stephens presented the slate of officers for 2009-2010, all of whom were elected: President Elect, A. Todd Brown; Vice President, Robert C. Dortch; Secretary, Karen Eady-Williams; and Treasurer, Maria Blue Minsker. Board Members also elected at the meeting include Hon. Albert Diaz, Jill E. Dinerman, Trevor M. Fuller, Jonathan C. Krisko, John C. Nipp, Claire K. Shapack, and Nina Shor. The Honorable Albert Diaz administered the oath to our incoming Bar President, Patrick E Kelly. Kelly discussed the duty, honor and joy in the profession of law. He also spoke of ways in which the Bar is relevant to its members, and reflected on the mission and goals of the MCB. You may read more on his speech in the President’s Column of this newsletter. The MCB thanks its generous sponsors: YearRound Sponsor, Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance of North Carolina; Benefactor Sponsor, Special Counsel; Donor Sponsor, Lexis Nexis; Contributor Sponsors, Findlaw and Westlaw; Supporter Sponsor, Exact Document Services; and Door Prize Sponsors, Dana Rader Golf School, Jennifer Abbate at Rafael’s Salon, Auto Bell Carwash, Brio Tuscan Grill and Bricktops Restaurant. On behalf of the MCB, we thank First Presbyterian Church for the use of its breathtaking grounds. Finally, the Social and Sports Committee must express its gratitude to Nancy M. Roberson, Leah Reed and the rest of the Mecklenburg County Bar staff for putting together another outstanding Annual Meeting and continuing to tirelessly serve our Bar.

July 2009

Induction Ceremony Held for U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer BY


Judge David S. Cayer was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge on May 15, 2009 in a ceremony held at the Charles R. Jonas Federal Building in Charlotte. Judges and attorneys packed into the courtroom in support of Judge Cayer’s appointment as the newest federal Magistrate Judge in the Western District of North Carolina. Chief United States District Court Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office. Speakers included Judge J. Gentry Caudill, Judge H. William Constangy and Mecklenburg County Bar President John W. Lassiter. Judge Cayer’s new colleagues on the federal court bench also gave remarks. A reception followed shortly after the induction ceremony. Judge Cayer moves to the federal bench after serving six years as a North Carolina Superior Court judge based in Mecklenburg County. He also spent ten years as a North Carolina District Court judge. His tenure on both levels of the North Carolina state court bench allowed many attorneys to get to know Judge Cayer as both a jurist and a person. The author recently sat down with Judge Cayer for a question and answer session that gave more insight into the Western District’s newest judge. The following is a summary of the interview: When and how did you first learn you were being considered for United States Magistrate Judge? At least since law school, I have always wanted to be a judge. I applied as soon as I heard the position was open. A selection committee screens the various applicants and conducts interviews. After conducting interviews, the committee gives five names to the federal judges. Those individuals are then interviewed by the federal judges. As you might imagine, the pool of applicants is very strong. I was very pleased to be selected out of a pool of so many qualified candidates.


Who is a judge, past or present, you admire most and why? I admire both Judge Albert Bryan, Jr. and Judge Charles Russell of Virginia. Judge Bryan served on the United States District Court in Virginia. His father was also a judge and served on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Russell was a trial judge who later spent time on the Virginia Supreme Court. As for a local judge, I admire Marvin Gray. I found that each of these three judges was exceptionally bright and knew the law and procedure well. Furthermore, each of them ran a tight ship in the courtroom and had high expectations of the lawyers appearing before them. Finally, each of them was strong and decisive on the bench. One story in that regard, when I was a new state court judge, I once took a case under advisement. I consulted Judge Gray concerning his thoughts on the matter. As soon as I mentioned that I had taken the argument under advisement, he quickly told me I had made my first mistake as a judge. He instilled in me not to take matters under advisement. Judge Gray thought a judge should rule from the bench. Over the course of my time as a state court judge, I tried to follow that advice and rule from the bench whenever possible.


Is there a person you credit with most influencing your career path? Yes, Judge Henry Hudson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He hired me straight out of law school as a prosecutor. Judge Hudson taught me so much about criminal law and procedure. But, most importantly, he taught me


July 2009

how to be firm in a position while being respectful and professional to the opposing parties at the same time. Judge Hudson recently found fame by presiding over Michael Vick’s sentencing. What are the strengths of the federal judiciary system? One strength is the high expectations for lawyers practicing in the federal system. The court sets a strict timetable for cases and expects the parties to adhere to it. Furthermore, the courtroom atmosphere is strict. When I was a federal prosecutor, I had to live in the realm of high expectations constantly. Also, there is a premium on efficiency. We do not want anyone’s time to be wasted. The federal system can function swiftly and efficiently because of the fact that cases are assigned to a particular judge. Also, the fact that we have law clerks helps tremendously.


Do you believe empathy should play a part in judicial decision-making? On a human level, a judge can certainly empathize with the parties to a case. Our decisions may have a severe and adverse impact on someone. But as judges, we take an oath to uphold the law. A judge’s decision must, above all, follow the law.


What about life as a United States Magistrate Judge will be better than life as a North Carolina Superior Court Judge? One of the first things that comes to mind is the fact that I now have much more time to think about and research legal issues presented to me. Rather than having oral arguments, as I did in state court, most motions are argued on briefs. Plus, now I have law clerks to research issues. Finally, I don’t travel in my new position.


What aspects of acting as a Superior Court Judge will you miss the most? Just as I mentioned that the lack of travel as a federal judge is a plus, I will also miss the travel I did as a state court judge. In the course of my years traveling around this state, I met so many great people all over the state: deputies, lawyers, courtroom personnel, jurors, etc. I would not have had a chance to meet these people had I not been a Superior Court Judge. Plus, in my travels I was able to see many of North Carolina’s great courthouses. I love the old courthouses that have a theater feel to them. The courthouses in Lenoir and Murphy are my favorites.


Any particular moments from your days as a Superior Court Judge stand out as particularly memorable? I have distinct memories from presiding over death penalty cases. The tone and gravity of the proceedings make those cases particularly memorable. Many of my visits to small towns were memorable. I recall a particular trip to Macon County in which the elected clerk baked something delicious for the judge every day. Another time in a small town I stayed at a hotel operated by the mother of a defendant I sentenced.


Do you prefer ruling over civil or criminal matters? I do not prefer one over the other. I like the change of pace provided in presiding over both. As a Superior Court Judge, the amount of time I spent on criminal versus civil depended on location. In small towns, I would guess I spent almost 75% of my time on criminal matters. Now, I spend more time on civil cases than criminal cases due to the fact that civil decisions are usually made on briefs. Therefore, I have more time to consider and research issues and write an opinion. A majority of my criminal work


involves plea hearings and other various motions. What was your favorite course in American University law school? Probably Evidence. I knew I wanted to be a trial Judge David S. Cayer lawyer and my Evidence class further whetted my appetite. Plus, I had a great professor named Paul Rice.


What was your favorite course at Washington & Lee? I was a history major. I preferred classes which dealt with southern American history.


What do you expect of lawyers appearing before you? I expect lawyers to anticipate and prepare for legal issues that will arise in a case or hearing. When I was on the Superior Court bench, the most common area in which lawyers were not adequately prepared was the jury instructions charging conference. It made my job easier when the attorneys anticipated and prepared for the charge conference in advance. Also, I expect lawyers to act professionally towards all persons in the courtroom, be they the judge, the jurors, clerks or opposing counsel.



What is your biggest pet peeve?


What do you do for relaxation or fun?

My number one pet peeve is lawyers arguing after the judge rules on an issue. It is disrespectful. Furthermore, I believe the ethics rules say something to the effect that a lawyer is supposed to gracefully accept the court’s ruling. If there are other avenues open to the attorney to overturn the ruling, that’s fine. But an attorney should not continue to argue after the judge rules. That is my number one pet peeve by far.

I love spectator sports, dogs, traveling and reading. One of my favorite locations in my vacation travels is Montana. The scenery there is breathtaking. I enjoy reading political books. I recently finished the biographies of Susie Sharpe and John Mitchell. The biography of John Mitchell contained some fascinating facts about the Watergate scandal that I did not know. I have also recently read biographies of several Supreme Court Justices, including Justices Thomas, O’Connor and Blackmun.

I hear you are a dog-lover. How many and what types of dogs to you currently have? I have two dogs right now. One is a Jack Russell Terrier. The other is a rescue puppy that is a terrier mix. We had another dog, but he recently passed away. I’ve always had a dog. I take them for a daily walk in my neighborhood. It is good exercise for the dogs and me.


You have been reported to be a huge Duke fan. Is it true? I grew up being a Duke fan and have continued to be one ever since. My father went to Duke. I still attend quite a few basketball games each year. My sister has season tickets, and I get the right of first refusal if she is not using them. It’s a nice option to have.



Young Lawyers Section BY ANNE RANDALL, CHAIR Join Now! Even though the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) is currently on summer vacation, now is a great time to join. The YLS is for attorneys 36 years old or younger, or attorneys in their first three years of practice in Mecklenburg County. The YLS offers numerous community service opportunities, including advising high school students on the practice of law and collecting gifts during the holidays. In addition to community service projects, the YLS holds four socials throughout the year. These socials are a great way to get to know other young lawyers in a relaxed environment. For more information or to join, contact new YLS Chair, Amy Foxhall at or MCB staff liaison, Amy Young at or 704/375-8624.

MCB 26th Judicial District Membership Dues Are Due July 31, 2009 Thank you to the many members who have already paid their 2009-2010 MCB dues and updated their contact information. If you have any questions, please contact Jill Wiggins at Please note that a late fee of $15 is imposed on dues payments received after September 30, 2009.

45 Attorneys Sworn In at Spring ‘09 Ceremony Congratulations to the new attorneys who were sworn in on April 30, 2009, at the Marriott Charlotte City Center! Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Robert P. Johnston presided over the state portion of the ceremonial court session and U.S. District Court Judge David S. Cayer presided over the federal ceremonial court session. Anne Randall, chair of the Young Lawyers Section, helped congratulate the newly sworn in attorneys. The Young Lawyers Section thanks sponsors Lawyers Mutual and the Western District of North Carolina for their support. Please welcome the following attorneys to the North Carolina State Bar: Aniruddha Agrawal University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne Franklin Pierce Law Center Clement Bernard Miller PLLC David C Annis North Carolina State University Georgetown University Law Center Moore & Van Allen PLLC Katherine J Begor University of Delaware Widener University School of Law Jonathan M Berry Hamilton College Thomas M. Cooley School of Law Andrew C Bonjean Illinois State University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law Harrell G Canning III University of North Carolina at Charlotte Liberty University School of Law Kathryn G Cole Furman University University of Michigan School of Law Moore & Van Allen PLLC Tamara R Cornish Kent State University University of Akron School of Law Jonathan Adam Dunn University of Alabama Harvard Law School McGuireWoods LLP Jonathan Amos Dunn Colby College University of Georgia School of Law Deborah W Durban University of South Carolina University of South Carolina School of Law Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP David D Dzara II University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tulane University Law School K&L Gates LLP Jonathan H Ferry Rutgers University University of Virginia School of Law Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.

Guy L Forcucci Niagara University University of Buffalo Law School Culp Elliott & Carpenter, PLLC Benjamin P Fryer George Washington University University of Virginia School of Law Moore & Van Allen PLLC John C Gilson University at Albany – SUNY Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Moore & Van Allen PLLC Lynell E Gwaltney The College of William and Mary University of Dayton School of Law The Law Offices of Joan Elizabeth Winters, LLC Suzanne R Haley University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Miami School of Law Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP Christian W Hancock University of South Carolina University of North Carolina School of Law Lisa M Hoffman Appalachian State University Nova Southeastern University Law Center Bethany L Jackson University of North Carolina at Wilmington Stetson University College of Law Hanan A Javaid Duke University University of North Carolina School of Law Ernst & Young LLP Justin A Jernigan Clemson University University of South Carolina School of Law Summa, Additon & Ashe, PA Lisa M Johnson Cleveland State University Thomas M. Cooley Law School LM Johnson Law Firm Paige S Loper Easter Connecticut State University Western New England College School of Law Patricia G Lynch Florida State University University of Georgia School of Law Montgomery Insurance

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Minalkuuari P Patel University of South Carolina Appalachian School of Law Brione B Pattison Willamette University S.J. Quinney College of Law Jeanne A Pennebaker University of Illinois DePaul University College of Law Toniann Primiano Regis University Franklin Pierce Law Center Douglas Rose Shippensburg University Michigan State University College of Law John M Saunders Vanderbilt University Chapman University School of Law William Schmidt Jr. Montclair State University Seton Hall University School of Law Brooke A Shultz Hillsdale College Tulane University Law School Taryn E Smith Washington University Indiana University School of Law Moore & Van Allen PLLC William S Smoak Jr. Davidson College Duke University School of Law King & Spaulding LLP Jennifer Story University of Delaware Widener University School of Law Sharleen N Sullivan Nova Southeastern University Florida Coastal School of Law Jamie N Teague University of Iowa Washington University School of Law – St. Louis Richard B Thompkins University of South Carolina University of South Carolina School of Law Spencer & Spencer, PA Laura F Thompson University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tulane University Law School Self-Employed Blia Vang University of Wisconsin at Platteville University of Wisconsin Law School Robert R Vass Wabash College Indiana University School of Law Moore & Van Allen PLLC Karen D Wilson College of Charleston Wake Forest University School of Law Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

July 2009

Tomberlin Wins LRS Panel Member of the Year at Annual Reception The Mecklenburg County Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) hosted its annual reception on June 11th at the Bar Center. Richard H. Tomberlin was awarded the 2009 LRS Panel Member of the Year – the 19th year it has been awarded. A participant in the LRS for more than a decade, Mr. Tomberlin’s longstanding commitment is only a part of the reason he received this honor. “Mr. Tomberlin is open with his ability to take a case, and is sure to remain in contact with staff as the case Richard H. Tomberlin accepts the 2009 LRS Panel Member of progresses,” said LRS Committee Co- the Year award from Connelia Z. Houston. chair, Connelia Z. Houston. “His time class passes at a local yoga studio. Special thanks go and attention to the clients’ needs account for the to the following Door Prize Donors: Del Frisco’s, outstanding client reviews he receives throughout the Elegant Nails, Jason’s Deli, MCB CLE, Park Road year.” One client’s review exclaimed, “That was the Books, Reid’s Fine Foods, Starbucks, The Village best $50 I ever spent!” Tavern, and Yoga for Life Yoga Studios. Members of the Bar’s Executive Committee and The MCB LRS is honored to support its LRS Board of Directors mingled with nearly 30 panel panel members and Bar leadership with the members during the reception. The Bar Center, reception. The following sponsors made the event decorated with local greenery and flowers, was full of even more of a success: Lawyers Mutual of North laughing and animated conversations. Many Carolina, Ranger Protective Service, Inc., and members won door prizes, including a selection of Reynolds Professional Service, Inc. summer reading, Del Frisco’s gift certificates, and five-

Interested in Joining the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service? With the fiscal year beginning this month, submit your application to take full advantage of a year of referrals. Check out the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) online at to access additional information and to obtain a copy of the application. Benefits of membership include: • The opportunity to increase your client base with referrals from the MCB LRS office. •

A tailored application that helps attorneys more easily specify their preferences for referral clients.

Once commission requirements are met, 10% off all MCB CLEs.

An invitation to the annual MCB LRS reception held at the end of each fiscal year.

If you have any questions regarding the Lawyer Referral Service or are interested in additional information, please contact Mary Jordan Mullinax, LRS Coordinator at or 704/375-8624.

Lawyers in the News continued from page 1

Four Presented Citizen Lawyer Award Four members of the Mecklenburg County Bar were presented a Citizen Lawyer Award at the NCBA Annual Meeting June 26. They are Daniel G. Clodfelter, The Honorable Shirley L. Fulton, Robert E. Harrington, and Kristi Kessler Walters. The NCBA, in conjunction with the Citizen Lawyer Task Force, selected the recipients. Clodfelter is currently serving his sixth term in the General Assembly. He is past chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission, a trustee of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, and previously served on the Commission on the Future of the Courts and Justice. He practices with Moore & Van Allen, and is a 1977 graduate of the Yale University School of Law. Clodfelter received his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Judge Fulton served 26 years as a Superior Court and District Court Judge. She chairs the Charlotte School of Law Board of Trustees and serves as co-chair of the United Agenda for Children in Mecklenburg County. She also served on the boards of the Evergreen Fund, the CharlotteMecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, and as cochair of the Mecklenburg County Justice and Public Safety Task Force. She practices with Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, and is a 1980 graduate of the Duke University School of Law. She received her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and an MBA from Queens University of Charlotte. Harrington serves as board chair for the Levine Museum of the New South, and is a member of the Equity Committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School. He previously served on the board of Seigle Avenue Partners and as co-chair of the board of directors of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Harrington practices with Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, and is a 1987 graduate of the Duke University School of Law. He also received his bachelor’s degree from Duke. Walters provides volunteer leadership to the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund, where she has served as a member of the board, the executive committee, and chair of the Governance Task Force. She also provides leaderhip to the Community School of the Arts. Walters provided volunteer service to Davidson College, the UNC School of Law, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She practices with Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, and is a 1999 graduate of the UNC School of Law. She received her bachelor’s degree from Davidson College.

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July 2009


2009–10 Mecklenburg County Bar Committees To better serve your interests in the 26th Judicial District, we need your involvement. Please take a moment and consider your role in the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB). Please indicate your interest in serving on any of the volunteer committees described below by filling in the blanks with up to three choices by order of preference (1 being your top choice) and returning a copy of this page • by mail to MCB Committees Interest, 438 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207; •

by fax to MCB Committees Interest at 704/3336209; or

by e-mail to, Subject: MCB Committees Interest.

Committee members will be selected soon and contacted by the incoming 2009-2010 committee chairs.

Regulatory Committees Authorized Practice of Law: Receives and investigates complaints from the public concerning the dissemination of legal advice or services that are provided by those not licensed to practice law. Fee Dispute Resolution: Mediates and arbitrates fee disputes pursuant to RPC 2.6. Committee members/panelists must have mediation experience or be DRC-certified mediators. Grievance: Receives and investigates complaints from the public on ethical matters, and handles each in accordance with the NCSB Rules of Professional Conduct. Membership is currently at maximum capacity. Indigent Representation: Works in conjunction with the Office of the Public Defender to coordinate and maintain the attorney appointment list for criminal indigent defendants in the 26th Judicial District criminal court system. Judicial Nominating: Coordinates the balloting process of the MCB for choosing candidates for submission to the North Carolina governor in filling district court judge vacancies.

Membership Service and Programs Advertising and Sponsorship: Assists in identifying potential advertisers and sponsors. Meets quarterly to help brainstorm new leads, new sales techniques, and “specials” to entice renewals and new customers. Reviews progress on dollar goals.

Bar Leadership Institute: Encourages lawyers in the development of their leadership skills in the legal profession. A joint MCB and MBF Committee. Communications: Develops the communication process among members of the MCB and is responsible for publications including the monthly newsletter, legal directory, and updates to the MCB Handbook. The committee also provides guidance for the MCB’s website and electronic communications. Community Outreach: Seeks to improve and prioritize the MCB’s volunteer outreach opportunities, and to collaborate with the community on legal issues, the legal system, and school and community needs. Oversees Community Schools Project. Continuing Legal Education: Develops, implements, and oversees all CLE programs for the MCB in conformance with the rules of the North Carolina State Bar CLE Board. Meetings are once a month. Each member is requested to plan one CLE training in a practice area or with an ethics/professionalism theme. Courthouse Liaison: Coordinates the relationship between the MCB and the Courthouse. Subcommittees include Access Courthouse, which reviews the process for lawyers to have access cards to enter through the employees entrance and to obtain entrance on some of the back hallways; Court Funding, which discusses specific court funding needs; and Courthouse Facility, which discusses specific issues pertaining to the courthouse facility as needed. Special Committee on Diversity: Coordinates the MCB’s efforts to increase and retain the diversity in its membership. Lawyer Referral Service: Oversees the ABAapproved program that refers people who can afford to pay for services with an experienced MCB attorney for a reduced consultation fee. Professionalism, Lawyer Life and Culture: Seeks to enhance and support the Mecklenburg County legal community through the active development and promotion of educational programs, resources, and mentoring relationships to facilitate healthy, collaborative, rewarding, and service-oriented professional lives and culture among its members. Volunteer Lawyer Program: Oversees the program that assists in providing volunteers for legal service organizations and the SelfServe Center; administers the Pro Bono for Nonprofits Program and the Wills and Estates Program.

Event Committees Bar History: Responsible for overseeing the process of archiving the MCB’s history and celebrating the MCB’s centennial in 2012. Law & Society: Arranges a speaker of interest to the public and the legal profession for the annual Law & Society Luncheon, which includes the presentation of the Ayscue Professionalism Award that recognizes a current or former MCB member for exemplary professionalism through outstanding service to the MCB and the community. Event proceeds benefit the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation. Law Day: Arranges for the celebration of the annual Law Day event held each year on or about May 1 and selects the Liberty Bell Award that honors a nonlawyer in the community for contributing to the promotion of freedom under the law. Lawyers’ Luncheon Series: Arranges for a series of monthly MCB luncheons designed to enhance cohesiveness among MCB members. Medical/Legal: Encourages understanding and cooperation between the members of the MCB and the members of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society, and is responsible for periodic evaluation and revisions to the Medical/Legal Guidelines. Memorials: Arranges and provides memorial services in open court when the families of deceased attorneys desire them. Social/Sports: Oversees the social and sports functions of the MCB and arranges the execution of these annual events, which include a basketball league, a softball league, and a golf tournament. The committee also plans the MCB’s Holiday Party and Annual Meeting.

Planning and Operations Committees Finance & Operations: Prepares and monitors the MCB’s annual budget, including all program areas and income-producing services. Future MCB/MBF Center: Responsible for planning future location/expansions of the Bar Center in accordance with needs. A joint MCB and MBF committee. Strategic Planning: Oversees the strategic planning process, develops a plan for Board approval, and recommends updates as needed.

MCB Committees Interest Form Please indicate your interest in volunteering for a committee(s) by selecting with up to three choices by order of preference (1 – 3). ___ Advertising and Sponsorship

___ Finance & Operations

___ Medical/Legal

___ Authorized Practice of Law

___ Future MCB/MBF Center

___ Memorials

___ Bar History

___ Grievance

___ Professionalism, Lawyer Life and Culture

___ Bar Leadership Institute

___ Indigent Representation

___ Social/Sports

___ Communications

___ Judicial Nominating

___ Special Committee on Diversity

___ Community Outreach

___ Law & Society

___ Strategic Planning

___ Continuing Legal Education

___ Law Day

___ Volunteer Lawyer Program

___ Courthouse Liaison

___ Lawyer Referral Service

___ Fee Dispute Resolution

___ Lawyers’ Luncheon Series

Name _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Firm/Organization ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Phone____________________________________ Fax _____________________________________________________________________________________


July 2009

Summer School Supply Drive in Effect Community Charter School - but it does not mean that it is time to relax for the Community Schools Project of the Bar’s Community Outreach Committee. This time of year is when the Bar encourages its members to begin collecting and storing school supplies for distribution to the schools. Our partner schools are always in need of supplies for their students. Your donations of paper, pens, pencils, crayons, 3-ring binders, Kleenex tissue, rulers, age-appropriate reading books, spiral notebooks, copy paper, manila folders, backpacks, and similar supplies are greatly appreciated. Please drop your donations off at the Bar Center or contact staff liaison Mary Jordan Mullinax at 704/375-8624 or to arrange for pick-up. If you would like to make a financial donation to the School Supply Drive, please contact Mary Jordan to make arrangements. McGuireWoods LLP sponsored a Teacher Appreciation We will be distributing school Breakfast at Ashley Park Elementary School to thank the staff for their hard work this year. The teachers were very grateful, supplies the week of August 17th. and the Community Schools Project of the Bar’s Community Please consider spending the next few Outreach Committee thanks McGuireWoods for their generous weeks purchasing or setting aside some donation. Alice Cooper said it best – “School’s . . . out . . . for . . . Sum-mer!” With that in mind, the kids are free, the teachers are relieved, and parents now have some days to fill for their children. Summer may mean freedom for those staffing and attending Mecklenburg County Bar’s partner schools - Ashley Park Elementary School, Devonshire Elementary School, and the

Hatcher Law Group attorney Tonya Graser reads The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to a 2nd Grade Class at Devonshire Elementary School. Tonya participates in the Community Schools Project through the Bar’s Community Outreach Committee by reading once a week to the students. If you are interested in reading to students at Devonshire, or one of our other partner schools, please contact Mary Jordan Mullinax at 704/375-8624.

supplies for the needs of these schools and the students that attend them. Your generosity is sure to make the 2009-2010 school year start off on the right foot!

Congratulations to McAngus, Goudelock & Courie, LLC, winners of the 2008-09 MCB Basketball League Championship. A special thanks to Co-Commissioners Matt Arnold and Nick Allmon for all their hard work in organizing this year’s league.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MCB Golf Tournament: New Month, New Day, New Location, The date for the annual Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) Golf Tournament has been set for noon, Wednesday, August 26, 2009. Be one of the first to play the tournament at its newest location, Raintree Country Club. With its picturesque ponds and rolling terrain, players will enjoy the scenic beauty of the North Course, which entices players of all levels. Players will enjoy lunch and refreshments before a shotgun start at 1 p.m., as well as post-round hors d’oeuvres and a prize ceremony recognizing the winners. Last year’s prizes included gift certificates to Edwin Watts Golf and Fore the Links, free golf swing analyses, and a chance to win a new luxury car from Carolina Volkswagen for a hole-in-one. The MCB Golf Tournament is a long-established tradition of our Bar and is a terrific way for attorneys to develop relationships with their associates and colleagues. To that end, the Golf Committee will assign an A, B, C, and D player—each representing different handicaps or skill levels—to each fourperson team, which can include two people from the same firm. Please contact Leah Reed at or 704/375-8624, ext. 114 for more information. Space is limited, so register now. We look forward to seeing you on the fairways in August!

July 2009

2009 MCB Golf Tournament Registration Form (please fill out one form per player) Name____________________________________________________________________________________ ■ Male

■ Female

Firm name________________________________________________________________________________ Name of preferred teammate (one name only, please) _________________________________________ Address__________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail _______________________________________ Phone______________________________________ Fax__________________________________________ Handicap ___________________________________ If no handicap, last three 18-hole scores (within three years) ___________ ___________ _____________ ■ Tournament (includes reception):


■ Reception only OR guest attending reception (name): ___________________________________ $15

I’m enclosing a check payable to Mecklenburg County Bar TOTALING:__________________________ Please mail your registration form and check by 8/21/2009 to MCB GOLF TOURNAMENT, 438 Queens Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28207



In This Issue



Charlotte Women’s Bar..................................................6 Coffee Connections .......................................................6 U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer ..........................7 YLS..................................................................................8 Spring Swearing In.........................................................8 LRS Panel Member of the Year.....................................9 MCB Committees ........................................................10 School Supply Drive ....................................................11 MCB Golf Tournament ...............................................11


City Attorney’s Office Signs-On to Diversity Initiative...................................................................cover From the President .........................................................1 Annual Meeting Report.................................................1 Lawyers in the News ......................................................1 CLE .................................................................................2 Patrons Fund...................................................................3 Volunteer Spotlight........................................................4 Diversity Champion Award...........................................4 VLP Pro Bono Award Winners .....................................5

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Volume 36 No. 1

July 2009

enhancing diversity efforts among their managing structures; and encouraging attorney participation in sensitivity and diversity training. Furthermore, each Signatory and Public Endorser provides an annual report to the MCB regarding its hiring, retention and promotion practices. This empirical data is used to chart the progress made toward implementing the Initiative’s action plan and outlined objectives. Committed to the Diversity Initiative, the City Attorney’s Office will participate in the 2009 Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship (CLDC) — a twelve week internship opportunity for first-year minority law students. The CLDC students spend six weeks with a law firm and six weeks with a corporate legal department. This year, they will also work in the City Attorney’s Office for a day. As a Public Endorser, the City Attorney’s Office will continue to enhance and promote diversity within its workplace culture. “The City Council reflects the community, our workforce reflects the community, and the City Attorney’s Office must also reflect the community. Equal opportunity and diversity are core principles for the City of Charlotte,” said McCarley. The Diversity Initiative’s Advisory Group continues to solicit participation in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg General Counsel and Managing Partners Diversity Initiative from local legal entities. Law firms and legal departments interested in signing on as a Signatory or Public Endorser to the MCB Call to Action may contact Stephanie A. Marella, Diversity Coordinator at or 704/375-8624.

City Attorney’s Office Signs-On to Mecklenburg County Bar’s Diversity Initiative

The Charlotte City Attorney’s Office signed on as the first Public Endorser to the Mecklenburg County Bar’s (MCB) Call to Action of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg General Counsel and Managing Partners’ Diversity Initiative. As a Public Endorser, the City Attorney’s Office will join twenty local law firms and legal departments in a collective commitment to create a diverse community of lawyers. “The principles in the MCB Call to Action match well with the philosophy of the City of Charlotte; a true commitment to equal opportunity and a proven belief in the value of a diverse workforce,” said Dewitt “Mac” McCarley, Charlotte City Attorney. “To be effective, the values have to translate to the way the office runs. Diversity and inclusion have to be shared values among decision makers, veteran attorneys and new hires alike.” Since its inception, the Diversity Initiative has focused on increasing diversity within its private law firm and legal department Signatories. Recently, the Diversity Initiative Advisory Group recommended expanding the program’s scope to include public legal departments that will participate as Public Endorsers in the same capacity as their Signatory counterparts. The Advisory Group anticipates that the inclusion of Public Endorsers will better assist the Initiative in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting minority attorneys within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg legal market. Signatories and Public Endorsers achieve the Call to Action objectives by: establishing effective mentoring and leadership training programs; promoting, fostering, and

2009 - 2010 Member Dues are due July 31, 2009 July 2009

Mecklenburg Bar News - 7/09  
Mecklenburg Bar News - 7/09  

July 2009 edition