Page 1

September 2009

Volume 36 No. 3

From the President Social Networking – Do We Need to Tweet to Compete? When asked in a Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) survey conducted last summer what the Patrick E. Kelly, number one program or MCB President service the MCB could improve upon would be, 43% of respondents wanted the Bar to provide more networking opportunities. That’s right. Our Bar members actually want to spend more time with one another. Actually, this makes sense if you think about it. Over the past 15 years, the MCB has doubled in size from approximately 2,000 members to nearly 4,300 members. During this time, the geographical size of Mecklenburg County has also expanded exponentially. Attorneys have become more and more specialized, creating smaller sub-groups of attorneys who have less interaction with attorneys outside their specialty. There is no longer a “Law Building” where all the attorneys in Mecklenburg County can meet, greet and socialize. In short, opportunities for face-to-face contact with fellow attorneys has diminished dramatically and been replaced by less personal emails, and more recently texting and tweeting. The MCB is working to increase the networking opportunities of its members. Last year, under the able leadership of Committee Co-Chairs Sally Higgins and Doug Jarrell, the Bar instituted a Lawyers Luncheon Series. The Luncheon Series was a great success in its first year, and provides an excellent opportunity for attorneys to leave the office for an hour or so, meet old friends or make new friends, have a nice lunch, and listen to an engaging speaker. The MCB intends to continue this fine program again this year. I hope you will check it out. At some point in the near future, the MCB will outgrow its current facilities and will need to move to or build a new Bar Center. Although this is a daunting prospect, having a larger and more functional Bar Center raises all sorts of new possibilities for providing networking opportunities and social contacts. My wish list for a new Bar Center includes, among other things, an attorney lounge area where Bar members can sit, have a cup of coffee, network, socialize, or simply read the newspaper. In the age of twitter, the MCB would be short-sighted not to appreciate the significance of other forms of communication and networking. Since December 2006, the number of Facebook users has increased by 500 percent to over 250 million people. A quarter billion people now have Facebook profiles, including, no doubt, many MCB attorneys, mostly of more recent vintage. If our Bar does not recognize these new forms of social media, we are severely continued on page 4

September 2009

Authors of Bestselling Book, Picking Cotton, To Speak at Law & Society Luncheon BY PETE ANDERSON & CARL HORN III, LAW & SOCIETY COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS We are very pleased to announce that Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, co-authors of the bestselling book Picking Cotton, will be the keynote speakers for the 20th annual Law & Society Luncheon on Thursday, November 19, 2009 at the Uptown Hilton Hotel. The story behind Picking Cotton is both moving and dramatic. It begins with the violent 1984 rape of 22 year old college student, Jennifer ThompsonCannino who was convinced that the man she identified from a police lineup, Ronald Cotton, was her assailant. Tried, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment, Cotton served 11 years in North Carolina’s Central Prison in Raleigh – until DNA testing proved that he was innocent of the crime of which he stood convicted. Twelve years after discovering the error that had sent an innocent man to prison, Ms. ThompsonCannino and Mr. Cotton co-authored a book which landed on the New York Times Bestseller List in less than a month. Their story is more than another example of the potential unreliability of eyewitness testimony, or the conviction of an innocent man. It is a moving personal story of apology and forgiveness. The close friendship that develops between the “accuser” and the “accused” puts this real-life drama in a class of its own.

Publisher’s Weekly described the book as “riveting,” Studs Terkel as “remarkable…powerful…a MUST read.” Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking, writes that Picking Cotton “will break your heart and lift it up again,” and Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project hails the message as “compelling and profound.” The authors have appeared on the Today Show, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and 60 Minutes. You may visit to learn more. The 20th annual Law & Society Luncheon will include the presentation of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation’s highest honor, the Ayscue Professionalism Award. Past award winners have included NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker and Joseph W. Grier Jr. Please mark your calendars for what is bound to be a very memorable event. The annual Law & Society Luncheon gives lawyers an opportunity to enjoy good fellowship and an inspiring message, and to support the good work of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation. We also encourage you to bring along nonlawyer friends and colleagues because this is one of the rare Bar and Bar Foundation events open to the public. For more information on firm sponsorships or how you can help promote this year’s event and/or support the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, please contact Pete Anderson or Carl Horn (both at 704-372-7370) or Events Coordinator Leah Reed at

2009–10 MCB MBF Law & Society Luncheon Registration $35/person Lunch only $75/person Lunch and 1-hour CLE credit (CLE credit PENDING, visit for details) Name___________________________________________________________________________________ Company name __________________________________________________________________________ Address_________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail __________________________________________________________________________________ Phone _____________________________________Fax__________________________________________

I am enclosing a check payable to Mecklenburg County Bar TOTALING ______________ Please mail your registration form and check by 11/12/09 to Law & Society Luncheon, 438 Queens Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28207

Nominations Sought for Professionalism Award Nominations are being sought for the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation’s 2009 Ayscue Professionalism Award. The award will be presented at the Law & Society Luncheon on November 19, 2009 The Ayscue Professionalism Award recognizes exemplary professionalism, as broadly defined. Criteria may include one or more of the following: • Outstanding service through or on behalf of the Mecklenburg County Bar or the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation for the benefit of the legal community or the community at large.

Substantial and significant service to the community, to the Bar, or to the justice system, whether on the basis of lifetime contributions or a specific project.

Embodiment of the traits to which all attorneys should aspire: high ethical standards, model conduct, unquestioned integrity, and consistent competence.

Nominations should be sent by Friday, October 16, 2009, to Nancy Roberson, Executive Director, Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, 438 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207.


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 at the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) Center, local sites, and even at your own office. You can also view our online programs right at your desk–24/7. Our programs are competitively priced with rarely any additional longdistance travel expenses. 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.

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. The MCB endorses Education Over the Net as our online hosting service. Customer service line 800/5906867.

Annual Pass Purchase a CLE Annual Pass for $695 and get up to 24 hours of CLE credits. Program materials are yours at no additional cost and State Bar CLE fees are paid for you. After you have reached the 24 hour limit, you may purchase additional CLE courses for $30 an hour. Valid from 7/1/09 to 6/30/10. The CLE Annual Pass does not include online programming or courses running more than 12 hours in length. Non-transferable.

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, Mike Daisley, Alan Edmonds, Will Esser, Jon Goldberg, Allison Karp, Charles Keller, Rhea Kelley, John Lassiter, Phillip Lewis, Nancy Roberson, Michael Shor, Russ Traw


Live Programs Why Using ADR For Resolving Disputes Can Be Your Best Option CLE Credit: 2.5 General and 0.5 Ethics hours Wednesday, September 9, 2009 Date: Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Location: MCB Center $175 attorney rate; Fees: $90 paralegal rate Understanding the Basics and Practicalities of Real Estate Commission Law and Rules–Sponsored by the MCB Real Property Section CLE Credit: 3.0 General hours Date: Thursday, September 10, 2009 Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Location: MCB Center Fees: $175 attorney rate; $150 MCB Real Property Section Member; $75 paralegal Residential and Commercial LandlordTenant Law 2009–Practical & Ethical Concerns CLE Credit: 3.0 General and 1.0 Ethics hours Date: 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 Video replay dates at the MCB 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 Diversity Initiatives for the Legal Profession in Charlotte CLE Credit: 1.75 Ethics hours Date: Thursday, 17, 2009 Time: Registration 3:00 p.m. Program: 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Location: Hilton Charlotte Center City Fees: $20 participant rate Code Enforcement: 2009 Code Changes & Technology Process Improvements CLE Credit: 10.0 General hours Dates: Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24, 2009 Time: Registration 7:30 a.m. Program: 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. each day Location: Hal Marshall Bldg., 700 N. Tryon Street Fees: TBD The Rise of Corporate Compliance Sponsored by the MCB Criminal Law and Corporate Counsel Sections CLE Credit: 1.0 General hour Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 Time: Registration 11:30 a.m. Program: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Location: McGuireWoods Fees: $75 attorney rate; $35 paralegal rate

New Lawyer Orientation/Courthouse 101 Sponsored by the MCB Young Lawyers Section CLE Credit: 3.0 General hours + 1.0 Ethics hour Date: Thursday, October 2, 2009 Registration 8:30 a.m. Time: Program: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Location: TCA Training Room 4th floor, Charlotte Mecklenburg Courthouse Fees: $175 Attorney rate; $ 135 MCB Young Lawyer/New admittee rate; $75 paralegal rate Keys for Successful Trust Account Practices CLE Credit: 2.0 General hours Thursday, October 8, 2009 Date: Time: Registration 12:00 p.m. Program: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Location: MCB Center $125 attorney rate; Fees: $60 paralegal rate Just Because You’re a Lawyer…Doesn’t Make You Interesting CLE Credit: 3.0 General hours Thursday, October 15, 2009 Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Location: TCA Training Room 4th floor, Charlotte Mecklenburg Courthouse Fees: $175 attorney rate; $75 paralegal rate Conservation Easements CLE Credit: 3.0 General hours Date: Friday, November 13, 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 9th Banking and Finance Forum CLE Credit: 6.0 General hours Date: Friday, November 20, 2009 Time: Registration 8:30 a.m. Program: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Location: International Trade Center Fees: $295 Attorney Rate; $135 Paralegal Rate 2010 Annual Review CLE Credit: 12.0 Total hours (8.0 General; 3.0 Ethics and 1.0 Mental Health/Substance Abuse) Dates: Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13, 2010 Time: Registration 30 minutes prior to program start Program: Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Location: TBA Fees: $545 attorney rate; $275 paralegal rate

September 2009

Fellowships Support Local Public Interest Organizations

Join the Lawyer Referral Service The LRS Office receives more than 30 client calls each day. Take advantage of our client screening and referral service, become an LRS panel member. Annual membership is only $150.00. Contact Mary Jordan Mullinax at or 704/375-8624 ext. 115 to receive an application.

2009 McMillan Fellows (front row left to right): Lila Riley; Ashley Morris; Miranda Mills; (back row left to right) Brent Shultheis; Laura McDonald; Laura Niedosik; and Natasha Sanday.

BY RANDEL E. PHILLIPS, MCMILLAN COMMITTEE CHAIR Seven promising law students, each awarded a 2009 McMillan Fellowship, enjoyed hands-on experience in public interest law this summer. The annual Fellowships, awarded by the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, honor the legacy of the late U.S. District Judge James B. McMillan. The seven McMillan Fellows were selected based on their academic record, past experience, interest in practicing public interest law in the Charlotte area and the hiring agency’s summer work program. The public interest law agencies that hosted 2009 McMillan Fellows included the Council for Children’s Rights (CCR); the U.S. Attorney’s Office; International House; Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (LSSP); and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. Laura McDonald worked on the CCR’s Individual Advocacy Team, one of five CCR teams in operation. Laura stated that the CCR staff displayed a sincere dedication and heartfelt commitment to their work that enriched her Fellowship experience. McDonald’s time at CCR was allocated to resolution meetings with clients and civil dealings. Miranda Mills worked at the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, spending most of her time in misdemeanor court. She assisted in case matters ranging from probation violations to assaults, as well as traffic court. She said her experience provided a continually changing environment, and that she appreciated a summer without billable hours. Mills went on to say her time at the District Attorney’s office gave her a greater consideration for the issues people face in their day-to-day lives. Ashley Morris, a rising 2L at the University of North Carolina School of Law with a specific interest in immigration law, worked under the supervision of immigration attorney Anne Crotty at the International House. Morris said her experience at International House was sobering. She spoke of the seriousness of immigration work, realizing her clients were depending on her to preserve their status. Laura Niedosik, a rising 3L at the Charlotte School of Law, provided support for LSSP’s unemployment benefit hearings. The majority of her time was allocated to interviewing individuals denied unemployment assistance. When asked what had surprised her about the experience she described the astonishing number of persons without basic resources. Many of her clients did not have adequate access to such basics as telephones and transportation; an eye opening realization for Niedosik. Lila Riley, a rising 3L at the Elon School of Law, provided research and writing assistance to supervising attorneys at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She also spent time in Asheville for the beginning of a federal hearing. She noted that her experience solidified her plans to work in a government or public agency.

September 2009

Natasha Sandy, a rising 3L at the Appalachian School of Law, assisted with LSSP’s tax clinic. Her clients were primarily low-income individuals needing assistance to stay in their homes or reduce their liabilities. Sandy said prior to her fellowship she had never worked extensively with taxes. Through this Fellowship, she gained tremendous confidence in herself and an appreciation for the support of colleagues. Brent Shultheis, a rising 2L at University of Virginia School of Law, said his time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office offered exposure that has been absent from his formal legal education. He described his experiences working on appellate briefs, and the enjoyment he received contributing to diverse assignments. Shultheis said he admired the compassion of the attorneys with whom he worked. The Fellows, along with their supervisors, were recognized at a dinner hosted by the McMillan Fund Committee at the home of Committee member Maria G.B. Long and her husband Rob Smith on June 24. Committee members recounted memories of Judge McMillan from a time when– in committee member Osborne E. Ayscue Jr.’s words– “all of the lawyers in Mecklenburg County knew one another.” The stories, often inspiring and funny, filled Long’s home with laughter while illustrating the work and principles of Judge McMillan. During dinner, the Fellows reported on their summer work experiences. The McMillan Fellowships are funded, in large part, by the proceeds from the annual McMillan Dinner, a collaborative effort by the McMillan Fund Committee and the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Special Committee on Diversity. The McMillan Fund Committee would like to thank Compass Group USA, Inc.; Goodrich Corporation; Moore & Van Allen; Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson; the Charlotte School of Law; and the many individual contributors for their support of the 2009 McMillan Fellowships.

Mecklenburg County Bar Membership Directory Feature Your Firm in the Blue Pages by September 30, 2009 More than 5,000 MCB Directories are distributed each year. Attorneys listed in the blue pages or “Areas of Concentration” under their specialized area of law are at the fingertips of their colleagues needing to make a referral. List your first area of concentration for $100, each additional specialty is only $25, identify your listings with a specific foreign languages for only $25. Visit for an order form.

Update Your Contact Information by October 30, 2009 Please update your contact information if it has changed. You may log-in to your account on to confirm and/or edit your current contact information or email Jill Wiggins at All changes must be made by October 30, 2009 to be reflected in the MCB 200910 Membership Directory.


Fall Swearing In Ceremony Thursday, October 1, 2009 Registration: 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Swearing In Ceremony: 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Signing of Oaths: 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Reception: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Location: Marriott City Center Visit for details and registration information.

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MCB Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan Thompson and Molina Arena-Randall programs because it offers so many benefits to both firms and their summer associates. For firms, it’s a great way to give back to their community and give their summer associates meaningful work. For summer associates, it is an excellent opportunity to get involved with the community and take on more responsibility. My pro bono experience has involved a lot of interaction with the client which has been really beneficial from both a professional and social perspective. I have been able to take ownership over the project which has increased my confidence, and I really feel like I am making a difference. In turn, my firm has been able to evaluate a wider range of my abilities and participate within the local community. It has been a really wonderful process for everyone involved.

BY JACKIE A. FOGARTIE Ryan Thompson (RT) and Molina ArenaRandall (MAR) are two summer associates who provide a unique perspective on handling pro bono cases. In May, their supervising attorney contacted the MCB to coordinate a pro bono opportunity through the Volunteer Lawyer Program.We wish them luck during their final year of law school! MCB VLP: Law School / Expected Law School Graduation Year RT: Duke University School of Law / 2010 MAR: Vanderbilt Law School / 2010 MCB VLP: Summer Employer RT & MAR: Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP MCB VLP: How did you get involved in pro bono work this summer? RT & MAR: Joseph Barnette served as the pro bono liaison for Cadwalader’s summer associate program. He worked with Lois Grossman and Rabia Javaid at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont to find a project that could be completed during a 12-week summer program. MCB VLP: What is a typical case like? RT: For the Simple Wills Program, prospective clients complete end-of-life planning questionnaires and submit them to Legal Services of Southern Piedmont. The Legal Services staff coordinates with local volunteers to find attorneys who are willing to accept cases and work with clients in need. The preparation of these documents requires a significant amount of attorney-client communication and provides opportunities to work closely with clients who may otherwise have gone unrepresented. MCB VLP: What is your hope for the future with regard to these cases? MAR: It is my hope that we are providing an important and continuing source of confidence and empowerment for people who could not otherwise afford to have simple wills and end of life planning documents produced. I hope that we are giving our clients a lasting sense of security and the comfort that their wishes will be respected and their instructions will be followed. MCB VLP: How can the Mecklenburg County legal community help with similar cases?

Molina Arena-Randall and Ryan Thompson

RT: The staff at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont has been indispensable in organizing this effort. Rabia Javaid, the LSSP’s Volunteer Coordinator, may be contacted at (704) 971-4788. MCB VLP: What is the best advice you’ve received during your summer associate experience? RT: Beginning with my first day at Cadwalader, my proximity to the legal community has continually reminded that the legal profession is a client service industry in which giving the client what he needs is the absolute priority. Applying that principle to the public sector is doubly rewarding; it yields not only the pleasure of being a legal professional, but also a great personal blessing to be well-placed to give valuable services to people in need. MAR: Pay attention to details, it is one of the fundamental aspects of providing excellent legal services. MCB VLP: From listening to your client’s needs to drafting legal documents, the difference is always in the details. What advice would you give others about having summer associates participate in pro bono work? RT: Do it! It is definitely a great experience; in addition to working directly with clients who are excited to receive your services and eager to assist in any way possible, you are getting hands-on experience and making a meaningful contribution to the community. MAR: I would strongly recommend to every firm to incorporate pro bono work into their summer

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MCB VLP: What is your favorite part of your current job? RT: I feel that my experience with this pro bono work has rounded out my perception of the practice of law. The range of ways in which we can offer services to the community is very broad (and the corresponding rewards are rich) once we step outside our comfort zones to help people. MAR: The diverse exposure to interesting and meaningful legal work brings new types of projects, new topics, and new challenges. It is an exciting opportunity to grow intellectually and professionally. MCB VLP: Any other pertinent things you would like to share with the Mecklenburg County Bar and legal community? RT: Using your talents to provide a valuable service to people in need is refreshing and exciting. In addition to helping members of the community who may not otherwise have been able to secure legal representation, it is a personally enriching experience. If you are interested in learning more about the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Volunteeer Lawyer Program, contact Mary Jordan Mullinax at

From the President

cont’d from page 1

limiting our ability to “reach out and touch.” Our Young Lawyers Section has a Facebook page. Before long, other sections will begin having their own Facebook pages, and I suspect that the MCB will soon get in on the action. However, for those of you who are not yet ready or inclined to jump into this brave new world, you can still learn all about what MCB is doing and how you can get involved the old-fashioned way by logging onto our website at or, heaven forbid, by reading The Mecklenburg Bar News. Better yet, stop by the Bar Center, introduce yourself, and get engaged. You may be surprised by what you learn. I confess that I am still betwixt, between and befuddled by all of the tweeting and twittering going on. But I recognize that the MCB has an obligation to stay current and relevant to its members and that we cannot do so unless we can effectively communicate with them. So as I and the MCB venture into unchartered waters to better serve our members and the public, we ask for you encouragement, your assistance and your patience.

September 2009

Notice: Court Camp Offers Unique Opportunity for Youths North Carolina State Bar Election

BY CHARLES KELLER, JR., COMMUNITY ACCESS & OUTREACH ADMINISTRATOR Summertime is traditionally a time for students to enjoy their days away from the classroom. Many parents, however, enroll their children in summer day camps to keep them involved in productive and educational activities. Court Camp was designed to give children a first hand view of how the Mecklenburg County Courthouse and the court system operate on a daily and weekly basis. The Court Camp curriculum was created by the Trial Court Administrator’s Office several years ago for classroom use, incorporating all aspects of the judicial system from judicial independence to jury service to careers in the court system. The lesson plans were supplemented by courtroom observations and guest speakers, including a bailiff, deputy sheriff with the K-9 unit, courtroom clerk, interpreter, court reporter, and attorney. The participants observed the juror orientation process, and conducted a mock voir dire in an empty courtroom. They participated in a mock mediation session in the Alternative Dispute Resolution suite and observed a District criminal trial, Superior criminal trial and small claims court.

The presiding judges often spoke with the students and answered their questions. A behind-the-scenes tour of the courthouse included a trip to the Criminal and Civil Clerk’s Office to see the files, understand how they are categorized and learn how the public can access them. On the last day of Court Camp, Chief District Court Judge Lisa C. Bell (pictured above) spoke about the educational requirements to be a judge, how judges are selected in North Carolina, the role of the judge in the courtroom, and her role as Chief. She also talked about juvenile court and how it operates. As a culmination of what they learned, the students conducted a mock trial during which they acted in the various courtroom roles observed during the week. For the inaugural year of Court Camp, Justice Initiatives, Inc. provided a small grant to cover the cost of necessary camp supplies, including classroom materials, t-shirts, food and advertising. Participants paid a $15 registration fee. Most students enrolled were interested in pursuing a career in law, and those who were not indicated they might pursue a career in the legal field as a result of attending Court Camp. The feedback and experience from 2009 will be used to improve and possibly expand the 2010 program.

All active members of the Mecklenburg County Bar (the 26th Judicial District Bar) as reflected on the official records of the North Carolina State Bar are requested to take notice that an election will be held to fill six seats on the State Bar Council effective January 1, 2010. One seat is currently held by Nelson M. Casstevens Jr. who is not eligible for re-election. The following incumbents are eligible for re-election: David N. Allen, eligible to serve two additional three-year terms; Robert J. Bernhardt, eligible to serve two additional three-year terms; Ronald L. Gibson, eligible to serve one additional three-year term; Mark W. Merritt, eligible to serve one additional three-year term; and F. Fincher Jarrell, eligible to serve two additional three-year terms. The election will be held by mail pursuant to 27 N.A.C.A. 1A, Section .0800 of the Rules of the North Carolina State Bar. Any member wishing to nominate a candidate for councilor must submit that nomination in writing to the President of the 26th Judicial District/Mecklenburg County Bar, Patrick E. Kelly, at 438 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207 on or before October 1, 2009. Nominations received after that date will not be on the official ballot. Official printed ballots will be mailed to each active member on or before October 22, 2009 and must be returned to the Mecklenburg County Bar Center on or before November 4, 2009, in order to be counted. Under the Rules of the State Bar, the election of each councilor must be by majority of the ballots cast. In the event of a runoff, the election will be held on January 6, 2010, and you will be officially notified.

Mecklenburg County Hispanic Latino Lawyers Bar BY MAX DIAZ, PRESIDENT OF THE MECKLENBURB COUNTY HISPANIC LATINO LAWYERS BAR The Mecklenburg County Hispanic Latino Lawyers Bar (MCHLLB) was formed out of the need to increase diversity in the legal profession. Our mission is to encourage Latinos to pursue a career in the law, advise the legal profession on issues of interest related to Latinos, educate the Latino community about relevant legal issues, advance our members’ professional development and preserve

high standards of integrity, honor and professional courtesy among our peers. To carry out our mission, the MCHLLB established three committees: Mentoring, Professional Development and Community Outreach. Some highlights from this year’s events include: • Our active participation in the Mecklenurg County Bar’s “Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession” conference for high school and undergraduate students this past February;

A speaking engagement by our President, Max Diaz, at the Hispanic College Awareness Program’s college day at UNC Charlotte in April; and

An after work tapas spring social, which was well attended and provided an excellent networking opportunity.

Anyone interested in learning more about the MCHLLB is encouraged to contact Max Diaz at

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September 2009


2009-10 Committee & Section Chairs The Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) has 6 overall goals that guide our programs, services and offerings. 1) To promote the highest standards of professionalism, competence, and ethical behavior among its members; 2) To promote the administration of justice; 3) To assure access to legal services consistent with ethical

consideration to all regardless of social, ethnic or economic status; 4) To promote public education in the community on legal issues, the Bar and the legal system; 5) To provide its members educational and support services to promote the delivery of competent ethical legal services; and

Event Committees (continued)

Regulatory Committees Authorized Practice of Law Chair: Christopher J. Loebsack

Fee Dispute Resolution Co-Chair: Edward S. Shapack Co-Chair: Richard S. Wright

Grievance Chair: Marc S. Gentile

Indigent Representation Chair: Mark P. Foster

Judicial Nominating Co-Chair: Richard A. Elkins Co-Chair: Martin L. White

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.


Mediates and arbitrates fee disputes pursuant to RPC 2.6. Committee members/panelists must have mediation experience or be DRC-certified mediators.


Receives and investigates complaints from the public on ethical matters and handles each in accordance with the NCSB Rules of Professional Conduct.

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. Coordinates the balloting process of the MCB for choosing candidates to submit to the North Carolina governor in filling district court judge vacancies.

Chair: Raymond E. Owens Jr.

Co-Chair: Jonathan E. Buchan Jr. Co-Chair: George V. Hanna III

Social/Sports Co-Chair: Matthew R. Arnold Co-Chair: John C. Nipp

Finance & Operations Chair: Maria Blue Minsker

Future MCB/MBF Center

Membership Services and Programs Committees Bar Leadership Institute

Encourages lawyers in the development of their leadership skills in the legal profession. A joint MCB and MBF Committee.


Develops the communication process among members of the MCB through publications including the monthly newsletter, website, other electronic communications, legal directory, and updates to the MCB Handbook.

Strategic Planning

Develops, implements, and oversees all CLE programs for the MCB in conformance with the rules of the North Carolina State Bar CLE Board. Committee members are requested to plan one CLE training in a practice area or with an ethics/professionalism theme.

Practice Sections

Communications Chair: Tricia Morvan Derr

Continuing Legal Education Co-Chair: John Reis Co-Chair: Heather Culp

Courthouse Liaison Co-Chair: Robert C. Stephens Co-Chair: Nelson M. Casstevens Jr.

Lawyer Referral Service Co-Chair: David H. Strickland Co-Chair: Lauren M. Vaughn

Coordinates the relationship between the MCB and the Courthouse. Subcommittees include Access Courthouse, Court Funding, and Courthouse Facility.

Oversees the ABA-approved program that refers people who can afford to pay for legal services with an experienced MCB attorney for a reduced consultation fee

Professionalism, Lawyer Life & Culture Seeks to enhance and support the Mecklenburg County legal community, through the active development and promotion of educational programs, resources, and mentoring relationships in order to facilitate healthy, collaborative, rewarding, and service-oriented professional lives and culture among its members. Special Committee on Diversity

Co-Chair Albert Diaz Co-Chair: Valecia M. McDowell

Volunteer Lawyer Program Co-Chair: Erika A. Olson Co-Chair: Sean F. Perrin

Chair: John W. Lassiter

Co-Chair Carla N. Archie Co-Chair Robert C. Dortch

Business Law Chair: TBA

Civil Litigation Co-Chair Natalie D. Potter Co-Chair James C. Smith

Corporate Counsel Chair: Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe

Co-Chair: Selina M. Brooks Co-Chair: W. Lewis Glenn III

Examines the extent to which MCB and legal entities have successfully incorporated lawyers from traditionally underrepresented groups. Addresses matters related to diversity and inclusion; and proposes methods for measuring the success of efforts to address these issues. Connects MCB members with pro bono opportunities in legal service organizations and the SelfServe Center; administers the Pro Bono for Nonprofits Program and the Wills and Estates Program.

Criminal Justice Co-Chair: Robert K. Corbett III Co-Chair: Jonathan A. Vogel

Estate Planning & Probate Co-Chair: Melissa L. Gray Co-Chair: Bradley T. Van Hoy

Family Law Co-Chair: Rebecca K. Watts Co-Chair: J. Huntington Wofford

Event Committees Bar History Co-Chair: Mark R. Bernstein Co-Chair Ray S. Farris

Law & Society Co-Chair: Pete Anderson Co-Chair: Carl Horn III

Law Day Co-Chair: Lois W. Colbert Co-Chair: Michael A. Hudson

Lawyers’ Luncheon Series Co-Chair: Sara W. Higgins Co-Chair: Douglas M. Jarrell

Coordinates the process of archiving the MCB’s history and celebrating the MCB’s centennial in 2012.

Immigration & Nationality

Arranges a speaker of interest to the public and the legal profession for the annual Law & Society Luncheon, including 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.

Real Property

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 non-lawyer in the community for contributing to the promotion of freedom under the law.

Sole Practitioner/Small Firm

Arranges for a series of monthly MCB luncheons designed to enhance cohesiveness among MCB members.


Co-Chair: Anne L. Crotty Co-Chair: Elizabeth R. Edwards Chair: Erika Erlenbach

Chair: N. Renee Hughes

Chair: Stanton P. Geller

Young Lawyers

More information on Committees and Practice Sections, including how to get involved, available at

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. Arranges and provides memorial services in open court when the families of deceased attorneys desire them.

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

Co-Chair: Pender R. McElroy Co-Chair: William H. McMullen Jr.

Co-Chair: Aretha V. Blake Co-Chair: J. Melissa Woods

6) To increase involvement of all sectors of the legal profession in the Mecklenburg County Bar. These goals are carried out by the work of volunteer committees and sections. Thank you to the 2009-10 committee and section chairs. These volunteers lend their time and expertise to guide our committees and sections in further advancing the MCB’s mission.

Chair: Amy B. Foxhall

Prepares and monitors the MCB’s annual budget, including all program areas and income-producing services.

Plans future location/expansions of the Bar Center in accordance with needs. A joint MCB and MBF committee.

Prepares slate of officers, members of the Board of Directors and ABA delegate for consideration of membership.

Oversees the strategic planning process, develops a plan for Board approval, and recommends updates as needed.

Offers informational and educational opportunities to business lawyers across a broad range of substantive areas, including banking, corporations, and commercial law. Provides networking opportunities to its members in order to further the development of business lawyers in Mecklenburg County. Offers an annual CLE on litigation skills, effective advocacy, electronic discovery, litigation practice specialties, mediation and arbitration skills. Promotes collegiality between the bench and Bar by hosting semi-annual luncheons with local, state and federal judges. Hosts programs on problems of common interest, including corporation and antitrust law, attorney-client privilege, governmental regulation, law department administration and relations with outside counsel. Membership is limited to attorneys employed full-time in a corporation’s law department or in any executive, capacity. Recognizes and addresses issues affecting all participants in the criminal justice system through educational programs on criminal procedure, divergent ethical obligations, and heavy caseloads that include both domestic and civil cases. Plans educational programs about substantive and procedural laws governing trusts, probate estates, guardianships, conservatorships and matters affecting estate planning and administration. Hosts luncheons to promote collegiality among section members and Mecklenburg County estate clerks. Keeps members informed of the ongoing changes and trends in the practice of family law in Mecklenburg County by planning monthly lunch and learn CLE programs. Works with the Family Court Administrator to inform family law attorneys of new legislation and court procedures. Provides opportunities for attorneys practicing immigration law to discuss issues they face in everyday practice. Collaborates with other practice sections to educate attorneys on immigration issues. Participates in Citizenship Workshops in conjunction with International House and the Latin American Coalition. Meets quarterly to discuss issues regarding real estate, housing, and land use practitioners. Provides information to Section and MCB members on legislative, finance, zoning, land-use laws, legal opinions, and landlord-tenant relations. Holds monthly luncheons with guest speakers to provide Section members the opportunity to network and discuss valuable lessons in maintaining a solo or small firm. Topics of interest include financial management, best hiring practices, employee benefits, immigration law, maintaining a small firm in a recession, and more. Offers educational programs on federal and local tax issues, including presentations by leading practitioners and key government officials in the field. Hosts roundtable discussions to provide networking and social opportunities while engaging in thoughtful conversation regarding current tax law issues. Consists of MCB members who are 36 years of age and under or members who are in their first three years of practice in Mecklenburg County. Stimulates interest and encourages participation of young lawyers in purposes/objectives of MCB. Offers social, community, and law-related activities.

M a j o r, Lindsey & Africa


Attorney Search Consultants


September 2009

Lawyers’ Luncheon Series Your Bar invites you to join your colleagues at a regular monthly lunch meeting to eat, socialize, and hear some brief remarks from a speaker. These luncheons will take place on the second Thursday of every month at First Presbyterian Church (200 W. Trade Street) from 12:15–1:15 p.m. The cost will be $10 per person ($11 if registering online). The Bar Luncheon Series Committee welcomes your suggestions for speakers and programs to offer in the future. For suggestions and/or more information about the luncheons, please contact Co-Chair Sally Higgins at, Co-Chair

Doug Jarrell at, or Events Coordinator Leah Reed at Speakers will be announced at and your weekly Bar Blasts. Luncheon Series Schedule for 2009–10 Date Registration Deadline September 10, 2009 September 4, 2009 October 8, 2009 October 2, 2009 November 12, 2009 November 6, 2009 December 8, 2009 December 1, 2009 February 5, 2010 February 11, 2010 March 5, 2010 March 11, 2010

MCB October Luncheon Registration Each luncheon is $10 per attorney October speakers will be Charlotte mayoral candidates Name___________________________________________________________________________________ Firm name_______________________________________________________________________________ E-mail __________________________________________________________________________________ Phone _____________________________________Fax__________________________________________

I am enclosing a check payable to Mecklenburg County Bar TOTALING ______________ For the 10/8/09 luncheon, please mail your registration form and check before 10/2/09 to MCB Luncheon Series, 438 Queens Road, Charlotte, North Carolina 28207


continued from cover

The NC IOLTA program is a case in point. Both LSSP and LANC receive significant funding from NC IOLTA. Thus far in 2009, NC IOLTA has experienced a precipitous decline in income in comparison with last year. While NC IOLTA has a reserve account that may keep grants constant for 2010, decreased funds in lawyers’ trust accounts and reduced interest rates paid by the banks holding those accounts may result in slashed grants for 2011. Not surprisingly, reductions in funding from other sources and anticipated funding reductions for 2010 have translated into cutbacks for legal-aid groups. According to Schorr, LSSP is “running very lean,� having been forced to eliminate three staff positions in April 2009. The good news, if there is any, is that the number of volunteers signing up to help out at LSSP and LANC has increased over the course of the past several months. Schorr believes this is due in part to Mecklenburg County lawyers recognizing and responding to the growing needs of the community. Nevertheless, space at LSSP and LANC is limited, and there is precious little room in the old, venerable office building to put volunteers to work—even people who want to work for free, according to Ted Fillette. “It is hard to say ‘no’ to someone who is about to lose her home,� said Ted. But with diminished funding to address a constantly growing demand, increasing numbers of people who are in need of legal services will be turned away.

Mecklenburg Bar Foundation

Patrons Fund BY RICHARD M. THIGPEN Did you know that the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation (MBF) is committed to providing services and support to Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) members as they face the economic hardships of the current recession, including crisis management, career counseling, and job search assistance? Did you know that our community’s at-risk populations – children, low-income citizens, immigrants, the unemployed and displaced – will benefit greatly from your contribution to the 2009 Patrons Fund Campaign? As members of the MCB, we should all do our part to support the MBF in its efforts to assist local organizations and programs that improve access to justice, education and legal development, and increase public awareness of jurisprudence. Johnston, Allison & Hord (JAH) understands that kind of impact. As the first firm to secure 100% participation, JAH is committed to setting an example for the rest of the legal community. Jim Allison, Managing Partner of JAH writes, “we too

support the MBF because we sympathize with nonprofit organizations that have a legal nexus, particularly those that are coping with rising demands for their services coupled with declining revenue sources.� If you are one of the 335 MCB members who have already made a gift or pledge, we thank you for your support. As of August 4th, you have raised 75% of the Campaign’s $125,000 goal. If you have not made a contribution, we still need your help! To make a pledge or gift online, visit 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 the MBF Patrons Fund, Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, 438 Queens Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207. All gifts and pledge-payments must be made by December 31st, 2009. Contribute 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 make other donation arrangements, please contact Stephen Belenky, or 704/375-8624.










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The Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program partners with the Council for Children’s Rights, LSSP, LANC, Pro Bono for Non-Profits, and the 26th Judicial District SelfServe Center. Contact Mary Jordan Mullinax at to get involved.


Family Based Immigration Non-Immigrant Employment Visas Immigration Court Representation Adjustment of Status & Immigration Waivers CHARLOTTE OFFICE 5806 Prosperity Road, Suite A2-125 Charlotte, NC 28269 Tel. (704) 614-9152 Email: *Admitted: NC & MA Member: Mecklenburg County Bar Association (MCB) Member: American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

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Ayscue Nominations Sought .................................1

Law & Society.........................................................1

From the President..................................................1

Non-Profits Affected By Recession ...............Cover

2009-10 Committee & Section Chairs .................6

Hispanic Latino Lawyers Bar .................................5

NC State Bar Election Notice ..............................5

Court Communiqués: Court Camp.......................5

Volunteer Spotlight ...............................................4


CLE Courses............................................................2

Luncheon Series......................................................7


McMillan Fellowships ...........................................3

MBF Patrons Fund..................................................7

In This Issue

MCB Membership Directory ................................3

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Volume 36 No. 3

September 2009

Not surprisingly, foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, and employment insurance claims are also on the rise. Nearly every type of service offered by LSSP and LANC has experienced a multiplied demand in recent months. Ken Schorr, the executive director of LSSP, estimates that the number of indigent or low-income people coming to LSSP and LANC since the onset of the economic downturn has increased approximately two-fold. Currently, about 200,000 people meet the eligibility requirements for legal services in Mecklenburg County. Ted Fillette is the senior managing attorney of LANC. He’s been in the trenches of non-profit legal services since 1973. One attorney who has known Ted for many years described him warmly as a “hand on the hog’s back” kind of guy, which means that Ted is not managing LANC from an ivory tower, but is instead on the ground level, doing the same drudge and toil that everyone else is doing at LANC. “Our clients are always in a recession,” noted Ted, reflecting on the effect of the depressed economy on the indigent community and the burgeoning number of people in need of legal services. “There are just more of them that are now our clients.” To give you a better idea of the problem, consider the following: the LANC office in Charlotte has seven lawyers on staff, and out of those seven, two of them are assigned to help all the low-income tenants in the county. In terms of numbers, this amounts to a daunting 50 new cases each month. The “increasing community need,” as Ted describes it, is only one result of the present economic situation. A related but perhaps more pressing result is the threat to existing funding for legal-aid programs. Current funding for legal non-profit organizations is under incredible stain. Nearly all sources of funding for non-profits have felt the oppressive weight of the recession, with most facing bleak prospects for 2010 and 2011. continued on page 7

Non-Profit Legal Services Affected By Recession


At the corner of N. Torrence Street and Elizabeth Avenue, right next to Leo’s Delicatessen, stands an unexceptional, mostly white brick building with blue cloth awnings and broad windows that don’t look like they can open from the inside. Apart from an admonition about unauthorized parking on its back wall, the only writing on the building is found on two modest black signs just above the street-side entrance: the northernmost sign reads “Legal Aid of North Carolina”; the southernmost reads “Legal Services of Southern Piedmont.” If this building could be accompanied by a soundtrack, the title song would be “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” Through the front door of this venerable yet aging building come many of Mecklenburg County’s unfortunate, impoverished souls seeking the help of a lawyer on a variety of topics; through the back door, guarded by a clunky push-button combination lock, trudge our Bar’s unsung and underpaid heroes. Somewhere in the middle, the two meet and an elusive ideal—justice—is pursued for those who could not hope to attain it by themselves. Occupying different floors of the same building, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (“LSSP”—curiously pronounced as “lisp” by the people who work there) and Legal Aid of North Carolina (“LANC”—pronounced as “lance”), offer legal services to indigent and eligible low-income people on a wide array of civil matters. Legal non-profit organizations, including LSSP, LANC, the Council for Children’s Rights, the McDowell Street Center for Family Law, and others, have historically struggled to meet a community need that all but eclipses the available resources. In today’s economy, these organizations are experiencing an even greater disparity between resources and demand. Low-income tenants threatened with eviction, or living in dangerous conditions, or battling vermin, for example, are seeking legal services in greater numbers than previous years.

September 2009

The Mecklenburg Bar News - 9/09  
The Mecklenburg Bar News - 9/09  

September 2009