wake bar flyer
branch Professionalism Award Stephen T. Smith of McMillan & Smith recognized for his professionalism • page 3 xxxIx No. 6 • November/December 2013
Message from the President: THOMAS H. DAVIS, JR.
This is my last column as President of the Wake County Bar Association and the 10th Judicial District Bar. As I end my term, I would like to share a couple of observations. First, it has been my honor to lead our two professional organizations. I have enjoyed every minute of my term. I thank you, the members of our Associations, for allowing me the privilege of serving. I have especially enjoyed working with the many fine members of our profession I would not otherwise have known but for this office. I must single out Davis our Director, Whitney von Haam and her excellent staff, for making me look more efficient and organized than I am. I must also recognize the support provided to me by our incoming President, Gray Styers. You chose well, and I look forward to his leadership. Secondly, current events have reinforced my opinion society is best served if attorneys are fully involved in political dialogue and civic leadership. From the shutdown in Washington, caused by both parties refusing to speak to each other, to “Moral Monday” demonstrations and counterdemonstrations, our state and Continued on Page 2
Notice of Election To All Members of the Tenth Judicial District Bar The officers THE OFFICERS of the Tenth Judicial District Bar and Wake County Bar Association hereby give notice pursuant to Article XII of the By-Laws of the North Carolina State Bar: 1. That the annual election of Officers and Directors will be held on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at the North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh at 12:15 p.m. Lunch will be served and the cost of lunch will be borne by the Tenth Judicial District Bar at no additional cost to members. The election is for the purpose of choosing Officers and Directors for both the Tenth Judicial District Bar and the Wake County Bar Association, State Bar Councilors representing the Tenth Judicial District Bar, and Badger-Iredell Foundation Board Members.There will not be an early voting option 2. The following Officers will be elected: President-elect, Treasurer, Secretary 3. The following Directors will be elected: 7 Directors (3-year term) Continued on Page 5 Biographical information on Candidates begins page 6
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Upcoming Events Tenth Judicial district Bar election meeting and luncheon December 3 | Join members of the Tenth Judicial District Bar at the Annual Meeting, beginning at 12:15 p.m. at the North Raleigh Hilton.
Inside this Issue...
3 • Steven T. Smith, 2013 pROFESSIONALISM AWARD WINNER 5 • A window into their times
6 • Candidates for Tenth Judicial district bar and Wcba elections 12 • Tenth Judicial District bar welcomes 69 attorneys 14 • Jenna Webb wins WCBA tennis title 15 • YLD News 15 • Welcome kristin athens 16 • CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU 18 • EMAIL AND PROFESSIONALISM 20 • HOLIDAY HELP 21 • BARCARES: A VALUABLE RESOURCE 23 • WCBA MEMBER NEWS
Visit our new website: www.wakecountybar.org 919.677.9903 phone 919.657.1564 fax
WAKE BAR FLYER xxxix No. 6 • November/october 2013 President, Wake County Bar Association thomas h. Davis, jr. President-elect m. gray styers, jr. Secretary Jennifer A. Morgan Treasurer deborah hildebran-bachofen Immediate Past President, Tenth Judicial District Bar theodore b. smyth Immediate Past President, Wake County Bar Assoc. theodore C. Edwards II Board of Directors Carmen H. Bannon P. Collins Barwick III Heidi C. Bloom Madison (Matt) E. Bullard, Jr. Ashley H. Campbell judge eric c. chasse Judge Lori G. Christian Michelle S. Cofield Howard J. Cummings Dean B. keith Faulkner Nancy L. Grace Daniel S. Johnson Thomas C. Kilpatrick mark A. la mantia E. Hardy Lewis damion L. McCullers Staci T. Meyer William W. Plyler stephanie gaston Poley theresa rosenberg Paul A. Suhr Thomas C. Worth, Jr. Young Lawyers Division Kathleen putiri ABA Delegate John I. Mabe Executive Director Whitney von Haam Wake Bar Flyer Editor Lucy Austin Tenth Judicial District Bar Councilors Nicholas J. (Nick) Dombalis theodore c. edwards ii John N. (Nick) Fountain David W. Long Donna R. Rascoe Sally H. Scherer John M. Silverstein Cynthia (Cindy) L. Wittmer © 2013 Wake County Bar Association & Tenth Judicial District Bar.
Message from the President, continued national leadership appear to have abandoned the concept of the honorable opposition. Instead of considering whether the opposing side may also have the best interests of society in mind (just a different method of arriving at it), the opposition is treated as an enemy to be publicly disparaged and derided. Political rhetoric which equates disagreement with evil intent and demonizes those who disagree is not new. What is new is the pervasiveness of this damaging rhetoric. The ugliness of our political discourse leads citizens to distrust and lose respect for our legal and governmental institutions. I believe we have arrived at this sad state, in part, because of a lack of attorney participation in elective government at the local, state and national level. Attorneys, with their knowledge of the law and sense of professionalism, can help provide the stabilizing influence needed for civilized political discourse and decision-making. In his recent appearance at the Bridge-the-Gap Program for recent admittees to the Wake County bar, former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, Jr. urged all new attorneys to consider running for public office. Our political system, he argued, needs the participation of individuals well-grounded in legal concepts as well as in appropriate professional demeanor. It is important that our political institutions operate as our legal ones are supposed to: fight the good fight against your opponent with as much skill and effort as you possess; recognize your opponent must do the same; remember the purpose of the dispute is to lead to some conclusion; and, in the end, remain respected colleagues and friends. It does not matter whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or have other political leaning, your participation in the process, as a member of our profession, can only make our system better, stronger and more civil. My grandfather was a “yellow dog Democrat,” truly a man who would vote for a yellow, cur dog as long as it was on the Democratic ballot. The summer following my first year of law school, I went to his house every Saturday morning. Approaching his ninetieth decade, he was slowly succumbing to cancer. He had lost the strength and energy to work in his yard, so I came over to mow and rake. After I finished working, we ate lunch together on the front porch and drank sweet tea. We would talk and listen to the baseball “Game of the Week” on the radio. One Saturday afternoon, our conversation turned to politics. It was the summer of the Watergate hearings. I asked my grandfather whom he thought was the greatest President during his lifetime. My grandfather did not hesitate. “Why, that would be Roosevelt of course,” he said. I told him I could certainly understand why and agreed with him. Roosevelt had pulled our country out of the Great Depression and successfully led our nation through World War II. “Yes, Franklin Roosevelt was a great President,” my Grandfather said, “but actually I was talking about his cousin, Teddy. Now Colonel Roosevelt was the greatest President I have ever known, and I would have voted for him too, if he hadn’t been a Republican.” This was true respect for an honorable opponent. WBF
WCBA’s Urban Ministries Food Drive
At the December 3 Tenth Judicial District Bar election luncheon at the North Raleigh Hilton, the WCBA Public Service Committee will be holding a food drive to benefit Urban Ministries of Wake County. Last year more than 100 lbs. of food was donated at the December luncheon. Let's try to make this year's goal 200 lbs! Did you know that there are more than 90,000 people living in poverty in Wake County, let's try to make a few families' holidays a little more happy and healthy. Watch your email for guidelines on specific food we are looking to collect. Contact Community Service Chair Nick Verna with questions, firstname.lastname@example.org. WBF
Next Bar Flyer Deadline: december 15, 2013 Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
2013 Joseph Branch Professionalism Award Recipient
Stephen T. Smith By William Plyler
Steve Smith Was born in Raleigh on August 26, 1947. He grew up on Poole Road and attended Enloe High long before it was a GT magnet school. Steve graduated from ECU in 1969. He served in the U.S. Army, Active Duty, from 1969-1971, and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant (E-5). He graduated in two years with honors from UNC-CH Law School, where he was on the Law Review. Steve is married to the Reverend Rachel Richardson Smith, who is the Chaplain at the Rex Hospital Cancer Center and the Pastor of Stanhope Baptist Church in Nash County. Steve and Rachel have four grown children: Jason, the chef-proprietor of 18 Seaboard, Cantina 18 and Harvest 18; Shelley, a fabric artist and graduate student at the NCSU School of Design; Eleanor, a modern dancer in New York City; and Tricia, a graduate student in the School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City. They also have a granddaughter, Sutton (5), and a grandson, Lawson (1). From 1973 until the present, Steve has been a partner with the firm of McMillan & Smith. He has defended every imaginable type of criminal case in state and federal court. Steve has represented 37 people charged with first degree murder, none of whom has been executed or is on death row. His white collar criminal practice has taken him all over the U.S. and to numerous countries, including Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates. Steve is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, N.C. Super Lawyers, and Business North Carolina Magazine’s Legal Elite and Legal Hall of Fame. Steve was President of the WCBA and Tenth Judicial District Bar in 1992 and was Chairman of the Tenth Judicial District Bar Grievance Committee (1988-1990). He has served as Chairman of the N.C. Bar Association Criminal Justice Section and as a member of the N.C. State Bar Disciplinary Hearing Commission. Steve was Chairman of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission from 2008-2013, after becoming a member of the EMC in 2005. He was awarded the Great Blue Heron Award by the Tar-Pamlico River foundation in 2013 for “outstanding long-term contributions to the protection of environmental quality in the Tar-Pamlico watershed.” He delivered the 2010 Commencement Address to the graduating class of the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Steve is a long-standing member of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. He has served as a Deacon, Chair of the Personnel Committee, Chair of the Capital Campaign, and Chair of the Cuba Mission Group. He led or co-led nine mission groups to Matanzas, Cuba. He was a founding board member of the Hope Center at Pullen, providing outreach to homeless people. He also worked three years as a volunteer part-time staff member of the N. C. Council of Churches and served briefly as its interim executive director. Space limitations do not permit a complete listing of Steve’s professional accomplishments and community service. Robert L. McMillan,
Steve’s law partner and the first recipient of the Joseph Branch Professionalism Award, says about Steve, “I have never known an attorney who has contributed more to the administration of justice and to the community at large than has Stephen T. Smith.” Though Steve’s accomplishments are impressive, even more impressive are his level of commitment to family and friends, his sense of Steven T. Smith humor and kind spirit, and his willingness to take whatever time is necessary to meet with, listen to, and help people who are hurting. In an effort to provide a glimpse into what makes him tick, I posed some questions to Steve. What does it mean to you to receive the Joseph Branch Professionalism Award? This award goes to the very heart of what I think being a lawyer is about, and so it’s very personal for me and means a great deal. Did you know Chief Justice Branch? Yes, but only because the Wake bar was much smaller then. He was a warm, friendly and accessible man. I would see him at bar functions and on the street or at lunch. I was often with people he knew whom he would greet and exchange stories with, and over time he came to know me by name. There were good stories about him coming along as a young lawyer in Enfield. How do you define professionalism in the practice of law? The reason we are entrusted with licenses to practice law is to help people and to try to better society. Part of that trust means acting with integrity and treating people, including other lawyers, with respect and civility. What was it like growing up in Raleigh in the 50’s and 60’s? I was a country boy. I grew up in what was then East Wake County, on Poole Road, but is now East Raleigh inside the Beltline. We had a mule, a cow and a chicken house with one rooster and about 30 or so hens. In Continued on Page 4
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Professionalism award continued from pg. 3 many ways, I had a great childhood. I don’t remember not being able to roam the woods and fields at will alone or with my brother or a dog. It was a different time. We weren’t poor, we always had plenty to eat and adequate clothes, but only God knows how hard my parents worked and skimped for that. I went to Knightdale School for 5 grades before the city school district moved out to us and I could go to city schools. All of N.C. was racially segregated then. It was so totally institutionalized and ingrained that as children it never occurred to us that it was all so horribly wrong. It’s hard to believe when I think about it now, but there’s no denying or minimizing it. It was everywhere. Who, in your teenage years, had the greatest influence on your career path? Cornelia Tongue, a middle school and then high school teacher who started me seeing how big the world is and how available it can be; my 11th grade English teacher Thomas Walters, who went on to teach at NCSU, who introduced me to literature; and James Bundy, the Enloe High School “Boys’ Counselor,” who also went on to NCSU, and who first suggested I take the SAT and then opened up college for me by telling my parents he thought I could get a small scholarship to East Carolina College. Why did you decide to go to law school? When I was about to graduate from what had become East Carolina University, I had done well academically and knew I wanted to get more education but didn’t know what I wanted to do. Dr. John East, who then was all a college professor ought to be and who held a law degree as well as a Ph.D. in political science, suggested I go to law school because with a law degree I would have many career options. So I did, mostly by default. It was good advice. What caused you to concentrate your law practice in the area of criminal defense? Straight out of law school I went to work with Jim Kimzey, who had just opened a sole practitionership after 10 years with Joyner & Howison (now Hunton & Williams). Kimzey was a civil, particularly commercial, trial lawyer. He suggested I sign up for appointment to represent indigent criminal defendants, both for public service and to gain trial experience. There was a great need, and it was a simpler time, so pretty soon I had plenty of district and superior court criminal trial experience. I had a lot of help from a number of established lawyers, Jim Kimzey, Carter Mackie, Roger Smith, Sr., Wade Smith, Carl Churchill, George Anderson, Robert McMillan, Ray Briggs, Wright Dixon, the list goes on. I was very fortunate. During those years Jim encouraged me to take any trial work that came in so I did criminal, domestic, personal injury, commercial, pretty much everything, but I liked criminal work the most and stayed with it. What is at stake in criminal defense work was most appealing for me, and it let me work with all manner of people. For a number of years, you have focused your practice in the area of white collar criminal defense. What do you find most enjoyable about this area of the law? I like the mix of the business side and the criminal issues, particularly in criminal anti-trust cases. I like going
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into a new business and industry and learning how it works, all in the context of a criminal investigation. I like federal grand jury work. Also, usually in those investigations there are parallel proceedings and I like those challenges. What do you find to be the most challenging part of white collar criminal defense? The work I enjoy most these days is in the preindictment stage, the investigative stage, a lot of it is federal grand jury work. In some ways it’s like mediation, except nobody’s in charge. There’s often a resolution short of indictment that meets the needs of all the stakeholders. The hard part is not getting the bit in my teeth and instead listening for and staying open to what resolutions might be possible. If not, that’s what courts and juries are for. I try to think about it as collaborative work and joint problem solving. We hear the phrase “focus on the family” a lot these days. You have always focused on your family. How do you manage to focus on your family while also excelling in the legal profession? Rachel and I always felt it was important to be home for dinner together and at night with the children and to spend as many weekends and vacations together as we could. It helped that we could share the load. You and Rachel are very involved in church activities and in serving the community in many different ways. What motivates you to spend so much of your time, energy, and resources on service to others? There’s a world of need out there. It only feels right to try to help out where I can. There but for good fortune go I. I know that being well-prepared for EMC meetings, including reading volumes of documents, was a priority for you. Do you feel that the discipline required to practice law helped prepare you to serve as Chairman of the EMC? Definitely. Dr. East was right - being schooled in the law lays a good base for many endeavors. You have been a mentor to scores of young attorneys over the years. What advice do you give young attorneys starting out today? Look for people doing good work for others and for society, whether lawyers, clergy, business, public service, whatever, and learn from them. Making money is important - whoever said money isn’t everything had all of his bills paid - but it’s relationships that trump everything and have lasting value. You often wear a straw fedora, a bowtie, and some sort of lace-up soft leather dress boot. Please explain how you came to adopt these garments as your standard attire. I’ve worn a brimmed hat, straw or felt, every day for 25 or so years on strict advice of my skin doctor. I’ve come to like it. They keep me shady in the summer, dry in the rain, and warm in the winter. When I turned 50, I decided a man my age needed to be able to tie a bow tie, so I learned how, I liked it, and I’ve worn one ever since. I remember both of my grandfathers wore high-top dress shoes to church. As a young lawyer my wife and I only had one car so I walked to work since I live only a mile and a quarter from my office. I saw some of those old-style shoes at Hudson Belk downtown years ago and decided to try them. They proved to be very comfortable walking shoes and I’ve worn them ever since. A pair lasts me about 10 years. WBF
A Window Into Their Times Historical Notes for the Wake County Bar A century ago, one of the most prominent members of the North Carolina legal profession was Chief Justice Walter M. Clark (1846-1924), who served with distinction on the Superior Court and then the Supreme Court after establishing a private law practice in Wake County. Born to a prominent family in Halifax County, the teenaged Clark served as an officer of state troops during the Civil War and began his post-war years managing his family’s farms. He soon changed course dramatically, studying law on Wall Street and at a law school in Washington, D.C., and was admitted to the bar in North Carolina in 1867. He first practiced in Halifax County, but moved to Raleigh in 1873. In Wake County, the multi-talented Clark practiced law for over a decade, managed the Raleigh News, and served as a director and general counsel for two North Carolina railroads. He also began a long career as an author, publishing volumes on North Carolina history, handbooks on the law, and an annotated code of North Carolina civil procedure. In 1885, Governor Scales appointed Clark to the Superior Court bench, where he served until 1889. That year, Governor Fowle appointed him to serve as an associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Clark ran for the Democratic nomination for Chief Justice in 1902, which was hotly contested by railroads, the American Tobacco Company and other interests which opposed Clark’s well-known views on economic and social reform. Clark won the nomination and subsequent election nonetheless, and served as Chief Justice until his death in 1924. He was long remembered for his advocacy of reforms on many controversial issues of his day, including popular election of U. S. senators, banking and railroad regulations and woman’s suffrage. WBF [Sources: docsouth.unc.edu/nc/clarkw/bio.html.] NOTice of Election continued from pg. 1 4. The following District Bar Councilors to the N.C. State Bar will be elected: 3 Councilors (3-year term) 5. The following Badger-Iredell Foundation members will be elected by the Wake County Bar Association: 2 Foundation Members President-elect (elect one) Mark Anderson Finkelstein Robert B. Rader
Michael F. Easley, Jr. John O.N. Eluwa Samuel A. Forehand Bill Forstner Nicolette Fulton Adam Gottsegen Katie Jones Meghan N. Knight Dayatra (“Day”) Matthews Lauren V. Reeves John Szymankiewicz Jason Tuttle Nicholas M. Verna
Secretary (elect one) Ashley Huffstetler Campbell
Tenth Judicial District Bar Councilors Seat vacated by David Long (elect one) Keith O’Brien Gregory Colon Willoughby
Board of Directors (elect seven) Russell D. Babb
Seat vacated by Sally Scherer (elect one)
Treasurer (elect one) Deborah L. Hildebran-Bachofen
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Heidi C. Bloom Lori Vitale For re-election to seat currently held by nominee: (elect ONE) Donna Rascoe Badger-Iredell Foundation WCBA Members voting (elect two) Lucy Tatum Austin Mark S. Thomas Please see biographical information on each of the candidates beginning on the next page and continuing through page 11. We look forward to seeing you at the Election Meeting on December 3 at the North Raleigh Hilton. WBF
Candidates for Tenth Judicial District Bar and WCBA Elections
Mark Anderson Finkelstein
Robert B. Rader
PRESIDENT-ELECT Elect one of two candidates
Mark Anderson Finkelstein
Robert B. Rader
Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP University of North Carolina,1985
Chief District Court Judge
Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Board of Directors Member (2000-2002 and 2010-2012); Grievance Committee Member (2006-2009); Vice Chair of the Professionalism Committee (2012 to Present); Chair of the Blog Subcommittee of the Professionalism Committee (2012-present); Bench-Bar Liaison Committee; Silent Partners Program Member; Bugg Elementary School Playground Project participant; Lunch with a Lawyer Program participant (starting about 1995).
Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Wake County Bar and Tenth Judicial District Board of Directors (1996-1997); WCBA & Tenth District Justice Center Preview Luncheon (Co-chair, 2013); WCBA & Tenth District Bench Bar Committee (2009-present); WCBA CLE Committee (2000-2006); WCBA Luncheon Speaker (2011 & 2013); YLD Bridge the Gap Program (Chair, 1990 & 1991); WCBA CLE Seminar Speaker; Badger-Iredell Foundation Board of Directors (President, 2006 & 2011).
Other Bar-related Activities: President, Chief Justice Susie M. Sharp Inn of Court; Member, NCBA Law-related Education Committee; Member, Environmental and Natural Resources Section Council; Legislative Chair, Environmental and Natural Resources Section Counsel; Membership Committee, EDNC Federal Bar Association; Board Member, Carolina Legal Assistance; Chairman, Ethics Committee, National Association of Environmental Professionals; Steering Committee Member, 18th Annual Conference of the National Association of Environmental Professionals; Participant, Legal Aid Call4All Campaign Participant; Chairman, Raleigh Environmental Quality Advisory Board; Civil Litigation Instructor, Meredith College Paralegal Program; Supervisory Attorney, Duke University School of Law Clinical Program.
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Campbell University, 1985
Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA Criminal Justice Section (Chair 1992-1993); North Carolina State Bar Board of Continuing Legal Education (Chair 2007-2009); Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers (President 1993); N.C. Association of District Court Judges (President 2012-2013); N.C. Family Court Advisory Committee (2012-present); N.C. Criminal Justice Information Network Governing Board (Chief Justice’s Appointee 1997-2005); N.C. State Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice (Chief Justice’s Appointee 2003-2008); Wake County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (1999-2009); N.C. Supreme Court Historical Society, Board of Advisors (2012-present).
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Elect one of one candidate
Elect seven of fourteen candidates
Deborah L. HildebranBachofen
Manning,Fulton & Skinner, P.A. UNiversity of north carolina, 1984 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: WCBA/Tenth Judicial District Treasurer (2013); Board of Directors of WCBA (2010-2011); Swearing-in Ceremony Committee - Chair (2009-2010), Co-Chair (2008, 2011), Vice-Chair (2007), Fund Raising Subcommittee Chair (2010-2011), Committee Member (2003 to 2012), participant in the WCBA US Supreme Court Swearing in Ceremony (2007); Strategic Plan/Long Range Planning Committee Member, Chair of the Finance Subcommittee (2009–2010), Strategic Plan Implementation Committee Member, Co-Chair of the Finance Implementation Subcommittee, Member of the Sponsorship Subcommittee, WCBA Office Space Special Task Force (2011); Athletic Committee (2003-11); Performer in The Very Serious Wake County Bar Awards (2009), Bar Awards Planning Committee, Co-Chair (2012, 2013); Public Service Committee Member (2012, 2013); Social Committee Member (2012, 2013); Lunch with a Lawyer program participant (2008, 2013); and Recipient of President’s Award (2009, 2012). Other Bar-related Activities: Past Council Member of the NCBA Tax Section; Past Chair and Council Member of the NCBA Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Section, Past Chair of the Estate Administration Manual Committee; Past Council Member of the International Law & Practice Section, Chair of the 2010 Turkey Attorney Exchange Committee, Member of the Steering Committee for 2010 Open Rule of Law Program for Russian Judges, NCBA Local Bar Services Committee Member, NCBA Convention Planning Committee Member, Participant in 4ALL and Call4ALL Programs, Committee Member Business Law Section NC LEAP Entrepreneurship Subcommittee.
SECRETARY Elect one of one candidate
Ashley Huffstetler Campbell Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC University of North Carolina, 2002 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Board of Directors member (2012 – present). Other Bar-related Activities: Honored by the North Carolina Bar Association for Pro Bono Service to Legal Aid of North Carolina; volunteer for Campbell Law School’s Domestic Violence Project; named 2013 Rising Star in the legal profession by NC Lawyers Weekly.
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Russell D. Babb Tharrington Smith, LLP University of North Carolina, 1999 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Member, Wake County Justice Center Open House Tour Subcommittee. Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA member; NCBA Sports & Entertainment Law Section Council (2004 – 05); Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers member; North Carolina Advocates for Justice member; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers member; American Bar Association member; American Association for Justice member.
Michael F. Easley, Jr. McGuireWoods LLP University of North Carolina, 2010 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Professionalism Committee (2011-Present); Co-chair of Professionalism Subcommittee on Continuing Legal Education (2013-2014); Roundtable Program Subcommittee (2013); Wake County Bar Awards Committee (2011-Present). Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA Law Week Committee (20112014); NCBA Liberty Bell Award Subcommittee; Criminal Justice Act Attorney Panel for the Eastern District of North Carolina
John O.N. Eluwa
LAW OFFICES OF JOHN ELUWA, PLLC NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY, 1989 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: WCBA Membership Service Committee, Member (2007-present), ViceChair, (2012); Public Service Committee, Member (2001-2008); Bench and Bar Committee, Member (2004-2007); Diversity Task Force Committee Member (2007-2008); Tenth JD Committee on Indigent Appointment, Member (few years); Served on Committee to Select the First Wake County Chief Public Defender; Tenth JD Indigent Defense Service
Continued on Page 8
candidates continued from pg. 7 (John Eluwa, cont’d)Appointment Committee, Member (20052012); Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Criminal Division Advisory Board Member (few years). Other Bar-related Activities: Member, NCBA Solo / Small Firm; and Criminal Law Sections; Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyer (WCACTL), Member (1998-present); Capital City Lawyers Association (CCLA), Member (1996-present); Past Member NC Academy of Trial Lawyers / NC Advocates for Justice; Participation on WCBAYLD’s, “Ask a Lawyer Program”; Healing Place Legal Seminar; WCBA Public Service Committee, “Wheel Chair Ramp Construction Projects”; Co-Host, Legal Eagle TV Show, Raleigh Network TV – Legal Q&A Community Service; Member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Member (1997-present).
Samuel A. Forehand
Law Office of Samuel A. Forehand, PA Duke University, 2005 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: WCBA/Tenth JD Bar Activities: Bench-Bar Committee, chair (2012-present), and Jury Commission. Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA Board of Governors and NCBA Foundation Board of Directors; NCBAF Administration of Justice Committee; NCBA and NCBAF Charter & Bylaws Committees; NCBA Appellate Practice Section; former chair of NCBA and NCBAF Resolutions Committees; and the NCBA YLD’s Membership & Networking Committee; graduate of NCBA Leadership Academy; member, Fourth Circuit Advisory Committee of the American Inns of Court Foundation and Executive Committee of the Craven-Everett American Inn of Court; vice-president and member of the Board of Directors of BarCARES of North Carolina, Inc.
Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP University of North Carolina, 2004 WCBA/Tenth JD Bar Activities: Participant in mass swearing-in ceremony for new applicants over several years, WCBA basketball league; YLD social events; manager of Smith Moore Leatherwood WCBA softball team. Other Bar-related Activities: Serving Third Year as Co-editor of Prognosis, a publication of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Health Law Section; Annual interviewer for Character and Fitness interviews for new applicants to the State Bar for last six years; member and contributor to the Health Law Section; Presented Distinguished Service Award at Health Law Section annual meeting; Co-planner of upcoming Senior Lawyers Division CLE; Author of articles for Health Law Section and Litigation Section.
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City of Raleigh Campbell University, 2005 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Membership Services Committee (Vice-Chair), Public Service Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Rule of Law (Chair) Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA Administration of Justice Committee, NCBA Law Related Education Committee, NCBA Membership Committee, NCBA YLD Civic Education Outreach Committee (Co-Chair, 2011-2012), NCBA YLD Project Grace Committee (Chair, 2013), NCBA Government & Public Sector Section Member, Editor The Public Servant, NCBA Leadership Academy (2013), 4All Volunteer.
Nicholls & Crampton, PA Wake Forest University, 2002 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: WCBA/Tenth JD Bar Activities: WCBA Young Lawyers Division Board Member 2003-05, Chair of Ask-A-Lawyer Committee; WCBA Young Lawyers Division Clothing Drive, Firm Coordinator; Summer Clerk Orientation Program. Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA member; NCBA Bankruptcy Division Council (2013-2016); co-author NC Bankruptcy Practice Manual (2007 and 2012); Participant in Bankruptcy Section Call4All Program. Recognized as “Emerging Legal Leader” through North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly; listed as a Rising Star in North Carolina Super Lawyers®; received a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™.
Hurley Law Office Campbell University, 2010 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Member of WCBA and Tenth Judicial District Bar; Member of Lawyers Support and Social Committees; Pro Bono Representation for Disability Rights of North Carolina, Office of Guardian Ad Litem Services, & Legal Aid of North Carolina Volunteer Lawyers Program Other Bar-related Activities: Board of Directors, BarCARES of North Carolina; NCBA Lawyer Effectiveness & Quality of Life Committee (CLE Planner 2013-2014); (CLE Planning Committee 20122013); Speaker: CLE “Seasons in Practice: Finding Success and Sat-
isfaction in all Stages of a Lawyer’s Career”; Transitioning Lawyers Commission, YLD Representative; NCBA Member & YLD Member: Member of Litigation & Health Law Sections; NCBA YLD New Lawyers in Practice Committee; NCBA Volunteer Attorney for “Ask a Lawyer Day,” “Wills for Heroes,” and “Pro Bono & Poverty Issues Panel”; North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys, Member; Defense Research Institute, Member: Drug & Medical Device; Medical Liability & Health Care Law; Product Liability; Appellate Advocacy; and Young Lawyers Division Committees.
Meghan N. Knight
Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog, LLP University of North Carolina, 2006 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Lawyers Support Committee (Chair 2013; Co-Chair 2012, Member 2010-present); Lunch with a Lawyer (2007-2013); YLD Education Subcommittee (2007) Other Bar-related Activities: North Carolina Bar Association, Minorities in the Profession Committee (2010-2012); North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys; Defense Research Institute
Dayatra (“Day”) Matthews SVP of Legal, Local Government Federal Credit Union Duke Law School, 1997
Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Current Chair of Leadership Development Committee (2012–present), member of CLE Committee (2011-present) Other Bar-related Activities: Executive Officer of N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA)(current Secretary); NCADA Board of Directors (2010-2013); Former Co-chair of NCADA Diversity Committee (2011-2012); NCADA Diversity Committee (2011-present); NCADA Nominations Committee (2011); NCBA Minorities in Profession Committee (2000-present); Former President of Capital City Lawyers’ Association (CCLA)(2010-2011); Member of CCLA Executive Board (2012-present); member of Defense Research Institute (1998-present).
Lauren V. Reeves
Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP Elon University, 2009 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Swearing-In Committee Co-chair (2010-2013).
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Law Office of John Szymankiewicz PLLC N.c. Central University, 2010 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Communications Committee (2011-2012), Communications Committee Chair (2013), Assist in administering the WCBA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn presence(s). Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA YLD member, NCBA Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice member, frequent NC Law Blog contributor, Capital Area Teen Court, NCBA Legislative Committee member.
Everett Gaskins Hancock LLP N.C. Central University, 2000 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Former YLD member; Athletics Committee (2007-present); Commissioner of Basketball League (2007-present); Lunch with a Lawyer Volunteer. Other Bar-related activities: LANC – Call 4ALL Volunteer (2012-present).
Nicholas M. Verna
La Mantia, Marsilio & Verna, PLLC Appalachian School of Law, 2010 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Professionalism Committee Member (2010-present), Publications Subcommittee (Co-Author: “Going with the Flow? Ethics & Professionalism in Legal Blogging” (2013); Public Service Committee (2010-present), Komen Race for the Cure WCBA Team Captain (2011-present), Community Service Subcommittee Chair (2012-present); Recipient of President’s Award of Excellence (2012). Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA Member (2010-present); Capital Area Teen Court Judge and Mentor Attorney (2010-present); Volunteer Guardian ad Litem, Wake County (2011-present).
Continued on Page 10
candidates continued from pg. 9
Rascoe Seat (uncontested) Elect one of one candidate
STate bar councilor seats
Long Seat (contested)
Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog University of North Carolina, 1993
Elect one of two candidates
Keith O’Brien Gregory
Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: State Bar Councilor (2010 – present)
Wake County District Court Judge N.C. Central University, 1994 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Board of Directors (20092011), Fee Dispute Resolution Committee Member (2005-2006), Keynote Speaker, WCBA Rule of Law Program. Other Bar-related Activities: North Carolina Rules Review Commission - Commissioner (2007-2009); North Carolina State Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee Board Member (2004-2008); Wake County Arbitrator for Civil Claims (2006-2010)
Other Bar-related Activities: NC Bar Association: Education Law Section Council (2003-2006); Education Law Section; Membership Committee (2000-2001); Speaker – Law Institute for Teachers (2008 and 2010); Young Lawyers Division Scholarship Committee, Pen Pal Program and Silent Partners Program
Scherer Seat (contested) Elect one of two candidates
Heidi C. Bloom
Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton, LLP Wake Forest University, 1995
Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Past Director and Social Chairman, Professionalism and Professionalism Award Committee, Joseph Branch Award 2010
Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Board of Directors (2011-present), Grievance Committee (Member 2009-2011; Vice-Chair 2012; Chair 2013), Athletics Committee (2000-2004).
Other Bar-related Activities: State Bar Council 1998-2006, Disciplinary Hearing Commission 2007-2011, NCBA Peter Gilchrist Award 2011, Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers, Board of Directors National District Attorneys Association 1997-2002, Past President of Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers, Past President of NC Conference of District Attorneys 1992.
Other Bar-related Activities: NCBA Family Law Section Council Member (2008-2011), NCBA Family Law CLE Committee(Member 2004-2010; Vice-Chair 2011-2013; Chair 2013– present); Past Editor, North Carolina Bar Association Family Forum; Wake County Family Court Rules Committee; Speaker and/or course-planner for numerous NCBA CLE’s.
Wake County District Attorneys Office Campbell University, 1979
2013 WCBA Holiday Party
Featuring the sounds of Soul Play and Saxophonist Freddy Greene Friday, December 6 • 7 - 11:30 p.m. North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road Heavy hors d’oeuvres Complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks.
This event is for WCBA members and their dates only. Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Vitale Family Law Wake Forest University, 1995 Wake County Bar Association / Tenth Judicial District Bar Activities: Chair, Wake County Bar Association Professionalism Committee (20082012), Mediator, Tenth Judicial District Fee Dispute Committee, (2006 to the present), Board of Directors for the Tenth Judicial District Bar (2007-2008). Subcommittee chair for Professionalism Roundtable Problem (2006-2007). Other Bar-related Activities: Chair, Family Law Section of the NCBA (2011-2012), Chair, Family Law Continuing Legal Education Committee of the NCBA (2007-2010), Council Member Family Law Council of the NCBA Family Law Section (2002-2004; 2006-2010), Member, NCBA Legal Education Committee (2012), Participant in Call 4All/Lawyer on the Line program; Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (2007 to the present)
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Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Tenth Judicial district bar welcomes 69 attorneys at swearing-in ceremony By jess mekeel, fall ceremony chair, swearing-in committee On September 23, the Tenth Judicial District Bar and the Wake challenges, both in terms of technology and economics. With respect to the former, he cautioned new attorneys “to let County Bar Association sponsored a ceremonial session of the Superior Court of Wake County. In this session, held in the Meymandi technology be their friend rather than their captor” and to avoid falling prey to the temptation of sayConcert Hall of the Duke Energy ing something electronically Center for the Performing Arts, the one would not otherwise say Court was opened and called to orin person. der so that the Honorable Paul C. With respect to ecoRidgeway and the Honorable Paul G. nomics, he noted that many Gessner could hear motions for the new attorneys enter the admission and subsequent swearingprofession burdened by debt, in of individuals who passed the July and that far too often, atBar examination. These 69 individutorneys look to their clients’ als are now fully and duly licensed to trust accounts for assistance practice law in the courts of the State in times of financial difficulty. of North Carolina; please congratuUltimately, Judge Gale noted late and welcome them! that “although economics Following opening remarks by and professionalism do not Thomas H. Davis, Jr., President of the have to be enemies, they will WCBA and the Tenth Judicial Disalways be competitors,” and trict Bar, Zeke Bridges, Director of attorneys new and old should Mentorship at Campbell Law School, “never sacrifice professionalinformed the new attorneys of the ism for the gains of economCampbell Law Connections Menics.” tor Program – a program in which Judge Gessner congratulating a newly admitted attorney. In closing, Judge Gale ofthe WCBA and Campbell Law have fered five suggestions for new partnered to enlist 100 local attorneys to serve as mentors for recent Campbell Law graduates. The program attorneys. First, echoing the presentation by Zeke Bridges, Judge Gale includes an orientation for mentees, and free training – including CLE encouraged all the new admittees to find a mentor, if not multiple mentors, noting it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to look to others for credit – for mentors. Thereafter, the Honorable James L. Gale, Special Superior Court assistance and guidance. Second, Judge Gale suggested keeping a list Judge with the North Carolina Business Court, addressed the new at- of people who extended a helping hand along the way, such as an optorneys with words of wisdom on the subject of professionalism. At the posing attorney who graciously agreed to a much-needed extension of outset, Judge Gale emphasized that although the word “professional- time. Third, Judge Gale emphasized the need to ensure balance in one’s ism” could be defined by reference to words like civility and integrity, life. Much like a stool needs even and balanced legs to be strong, one’s life is strongest if all the “legs” are in balance; for Judge Gale, those legs professionalism is more than mere words; it is, instead, a way of life. He encouraged new attorneys to read – and experienced attor- are faith, family, health, and profession. Fourth, Judge Gale insisted that new attorneys should never be neys to revisit – the Creed of Professionalism adopted by our local Bar, which includes the following admonition: “As lawyers, we are guard- afraid to do the right thing, including admitting one’s own mistakes, ians for our legal system, and we have an important professional re- and noted that if one attorney steps up and does the right thing, others sponsibility to recognize, honor, and enhance the rule of law. We are in often will follow. Finally, Judge Gale suggested practicing law in aca privileged position, and therefore we work under special obligations. cordance with the Golden Rule, which, at Judge Gale’s prompting, the To forget or to set aside these obligations is to dishonor our profession.” new admittees and their guests proclaimed in unison, “Do unto others In noting that new attorneys have the privilege of following the as you would have them do unto you.” Sponsors for the new attorneys included many distinguished path of professionalism carved out by the likes of Senator Sam Ervin, Julius Chambers, Joseph Branch, and Wade Smith, Judge Gale also members of the Bar, including Attorney General Roy Cooper, Judge cautioned that the new generation of attorneys faces a unique set of James Wynn of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Administra-
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Wake County Trial Court Administrator Kristen Fetter and Swearing-In Committee Co-chair Lauren Reeves following the September 23 ceremony.
tive Law Judge Fred Morrison of the Office of Administrative Hearings. The Committee wishes to thank the following members of the Wake County Young Lawyers Division who served as a sponsor to one or more new attorneys who were without a personal sponsor: Jim Baker, Kevin Ceglowski, Jillian DeCamp, Jena Edelman, Brodie Erwin, Laura Forrest, Nicolette Fulton, James Hash, Robbie Howell, William Long, Maureen McDonald, Lauren Miller, David Senter, and Jill Walters. Following Judge Gale’s address to the new attorneys, Judges Gessner and Ridgeway entertained motions for admission and administered the oaths, and all were invited to enjoy a reception hosted by the Swearing-in Committee of the Wake County Bar Association. The Swearing-in Committee wishes to extend its heartfelt appreciation to Judges James Gale, Paul Ridgeway and Paul Gessner for their participation in their ceremony, to Thomas Davis for his stewardship of our local Bar, and to North State Bank for sponsoring the event. We are also grateful for the generous assistance provided by Kristen Fetter, the Trial Court Administrator of the Superior Court of Wake County, and for the cooperation of the Wake County Sheriff ’s Office. Additionally, we are fortunate to have the dedication of the WCBA staff, including Whitney von Haam, Colleen Glatfelter, Stephanie McGee and Shaula Brannan, whose tireless efforts are invaluable in making this event a success each year. A special thank you also goes out to all of the members of the Swearing-in Committee for their help in organizing this event and to those members who attended and assisted during the ceremony, including Greg Connor, Sandra Wallace-Smith, and Todd Jones. Finally, the Committee is grateful for the efforts of the following individuals who helped make the ceremony a memorable success – Christina McAlpin Taylor and Lauren V. Reeves, Committee co-chairs, Lisa LeFante and Jess Mekeel, Committee ceremony coordinators, and J. Allen Thomas, YLD sponsor coordinator. WBF
Steps from the
Capitol and the Courthouse
230 Fayetteville Street 919.723.2300 northstatebank.com
G A R N E R • R A L E I G H • WA K E F O R E S T • W I L M I N G TO N
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Jenna webb wins wcba tennis title By William Plyler, Tennis Tournament Organizer | WCBA Board Member Jenna Webb won the Open Division of the WCBA Tennis Tournament on October 4 at the Carolina Country Club. Bob Smith was the runner-up. Randy Whitmeyer and Rik Lovett captured the title of the Championship Division for the second year in a row, beating Hart Miles and William Plyler 6-4 in the final. The other semi-finalists in the Championship Division were the teams of Alice Stubbs and Macy Fisher, and Brady Wells and Keith Satisky. The weather and the refreshments were fantastic. The tennis was top notch. Among those who played well were Jennifer Blue-Smith, Adam Gottsegen, Gabriel Jimenez, Whitney Butcher, Chip Campbell, David Ferrell, Mary Asbill, Judge Lori Christian, Jeanette Congdon and Judge William Pittman. All champions and finalists received trophies. A good time was had by all. WBF
Above, Judge William Pittman and Judge Lori Christian, and below, Randy Whitmeyer (left) and Rik Lovette, who captured the Championship Title for the second year. Top picture, Bob Smith, Runner-Up, Open Division; above, Macy Fischer (left) and Alice Stubbs; and below, Whitney Butcher paired with Gabe Jimenez in the Open Division
Wake bar flyer â€˘ november/december 2013
welcome our new team member, Kristin Athens Kristin Athens has recently joined the WCBA as the new social media intern. She is in charge of running our various social media accounts including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. By expanding the WCBA’s overall social media presence, she hopes to increase the accessibility of information and networking abilities amongst WCBA members. Kristin is a self-acclaimed “Tarheel Born and Bred;” she has lived in North Carolina all her life and recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from UNC this past May. While at UNC Chapel Hill, she served as a student athlete on the varsity cheerleading team and was also a member of Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity, Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology and Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Academic Honor Society. Currently, Kristin balances her time between interning for the WCBA, working at a local attorney’s office and studying for the LSAT. She is in the process of applying to law schools and hopes to attend next fall. When she’s not busy working or studying, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, camping and doing yoga. She loves Tarheel basketball, Harry Potter, her dog Belle and sweet tea. WBF
2014 WCBA Luncheons January 7 - Woman's Club February 4 - Woman's Club March 4 - Woman's Club April 1 - Woman's Club May 6 - Mordecai Park
YLD News 2013 YLD Officers
President: Kathleen Putiri Vice President/Secretary: James hash Treasurer: Sam fleder
Upcoming SocialS Thursday, Dec. 12 | 6 p.m. Napper Tandy’s new location... Formerly Murphy’s Law @ 410 Glenwood Avenue (To be held in conjunction with annual elections.)
Notice of officer election Elections for the YLD Board positions of Treasurer and Secretary/President-elect will take place on December 12, beginning at 6 p.m. at the YLD Board Meeting held in connection with the December YLD Social at Napper Tandy’s, 410 Glenwood Ave. The Treasurer is primarily responsible for monitoring and reporting on the budget for the YLD and its committees throughout the calendar year. The Secretary/President-elect is primarily responsible for attending YLD Board meetings and preparing meeting minutes as well as submitting the bimonthly Bar Flyer submission. If you are interested in running for either of these positions, or would like to nominate someone for these positions, please email the full name, contact information for the candidate and the position sought to current YLD President, Kathleen Putiri at email@example.com. Nominations should be submitted by email no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 15. Please certify that any candidate nominated is willing to serve in the position before making the nomination and that he or she is a YLD member in good standing. All members of the YLD in good standing may attend the December meeting and to be heard on the issue of elections of Treasurer and Secretary/President-elect.
June 3 - Woman's Club July 8 - North Raleigh Hilton August - No meeting September - No meeting October 7 - North Raleigh Hilton November 4 - Woman's Club December 2 - Tenth J.D. Bar Annual
Healing Place Seminar The yld’s Poverty Issues Committee will be holding a question and answer seminar at the Healing Place on December 10 from 4 – 5 p.m. Volunteers are needed to answer questions in a variety of practice areas. Please contact Meredith Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. WBF
Meeting - North Raleigh Hilton
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Client Communications can make or break you by camille Stell A common cause of reported malpractice claims and reported ethics grievances is client communication failures. A lawyer recently told me that his paralegal spent all her time on the phone talking with clients. “What do you think she’s doing? What could they have to talk about for so long? Do you think her time on the phone is legitimate?” This line of questioning makes me think my lawyer friend has never had many client conversations; I’m guessing he delegates most of this communication to his staff. I polled some of my paralegal friends and asked them – what do clients want to know? Don’t become a discipline statistic. Here are five tips to being a better lawyer.
Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual. With over 20 years of experience in the legal field, Camille has counseled hundreds of law firms about how to improve client communications. Contact Camille at 800.662.8843 or Camille@ lawyersmutualnc. com.
logistics What is a deposition? What will happen at a deposition? What time is the deposition? How early should I arrive? What should I wear? How do I find the office? Will my lawyer be there? What do I do? How should I prepare? Do I need to write anything? Should I bring my file? Who will be there? Do I need to pay for anything that day? Substantive law questions Do I have a case? How much is it worth? How do you determine how much it is worth? Will I go to jail? Will I lose my job? Will I lose my driver’s license? Will I have a criminal record? What are the ramifications of having a criminal record? How long do I need to be separated before divorcing? Can I get child custody? Can I receive child support? For how long? How much money will I receive? My tenant has not paid her rent, can I lock her out? billing How much will this cost? How can I pay? When will I pay? What do I get for that much money? What can I get for less money? What do you do for that much money? Will you send me a bill? When? When is the money due? Do you get the picture? Clients come to you knowing nothing about the process. They depend on you to guide them through the legal maze. You can certainly delegate some of these communications to your staff, but you will need to handle some communications yourself or you’ll end up with an irate client. Compile your most frequently asked questions and post them on your website or prepare a checklist to review with your client. Make sure that your engagement letter addresses these frequently asked questions. You may need to repeat the information and provide it in a variety of ways so that clients have more than one opportunity to hear it. Make sure that your client has a good understanding of your billing procedures. Do not surprise your client with unexpected costs. If possible, talk with your client in advance of billing to provide a case update and to let them know to expect the bill. Bill frequently. A bill that arrives 10 months after the matter was resolved is less likely to be paid. Return telephone calls in a timely manner. Do not use voicemail at midnight as a way to avoid client calls. The best time to take the call is when you see the number pop up on your phone. You are delaying the inevitable when you allow the client to go to your voicemail. Be sure to thank your client for their business. Satisfied clients are a great referral source. Thank them in writing with your final bill. Send holiday cards or birthday cards to stay in touch with individual clients or legal alerts to business clients. The Rules of Professional Conduct require lawyers to communicate with your clients. Do not underestimate the value of a getting those communications right. WBF
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Welcome New WCBA Members 30 new members were approved by our Board of Directors at the October 2013 board meeting Bonnie Ansley
Sherri Belk-Niang Law Office of Sherri D. Belk
Carolyn Lovejoy McWilliam Henderson & Wall, PLLC
TeAndra Miller Legal Aid of NC Admin Office
Lisa Nesbitt Disability Rights NC
Geneva Yourse Cauley Pridgen, PA WBF
James Bernier Margo Carnahan Claudia Hurtado-Myers Maggie Craven Dement Askew LLP
Christina Cress Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP Chaneen Cummings-Kouassi
Holly King Mahlum Law Office, PC Steven Klotz Herring Mills & Kratt PLLC
Adam Parker NC Court of Appeals Jean Radke Ellen Rose State of NC – Judicial Department
Thomas Packer Laura Parker Frye Law Offices, PC
LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH CAROLINA
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Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH CAROLINA
EMAIL AND PROFESSIONALISM: DON’T LET YOUR TAIL WAG YOUR DOG! By mARK A. LA MANTIA, MARSILLO & VERNA PLLC | Professionalism committee member
ARE YOU MANAGING your email or is your email managing you? Do you, like me, suffer from EIADD or EIADHD (email induced attention deficit disorder)? Naturally, I ask these questions a little bit tongue in cheek. I hope that all of us have by now adopted at least some practical and efficient ways of trying to deal with our inevitable email load. Also, I certainly do not mean to poke fun at anyone with a true disability. The purpose of this article is to have you consider these questions and to serve as a reminder that professionalism may demand more than simple pragmatism or efficiency when it comes to email use, handling and management. I am hoping that any one of the reminders and points provided below may provide some benefit to everyone regardless of their level of electronic proficiency and acumen. As a matter of context, I start this article with the confession that I am not a person who really ever gets excited about receiving emails. Frankly, from a professionalism standpoint, I really don’t like email at all. For me, it is all too often: too informal; too pressured and devoid of thoughtful considerations of time or possible consequence for the recipient; a little cowardly; and too easily subject to the mis-es (misinterpretation, mis-perception, even misdirection). From a practicality and efficiency standpoint, it is more of a love hate relationship - much like I feel about almost everything in today’s electronic age, the internet, my cell phone and my computer overall. I do realize that these things are ubiquitous and inevitable and that only those who learn to adapt may survive and excel. However, as good as they can be at times is as bad and frustrating as they can be at others. Unlike Mae West, when emails are bad they are not in any way better. Worst of all, it seems that email never stops, never rests and exponentially multiplies, always serving as a feeding ground for distraction and possible mistakes. I am constantly amazed about how prolific certain people I know have become when it comes to email or social media, even though they would not have taken the time in the past to write a two line card, let alone send a letter. If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum and really enjoy getting email, this article may not initially appeal to you but please do not stop reading - there is a big difference between true love and an unhealthy obsession, and I am really trying to help you. In this sense, email might be fairly compared to cars, or even worse really fast cars - some may not really like them and are even afraid to drive them, while others might really love them but should be even more mindful of how careful they have to be when driving on the road with others – SPEED KILLS. So, how can we best protect our professionalism, practices and sanity when it comes to using, handling and managing email? Please
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
do not confuse the fact that I have volunteered to write this article with the notion that I think that I have mastered this domain or that I always follow my own advice. The following are the framework and rules to which I aspire: 1. tAKE THE TIME TO THINK. If there is one consideration or rule to take away from this article it is this one. All too often the nature of the email process seems to try to speed us up in a way that we do not feel that we can really take the time necessary to think things through – professionalism demands thoughtfulness and considered action and responses regardless of the circumstances. The great basketball coach John Wooden is credited with two particular sayings that I like to try to incorporate into my thinking on a regular basis: “Be quick but don’t hurry” and “If you don’t have the time to do it right now, where are you going to find the time to do it over (right) later”. These seem particularly applicable to dealing with and managing email. I believe that it is almost always better to respond with a simple acknowledgment of receipt and the information that something will take you more time or thought than simply jotting off an ill- considered response. John Wooden also cautioned never to “mistake activity for achievement,” and in this regard the mere fact that you are responding to emails should not necessarily be confused with getting anything meaningful done. 2. EMAIL IS A POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL INTRODUCTION. Initial meetings and substantive introductions are too important for simple email. If email is required or also advisable, at the very least do a professional business letter and send it as an attachment. Also, use professional subject lines, forms of greetings or salutation, and signature blocks. 3. eMAIL IS NOT ALWAYS RELIABLE. Just because it is sent does not mean (a) it has actually been received or will be read even if you ask for acknowledgment, or (b) that you can reasonably expect it to be received and read (this is especially true of initial emails to persons you have never communicated with before - see Rule/Item Number 2 above). For example, for system integrity and security reasons, I never open or respond to unsolicited email from people I do not know. Therefore, do not assume the intended recipient will open everything or your email passed through their security protocols. Always follow up using another appropriate medium for important communications. 4. TAKE CARE IN TYPING IN YOUR ADDRESSES OR USING ADDRESS MEMORY FEATURES. (Email addresses change
from time to time, but your system may not keep up or your contact information may be outdated). Confidentiality is a cornerstone of both ethics and professionalism; any lack of care creates risk and never looks professional. 5. NEVER HIT “REPLY ALL” without first considering or carefully applying Rules 1 and 4 above and making sure you know to whom the message will be sent. 6. BE LEERY OF FORWARDING AND EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN DOING SO. For example, forwarding emails is a potential trap for sending an email chain that contains privileged or confidential information that you did not intend to send to the recipient. 7. BE TIMELY IN YOUR RESPONSES. While I do believe that a “no more than” 24-48 hour rule of thumb should generally be sufficient, this obviously depends on circumstances and need, so I am a little loathe to try to suggest any absolute rule here. Perhaps more important is trying not to get caught up in being hasty or letting anyone else unreasonably or selfishly dictate time-lines. Inform and try to discipline your clients as to the costs and time involved in requiring responses to stream of consciousness and obsessive compulsive or overly emotional emails. Some opposing counsels - especially some of those from out of State - may need to be professionally reminded of certain court and local rules as well as informed regarding our local professionalism creed and pledge from time to time. 8. NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO SIMPLY REACT ANGRILY. The SEND button should really come with a governor or automatic form of delayed send (there are actually some programs or apps for this as I understand it). You can accomplish the same thing simply by
exercising some discipline and saving a draft and going back to it later to make sure you want to send it “as is.” Whatever you need to do to check yourself in this regard, I feel almost certain you will help yourself from a professionalism standpoint by waiting. Having someone else review such an email before sending it can also be very insightful. 9. DO NOT ALWAYS ASSUME THE WORST FROM OTHERS. One of my biggest problems with email, unlike most face to face personal meetings, is that it there are no subtle indicators to assist in the accurate interpretation of what is being communicated. As a result, it seems all too easy to make mistakes in this regard and I caution myself against jumping to the wrong conclusions and try to give other people (especially other professionals) the initial benefit of the doubt. 10. CONTINUE TO STRIVE FOR THAT EMPTY “INBOX” – MAKE CONCIOUS DECISIONS TO MANAGE YOUR EMAIL. For me, unfortunately, the “empty inbox” is as elusive as Captain Ahab’s White Whale and is obviously nothing more than a momentary high. Additionally, while I do believe this goal is admirable and important, I have also come to the conclusion that it can also be a little deceiving - kind of like throwing stuff in the closets or the garage before company comes and somehow coming to believe that your house is clean. “Out of sight, out of mind” can be equally or even more dangerous here. Whatever email management system you decide works the best for you (programmed “rules” for your system to promote immediate file separation, flags, colors, etc.), make your decisions carefully and thoughtfully. The key for me is to try to make sure that I do not let things linger too long or let the sheer volume of the messages overtake or overwhelm me on a regular basis. To quote Jon Wooden one last time, “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” WBF
Empty those closets 14th Annual WCBA YLD HOliday Clothing Drive The YLD is again benefiting less fortunate families through numerous Triangle-area charities, and we need your help! From Nov. 18 through Dec. 7, we’ll be collecting used clothing from the Wake County legal community. Any donation is appreciated, including clean, used clothing and other necessary items for children and adults, such as business clothing, coats and other warm clothing, gloves, sleeping bags, blankets, sheets and towels. In addition, this year John David Custom Clothier will be pro-
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
viding a 10 percent discount off a custom clothing order for anyone donating used suiting and shirting to the drive. We are looking for volunteers to help coordinate the collection process (such as serving as a firm contact, locating charities in need and driving the U-Hauls of donated clothing) and to assist on the weekend of December 6 and 7 (sorting, re-bagging, and distributing the donating clothing). Cntact Elizabeth Timmermans if you are willing to assist (email@example.com). WBF
hOLIDAY HELP By cHARIS c. lINK, aSSISTANT pUBLIC dEFENDER, wAKE cOUNTY aS THE HOLIDAYS approach I begin to think about how much fun it will be to decorate the house and how I will make meals to share with friends and family that would make Martha Stewart proud. I dream of the perfect gift to share with each person in my life and how everyone will feel special and loved throughout the holiday season. Everything will be just perfect! My reality is more like a Griswold Christmas with Jell-O molds, cats wrapped up in boxes, and forced family time that can be more stressful than celebratory . . . maybe not so perfect. As attorneys we are all used to dealing with a certain level of stress. We have to deal with clients, associates, deadlines, court appearances and we need to make sure we balance that with our family and personal lives. These stresses are normal in the life of an attorney and, while that can be overwhelming at times, as we approach the holiday season many people experience additional stress. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you deal with the additional stress of the holiday season: lEARN TO LET GO. Things do not have to be perfect all the time. Enjoy the time you spend with friends and family and don’t stress if everything is not exactly as you imagined it would be. Concentrate on the positive things and let go of the things you can not change. Chances are you are the only one that noticed the imperfection anyway. sAY nO. This is particularly difficult for me to do, but realize that you do not have to do everything and sometimes you just have to say no. If you see a need that another attorney might have, there is help nearby with the Lawyer Support Committee. There is a program that is a part of the Tenth Judicial District and the Wake County Bar Association called Raising Our Bar (raisingourbar@ wakecountybar.org). This program uses our legal community net-
work to help support members of the legal community in tangible ways. If you see a need that is out there and you personally can’t help, contact Raising Our Bar and you don’t have to worry about saying no. cELEBRATE IN MODERATION. It can be easy to fall into the holiday spirit and overindulge in eating or drinking. Exercise moderation and that will make dealing with the additional stress much easier. If you feel like you need help in dealing with alcohol, drug or mental health issues contact the Lawyer Assistance Program (www. nclap.org). This is a confidential program provided by the North Carolina State Bar to help attorneys deal with a variety of issues. aSK FOR HELP. This seems like a simple thing, but many times it is hard for us to reach out when we need help. As members of the Tenth Judicial District Bar, we have access to 3 cost-free, confidential visits a year with a professional counselor to help deal with a variety of issues. BarCARES is a program that is designed to help attorneys. Reach out and ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season or anytime of the year. In addition, if you are a member of the Wake County Bar Association then this benefit is available not just to you, but also your immediate family. To reach out immediately call 919-929-1227 or 1-800-640-0735. You can also find out more at www.wakecountybar.org. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I hope these tips help you make it happy holiday. Don’t forget there is help through BarCARES, LAP and Raising our Bar to help you make it through the holiday season. As a final note I would like to share this quote from Marianne Williamson, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” Happy Holidays! WBF
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Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
wake county bar
B ar CARES: A Valuable resource for north Carolina lawyers By Robert N. Wood III, Triangle Trademarks | WCBA Lawyers Support Committee in the may/june edition of the WCBA Bar Flyer, Bettie Sousa wrote an article about BarCARES, a program provided by the Tenth Judicial District Bar that offers three free counseling sessions annually with HRC Behavioral Psychiatry & Health, PA (HRC). The program is available to the members of participating county bar associations as well as law school students, faculty and staff. At the June meeting of the WCBA Lawyer’s Support Committee, I volunteered to write a follow-up article about BarCARES to talk about the nuts and bolts of the program and why it is so important. I was fortunate enough to talk with two psychologists from HRC, an HRC staff member, and one of the attorneys that founded BarCARES. Three hours and many pages of notes later, I emerged with a deep respect for both the program and the people involved with it. BarCARES was created in the early nineties by three Wake County attorneys who were shocked by the results of a NCBA ‘quality of life’ survey. The statistics revealed that lawyers experience rates of depression and suicidal thoughts well above the national average. Rather than let these findings collect dust on a shelf, they decided to take action. They approached numerous mental health practices about creating an assistance program and found one that stood above the rest, HRC. HRC has a statewide network of clinicians in a wide range of specialties, offices in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and allows clients to meet directly with a clinician from the start. Since then, the program has grown steadily in popularity across the state and in Wake County in particular. Why do lawyers need counseling or therapy? First, for the same reasons as anyone else, such as career and couples counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, and mental wellness improvement, the latter of which includes practices for maximizing emotional and physical health. Keep in mind that the data demonstrates that lawyers struggle with these issues more than the average professional. By being proactive and taking a preventative approach to mental health, we can deal with the risk factors that can turn into major problems later on. Second, lawyers need counseling for reasons that are singular to the practice of law. Lawyers report very low levels of satisfaction with their workplaces and interactions with other lawyers. The zero sum nature of law practice has created a culture that leaves little room for empathy. Disillusionment with practicing law, perhaps because it does not match our personalities or reasons for attending to law school, is another reason why many lawyers seek assistance. Unlike medicine, which generally has a much higher level of practitioner satisfaction, the law lacks a cooperative ethos; the hours tend to worsen rather than improve after law school, and there is little opportunity for us to work in various specialties before choosing one that suits us. The economy and market for legal services has also taken a toll. Most
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
young lawyers face crushing student debt and a miserable job market while many older attorneys have had to scale back due to a lack of business. As one of the clinicians told me, many lawyers choose to “shut down emotionally” to cope with these issues, a defense mechanism almost guaranteed to create problems in their personal lives. Why should you use BarCARES for counseling or therapy? First, the program pays for the first three sessions each year, making it very easy to get started. The three sessions, which can last up to sixty minutes each, are enough time for you and the clinician to get to know each other, gain some perspective on the problem, and either work out a solution or develop a treatment plan. Second, HRC understands lawyers and law practice. Over the past twenty years they have helped scores of us improve our mental health. That experience means you do not have to explain the idiosyncrasies of your practice and you can trust that their advice has been proven to work. They take confidentiality very seriously and are more than happy to meet with you at both the Raleigh and Chapel Hill locations. Furthermore, HRC clinicians really enjoy working with lawyers because we are motivated, detail-oriented, and willing to follow a treatment plan. Finally, everyone involved in BarCARES cares deeply about your mental health. You can rest assured that this is a safe environment in which to get assistance. We are fortunate in North Carolina to have programs like BarCARES and the North Carolina State Bar’s Lawyers Assistance Program. They have been created for and by lawyers and exist solely to help us cope with our especially stressful careers. The important thing is not what resource you use but that you take care of your emotional wellbeing and get help when you need it. WBF
Did you know that BarCARES also has resources for career counseling? Don’t hesitate to call no problem is too big or too small A program ready to help you and your immediate family. 919.929.1227 or 1.800.640.0735
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Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
WCBA Member News Immediate past president of the Tenth Judicial District Bar Theodore (Ted) B. Smyth has joined Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP in an Of Counsel position based in its Raleigh office. With more than 30 years of experience, Smyth focuses on insurance and personal injury litigation and has litigated hundreds of cases throughout his career. Smyth first joined CSH in 1981 and left in 1994 to start his own practice, where he continued to work as a litigator for the past 19 years. Tracy W. Kimbrell, General Counsel for NC Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger ( R- R o c k i n g h a m ) from 2010 through 2013, joined Parker Poe’s Raleigh office on October 1 as a partner and co-chair of the government relations and lobbying team. Ms. Kimbrell first worked at Parker Poe beginning in 2005 as an associate in the Government & Public Policy Group. She practiced with the Firm for more than five years before her 2010 appointment to the state Senate. Dorothy Bass Burch, an attorney with Ragsdale Liggett PLLC, has been chosen as a “Leader in the Law” by the NC Lawyers Weekly magazine. This is the third annual award which was created to spotlight those within the legal community who go above and beyond to better the legal profession and their community. NC Lawyers Weekly edi-
tors state, “the honorees represent the most influential individuals within our state’s legal community.” Only twenty-five North Carolina legal professionals are selected based on a rigorous nomination and review process. The North Carolina Court of Appeals held a ceremonial session on Sept. 19 for the purpose of receiving and hanging the portrait of Retired Chief Judge Sidney S. Eagles, Jr. From 1983 to 2004, Judge Eagles served first as a Judge and later as Chief Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Prior to his service on the bench, he was in private law practice in Raleigh where he regularly argued cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. He has argued in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. He was Counsel to the Speaker of the House and served as a Special Deputy Attorney General. Judge Eagles currently focuses his practice at Smith Moore Leatherwood on appellate litigation and mediation and dispute resolution. Ragsdale Liggett PLLC attorney Melissa Dewey Brumback has been invited to join the prestigious Claims & Litigation Management Alliance. Membership is extended to select attorneys “by invitation only” from current CLM fellows. The organization is comprised of thousands of insurance companies, corporations, corporate counsel, litigation and risk managers, claims professionals and attorneys who promote the highest standards of litigation management in the defense of clients.
Wake bar flyer • november/december 2013
Robert J. Ramseur, Jr., a partner at Ragsdale Liggett PLLC, has again been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice area of Real Estate Law (copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, S.C.). Selection to Best Lawyers is based on a rigorous peer-review survey and inclusion is considered a singular honor. John M. Nunnally, partner at Ragsdale Liggett PLLC, has again been selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America® (copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC) in two practice areas: Commercial Litigation and Construction Law. WBF
Raising Our Bar
is a service of the Tenth Judicial District Bar that enables members and their staff to join a distribution list for helping our community in times of need with nonmonetary aid. If interested, send an email to the address below and you will be added to the distribution list.
raisingourbar@ wakecountybar.org page 23
Presorted Standard U.S Postage PAID Raleigh, NC Permit No. 1665
PO Box 3686, Cary, NC 27519-3686
WCBA Basketball Sign-Up Announcing the WCBA Charles Brandon Hunt Lawyer’s Basketball League 2014 Following the resounding support of the Athletics Committee and YLD and approval by the WCBA Board of Directors, the WCBA basketball league has been renamed after the late YLD President Charles Brandon Hunt, who passed away suddenly of natural causes on August 29. The league’s name change establishes a lasting tribute to Charles’ many contributions to the league, the WCBA, and the greater community, as well as his love of the game. The 2014 League will start on Saturday, January 18, 2014, and will again be located at the J.D. Lewis Multipurpose Center, 2245 Garner Road.
How do you sign uP? Go to the Wake County Bar Website and click on the item on December 31 that says, “WCBA Basketball League” Online signups must be completed by December 31.
Questions can be directed to the Commissioner, Jason Tuttle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-755-0025.
Published on Nov 11, 2013