By C. Amanda Martin

Welcome!

Networking and education. If you’ve ever wondered why most people belong to the NCBA Litigation Section, it’s networking and education. Quite a few of you answered our recent survey – 164 of you, to be exact – and overwhelmingly that’s what you said. Over half said that you’d be most likely to attend a Section meeting if it had some kind of substantive program. About half of you said you would be most likely to attend a Section CLE if it were closely related to your field. (That answer sounds obvious, but it beat out CLEs that were inexpensive or in fun or close locations.) And asked what you most valued or would like to see in our Section, again and again you answered “CLE or other high quality education” and “networking opportunities.”

You’ve spoken, and we’ve listened. Your Section Council got together at the first of this month in a planning and brainstorming session to discuss how we can best serve you and give you what you want. Here is what we came up with.

First, you may notice that you are reading this in a blog instead of a newsletter, and there are reasons for that. With a blog, we can communicate among ourselves more easily and more frequently. Our hope is that will lead to timely sharing of helpful, substantive information. Only Section members can post to the blog, but posts will be available to anyone searching the web. So contributing to the blog will be an excellent way to share your expertise with a wide audience. Long-time newsletter chair Rick Conner will co-chair the communications committee with Tandy Mathis and Molly Martinson, and you can reach them at ncbalitigation@gmail.com. Please let them know topics you would like to read about and let them know if you have something to share. Our goal will be to publish posts every two weeks, which means we need and hope to get wide participation from Section members.

Second, Section Council meetings are going to travel across the state, and with every meeting, we will aim to have both an interesting presentation from someone local and a networking event. You’re welcome to come to the entire business meeting, but you won’t have to. Our first meeting will be in Raleigh on Sept. 20, followed by a meeting in Winston-Salem on Nov. 8, Greensboro Feb. 7, and Charlotte May 2. I hope you’ll put a note on your calendar and join us when we are near you.

Third, we have tweaked our CLE mission in recent years and have teamed up with other sections, and we continue to refine those plans. “Litigation” obviously is a broad topic, and many of our members are also members of other NCBA Sections as well, most commonly Construction Law, Labor and Employment Law, Real Property, Business Law and Family Law. Members who responded to our recent survey most frequently listed personal injury/med mal, intellectual property and insurance as the biggest substantive areas of interest for future CLEs. We already have plans to co-sponsor CLEs with the Health Law Section (which will be in Greensboro in April) and with the Intellectual Property Law Section. Our opportunities to work with other sections are (almost) endless, though, so if you have a passion for an area and would like to see us work on a CLE, you need only say the word and volunteer.

Finally, in our mission to educate and provide opportunities for professional connection, we plan to host one or two dinners during the year. These evenings will give members the chance to meet and visit with one another, followed by a program such as a panel discussion of leaders of our profession. Again, we will aim to host those across the state – not just in Raleigh or Cary – so that all our members will have the chance to enjoy and learn from one another.

As your incoming chair, my goal for this year is to make the Litigation Section meaningful to you. If you have ideas you would like to see implemented, I hope you will email me at amartin@smvt.com. You can even email me if you have complaints. Either way, I will count it a success if you get engaged with our Section and your colleagues.