Month: September 2017 (page 1 of 3)

Introducing This Year’s Paralegal Division Leaders

As this bar year kicks off, the Paralegal Division Council wants to introduce the members that are serving in leadership roles this year. The Paralegal Division offers members the opportunity to play a role in shaping the direction of the division in a variety of ways, from serving as an officer, council member, committee chair or section liaison to planning CPEs, volunteering for a pro bono opportunity or contributing to the blog!

Please take a minute to get to know this year’s officers and be on the lookout for future posts introducing more members of the council.

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Changes To NC Laws In 2017 May Affect Your Practice: See the NCBA Legislative Bulletin

Check out the 2017 Legislative Bulletin for a look at changes made in the North Carolina General Statutes this session that may affect your practice of the law. Provided by the NCBA Office of Governmental Affairs, the Legislative Bulletin includes a summary of bills tracked by an NCBA section or committee or the Office of Governmental Affairs during the 2017 session of the General Assembly.

Go to page 3 for a table of contents hyperlinked via section and committee.

These summaries are designed to put you on notice of changes to the law, but they are not intended to instruct you fully as to those changes; there is no substitute for reading the Session Laws themselves. Our purpose is to offer a tool to assist in your practice and we hope you will find that this publication serves your purpose.

 

On Fonts: Why Lawyers Should Switch To Century Schoolbook

This article originally appeared in Per Curiam, the newsletter of the NCBA’s Appellate Practice Section.

By Judge Richard Dietz, Drew Erteschik, Clark TewJ.M. Durnovich

Introduction

We know what you’re thinking:  Why should I care about fonts?  The authors of this article—an appellate judge and a few litigators—would like to answer this question in two parts.

The first part discusses the current font norms for North Carolina lawyers, and why the fonts favored by those norms are not optimal for legal writing.

The second part briefly describes how fonts within the Century family increase readability and retention—features that can give lawyers a competitive edge.

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MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

By Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 38 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Please click on the links below for the most recent updates.

Copyright Office Begins Release of Refreshed and Updated Circulars

Change in the Electronic Retrieval Method for Priority Documents between the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Japan Patent Office

 

How One Attorney Turned a $10-an-hour Tech Job Into a Career In Patent Law: Hear the Story at ‘Starting Out Solo’

Ever wonder how lawyers with great jobs got their sweet gigs? Then this free event is for you. Join us at the N.C. Bar Center on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. for a panel of practicing attorneys who have career advice to share. Get more details and register here.

Panelists are Nicholas Dowgul of Felton Banks PLLC, Wes Saunders of the N.C. DOJ, Lyle Gravatt with NK Patent Law, and Daniel Moose of The Law Offices of Daniel R. Moose. Starting Out Solo is free, and dinner will be provided, so RSVP. All law students and legal professionals who want to learn more about law practice management are encouraged to attend. For questions, contact Jeremy Williams.

In advance of the panel, Lyle Gravatt answered a few questions about his path from $10-an-hour tech analyst to firm attorney with NK Patent Law.

Q: With experience as an entrepreneur and a degree in physics, what motivated you to pursue a law degree and practice?

A: I had a very nontraditional pathway to a legal career. I started out as a biophysics researcher and slowly realized that being in a lab just wasn’t for me. I had some skills as an extrovert that the lab setting didn’t allow me to use. And working in a lab has a very narrow focus. So, I went the complete opposite direction and I got involved in entrepreneurship, particularly sales. That again steered me toward an industry that was very narrowly focused. I was merely exercising the social aspects of myself and not really challenging the intellectual aspects. After trying out those two extremes I felt like the legal field would allow me to exercise my intellectual passions and my passion for people and my more extroverted tendencies. And intellectual property law allowed me to dive back into the science, which I always enjoyed.

Q: How did you arrive at your current position?

A: When I first graduated from law school at the University of Mississippi, I went to work for the law school developing a pro bono program that’s now in place. After I left, I was studying for the Louisiana bar, and I was really struggling, trying to get an IT job in that area. So, I packed up my bags, I put a bunch of suits in the car, printed out a bunch of resumes and I went on a Southeast tour – where all my friends lived —  and started knocking on doors because emails and phone calls weren’t working.

When I got here to the Triangle area, somebody hired me for $10 an hour to be a tech analyst. It was a company that was associated with a law firm, where the tech company and the law firm worked together and were housed in the same offices. That was my in. I started out as a tech analyst, and a year later I was working in the law firm, and two years later I was transitioning out to a traditional law firm.

I saw the tech job as an opportunity to get into the company with my science background and allow myself to gain some legal experience and hopefully transition to the legal side, which did happen.

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Working Hard For Our Members: Recapping the August Strategic Planning and Paralegal Division Council Meeting

Ever wonder what the Paralegal Division Council does? Do you want to be more involved? Are you interested in leadership opportunities within the division?

We hope so. The council wants to provide members a better understanding of the workings of the Paralegal Division.  For starters, the council is composed of a chair, vice chair, secretary, treasurer, council members (12 total in groups of 4, each serving a 3-year term), and committee chairs. The council meets approximately on a quarterly basis to discuss and vote on business matters of the division.  At the beginning of each bar year, council members gather for a Strategic Planning Meeting to discuss goals for the upcoming year.  We’d like to kick off the year by sharing some of our plans and goals for the year.  Below are the highlights:

  • Collect short bios/headshots of council members to introduce the council to our members.
  • Create a division-focused “e-Bar” type of update with committee updates, upcoming division events, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Make the division’s Orientation Manual available on the website so those who are interested in leadership opportunities can find out more about council duties and obligations.
  • Promote our committees with a solicitation to get involved, along with a link to the Committee Sign-Up Form.
  • Move the scholarship application period to January through March of each year in an effort to increase application submissions.
  • Reach out to the Law Practice Management Section to offer to be “boots on the ground” for new technology.
  • Promote the new NCBA Member App (iPhones and Androids). There are many valuable discounts available on the app (and not just things for work). There is more information about this on the NCBA website and ncbarblog.com.  The Member App Code is memapp.
  • Increase networking opportunities to enhance the membership experience.
  • Change the Distinguished Paralegal nomination period to October through January.
  • Revive the Pro Bono Award with the winner(s) will be announced at our May CPE. The application will be revamped to allow for a group winner, instead of being limited to an individual winner.
  • Announce and recognize all of our award winners (Distinguished Paralegal, Student Scholarship Application, Member Scholarship Application and Pro Bono) at the beginning of the General Session at the May CPE. This way lunch can be used for the Annual Meeting and other announcements.
  • Create new essay topics for each of the Student and Member Scholarships.
  • Develop new topics for Webinars/Webcasts.
  • Research pro bono project opportunities.
  • Determine the location and date for the 2019 Annual Meeting (we are still under contract with Pinehurst for 2018).

Wow!  It is a lot of items, and you may ask how it all gets done. All of the above is accomplished by a dedicated group of paralegal volunteers and we would love for more members to come aboard and make this another great year!  Please contact Debbie Harris with any questions.

NC Casino Operator Faces Wage Suit

By Sean F. Herrmann

Gamblers aren’t the only ones complaining about pay-outs in North Carolina casinos. According to a class/collective action complaint (Clark v. Harrah’s NC Casino, LLC, 1:17-cv-240) filed on August 31, 2017, in the Western District of North Carolina, Harrah’s NC Casino Company, LLC, has failed to pay employees wages and overtime compensation.

Joseph Clark, the named plaintiff, filed on behalf of himself and other similarly situated employees at Harrah’s Cherokee Valley Rivery Casino & Hotel and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, both of which are operated by Harrah’s NC Casino Co. The complaint includes both Fair Labor Standards Act and North Carolina Wage and Hour Act claims.

Specifically, the complaint states that “Harrah’s willfully, deliberately, and voluntarily failed to pay Plaintiff and other similarly situation gaming floor employees all overtime compensation in violation of the FLSA by requiring them to perform work during their meal breaks, but subjecting them to an automatic 30-minute meal break deduction.” It also explains, “Harrah’s willfully, deliberately, and voluntarily failed to pay Plaintiff and similarly situated gaming floor employees all promised and earned wages on their regular pay day for all hours worked in violation of the NCWHA by requiring them to perform work during their meal breaks, but subjecting them to an automatic 30-minute meal break deduction.” It further alleges violations of the FLSA and NCWHA related to requiring the plaintiff and similarly situated employees to perform work without pay prior to the start of their scheduled shifts.

Clark, in the complaint, asserts that the NCWHA class could be comprised of at least 1,000 individuals. This case is in its infancy, but it’s one to keep an eye on.

 

 

 

 

 

MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

By Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 38 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Please click on the links below for the most recent updates.

Copyright Office Adopts Final Rule Streamlining Regulation on Copyright Notice

Copyright Office Publishes Archive of Briefs and Legal Opinions

Copyright Office Releases Section 108 Discussion Document: Copyright Exceptions for Libraries and Archives

Of Interest: Major League Soccer Challenged, Tyson Knockout Blow, Odell Beckham Calls Audible

Sports & Entertainment Law

Members of the Sports & Entertainment Law Section found the following recent third party articles to be of potential interest to the Section:

Major League Soccer Challenged in CAS

Tyson Winds Up for Knockout Blow Against Boxing Hall of Fame

Odell Beckham Jr. Calls Audible on $100M Player Disability Insurance Policy

Former Band Member Sues The Roots

Ineligible Coach On The Field – Assessing Whether Restrictions Are Enforceable In Contracts

Fan Was Expecting Goldfinger, but Instead Got Oddjob: Woman Sues Movie Studios over James Bond Movie Collection

Brittle v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Ronnie Van Zant, Inc. v. Artimus Pyle

Female Athletes Are Closing The Gender Gap When It Comes To Concussions

Leadership on the sidelines should not be defined by gender

Remember FCC Rules on Underwriting Limitations – And that They Don’t Apply to Spots Bought By Nonprofit Entities

Baylor Settles Lawsuit in Sexual Assault Case

How Red Sox Used Tech, Step by Step, to Steal Signs From Yankees

Home of Brazil’s Top Olympic Official Is Searched in Bribe Inquiry

Chicago Bears Back Off GoBears Hashtag Dispute Over Trademark Concern With Cal

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