By Jeff Kelly 

The Appellate Practice Section is pleased to join the network of Sections and Divisions providing great content through the North Carolina Bar Association’s NCBarBlog. Tyler Brooks and I are working together to publish blog content for the Appellate Practice Section, and we encourage our members to contact us with proposals for blog posts and announcements.

Our decision to transition our newsletter to the blog format was twofold: the blog format allows the Section more flexibility in delivering quality content to our members, and it also significantly increases the visibility of our Section’s work. In fact, leading up to the Section’s decision to move forward with this blog, the NCBA re-published a great article on typography written by Judge Richard Dietz, Drew Erteschik, Clark Tew, and J.M. Durnovich that originally appeared in the Appellate Practice Section’s newsletter—and the difference in engagement between the two platforms for the same article was staggering. While that article may not have convinced the NCBA to switch its blog font from Arial to Century Schoolbook, the article’s performance on the blog convinced the Section that there is broad interest in the types of articles written by our Section. As writing and analysis of appellate decisions are central to what most of us do as lawyers, we hope that our blog will continue to provide helpful and practical information on these topics to all members of the NCBA.

The North Carolina Appellate Pro Bono Program

The Appellate Practice Section is excited to announce that the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals have approved the creation of the North Carolina Appellate Pro Bono Program. The program is the culmination of several months of collaboration between judges, judicial officials and attorneys, including our Section. Among the many individuals who have dedicated countless hours to establish this program and increase access to justice, we congratulate Judge Richard Dietz, Judge Linda Stephens, Troy Shelton, Mark Hiller, Matt Wunsche, and Sylvia Novinsky on this monumental achievement.

The Appellate Pro Bono Program will allow our appellate courts to refer pro se litigants to pro bono attorneys, provided that the litigants qualify for in forma pauperis status and present at least one non-frivolous issue on appeal. The clerk’s office may contact the NCBA Appellate Practice Section for assignment of a panel volunteer.

To participate in the Appellate Pro Bono Program, volunteers will need to join a list maintained by the NCBA Appellate Practice Section and attend a mandatory training session, the first of which will be held on April 13, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Court of Appeals. That training session has been approved for three hours of general CLE credit and .25 hours of ethics CLE credit and the registration website can be found here.

If you are interested in participating in the Appellate Pro Bono Program, please visit the Appellate Pro Bono Program website and review the program materials for more information.

Appellate Practice Section Social

Finally, the Appellate Practice Section is hosting a social on April 12, 2018 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Whiskey Kitchen in Raleigh. All section members, appellate judges, their law clerks, and appellate clerks of court are invited to attend. Be sure to RSVP here, and we look forward to seeing you there.