By Debbie Harris

It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating our 15th Anniversary at the Grandover in Greensboro and at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. I’m excited to share that we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary at the Pinehurst Resort May 3-4, 2018. The celebration kicks off Thursday evening, May 3, with a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. on the Front Porch and continues at our Annual Meeting on May 4.

This year’s Annual Meeting is one of the best programs we have offered to date with an excellent lineup of speakers. Click here for more information and to register.

I hope that you will make every effort to attend. That being said, I’m sure you have noticed the increase in the cost of our Annual Meeting. I want to take this opportunity to apologize and provide a brief explanation.

For those who are not familiar with the structure of the North Carolina Bar Association, there is a Foundation side and an Association side. For years, CLE/CPE Programming has resided with the Bar Foundation, until last year when it moved over to the Bar Association. The Division has been fortunate that the costs associated with hosting our Annual Meeting over the past several years has remained relatively unchanged. Now that CLE/CPE programs are run through the Association side, the direct and indirect costs are now being considered and factored into developing CLE and CPE programs. Unfortunately, the Paralegal Division Council was not made aware of these changes until we were too far in the planning phase to change course for this year. Moving forward, the Council will make every effort to find ways to reduce the cost of the Annual Meeting to get it more in line with previous offerings. Both the Paralegal Division and CLE department are looking at ways to make changes for next year. If you have a possible potential sponsor you work with, please share that information with Jennifer Shapiro, NCBA Sponsor/Exhibitor Coordinator, as sponsorships are a great tool in reducing the costs of programs. Take a look at the sponsorship intent form here.

For those of you attending the Annual Meeting, thank you for registering! We have two fantastic opportunities to contribute this year: donating items for Caring Hearts for Canines and the Americares efforts in Puerto Rico.  If you need more information about either of these, feel free to reach out to me.

Volunteers Needed

Speaking of special projects, are you interested in becoming more involved with the Paralegal Division?  We are currently looking for volunteers to serve on one of our many Committees for the next Bar year starting July 1, 2018. If you are not already on a Committee, please take a couple of minutes to look over the list of Committees on the Division’s website and sign up to serve. If you are a member of one of the Sections of the Bar Association, we are also looking for Liaisons. Liaisons interact with their Sections and report to the Division Council on the activities of that Section.  If you would like to know which sections have vacancies, please contact Lakisha Chichester or me. I serve both on a Committee and as a Liaison, and find both experiences very rewarding!

Webcasts Return

Additionally, the webcasts are back! We’re sorry for the absence of webcasts over the past year, but our webcast subcommittee chair, Jill Perras, has been working hard to develop more of the great programs you have enjoyed over the last few years. If you have ideas for a webcast or have a topic you would like to present, please contact Jill as we’re always looking for program ideas!

Finally, though my time as Chair is winding down, I have truly enjoyed serving as your Chair this year.  All of the changes happening with the Bar Association has made this year challenging, but exciting, and I’m looking forward to great things to come over the next couple of years.