Month: June 2018 (page 2 of 3)

Paralegal Perspective: Working In the World of Craft Alcohol

By Mollie Schwam

I started working at Beer Law Center in September 2015 while I was in paralegal school at Meredith College. I was anxious to join the workforce and earn a paycheck. I knew nothing about beer and even less about the myriad laws surrounding the alcohol industry. After my first year working at Beer Law Center I grew somewhat comfortable using words like “TTB,” “specimen,” “unfortified wine,” “Brewers Notice,” “Basic Permit,” etc. The intricacies of alcohol law were not covered at Meredith College. For me it was trial and error until I understood the craft beverage lingo and procedures. And, it was not until I attended local and national beer conferences that I realized an innovative, powerful work force was behind the beer.

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Thoughts After Kiawah

By Keith Wood

It was great seeing many of you over the Memorial Day weekend at the Tax Section Annual Workshop in Kiawah.  I am pleased to say that we are making arrangements to be back at Kiawah next Memorial Day for the 2019 Tax Section Workshop.

I wanted to give out a special thank you to Kevin May for his efforts in coordinating with the Georgia Tax Section and the South Carolina Tax Section to plan an excellent program this year.  We also appreciate the generosity of our sponsors this year, Intuitive Compensation Group, Bessemer Trust, Monarch Private Capital, Forensic Strategic Solutions, LLC, Sterling Foundation Management and South Carolina Bar.

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White House ‘Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices’: Large Aspirations, Little Detail

By Stephanie Trunk and Erin Atkins

This article first appeared on the Arent Fox LLP Health Care Counsel blog. 

Following delays and much build up, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released their plan to address rising pharmaceutical prices and out-of-pocket costs directly impacting patients.  The plan is known as the “American Patients First” program, as outlined in “The Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs” (the Blueprint).   As part of this, HHS has published a formal request for information (RFI) seeking public comment on the questions and issues raised in Section V of the Blueprint (summarized below).  Comments are due to HHS on or before July 16, 2018.  We encourage all interested stakeholders to utilize this opportunity to submit feedback to the agency.

One initial impression of the Blueprint is that many of the proposed solutions are not defined in great detail and will take time and agency (and in some cases Congressional) action in order to implement.  In addition, many of the solutions were previously articulated in President Trump’s 2019 budget, and do not reflect novel policy.  Additionally, many of the issues raised in the Blueprint are familiar to those actively engaged in or following the drug industry, but will require active engagement between HHS and the industry to refine and address.

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Requirements for Submissions to the NCBA Sports & Entertainment Law Section Blog

Blog pieces are geared toward informing laypeople and practitioners of relevant legal issues and current legal events in the areas of sports and entertainment.  It is a great opportunity to get published while in law school!

Submission Requirements:

  • Choose a current/relevant issue in Sports and Entertainment Law and advocate a position.
  • A maximum of 1,500 words in Microsoft Word and 25 footnotes in Bluebook format.
  • Send by e-mail to Kelly Ryan ( and Amanda Whorton ( with the subject line: NCBA Blog Submission
  • Also include the following:
    • A link to your LinkedIn bio
    • How you would like your name to appear on the post
    • A head shot sent as a separate attachment

We look forward to reading your submissions for publication consideration!


Kelly and Amanda

Communications Co-chairs

Sports & Entertainment Law Section

North Carolina Bar Association

Items of Interest: Start Replying With ‘STOP,’ Armstrong Settles, DJ Khaled Exposed

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

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Litigation Section Honors Ward Black With Its Advocate’s Award

Janet Ward Black of Ward Black Law in Greensboro was honored on Feb. 7 as the 10th recipient of The Advocate’s Award. Presented as merited by the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, the award recognizes “superstars” of the section and the legal profession.

Amanda Martin, section chair, presented the award in Greensboro during a special reception held in conjunction with a meeting of the Litigation Section council.

Attorneys and staff from Ward Black Law also participated in the event. Black is the principal owner of the 36-person firm, which is one of the largest woman-owned law firms in the state, and the first woman to receive The Advocate’s Award.

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Overtime, Non-Competes & Employee Medical Records: Three Topics for Employers in the Healthcare Field

By  L. Diane Tindall, Daniel Palmieri and Jenna Borders


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that mandates the payment of a federal minimum wage and overtime pay to workers who do not fall within a specific FLSA exemption.  The most common of these exemptions under the FLSA are the so-called “white collar” exemptions for employees whose pay and duties reflect their exercise of real managerial or executive authority in the workplace and their ability to better influence their compensation.  In general, in order to be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions under the white collar exemptions of the FLSA, an employee: (1) must be paid at least $455 per week (or $24,300 per year); must be paid on a “salary basis” (with some exceptions); and (3) must perform duties that are consistent with an executive, administrative or professional position (the “duties test”).  To be paid on a salary basis, an employee must receive the same pay each work week in which he or she performs any work (with a very few limited exceptions) without any deduction for the quantity or quality of work performed.

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Member Highlights: Meet Our Children’s Champion Award Winner, Deana Fleming

By LaToya Powell

On May 10, 2018, the Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section presented the inaugural Children’s Champion Award at our annual meeting to commemorate the section’s 20th anniversary. The award honors a member of the section who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to protecting the rights of children and improving the administration of justice for court-involved youth. In other words, a true Children’s Champion. Recipients of the award also must be contributing members of the section. Deana Fleming, the first Children’s Champion, truly embodies these qualities and more.

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Practicing the Golden Rule In Your Professional Life

 By Stephanie B. Elliott

There is one lesson I learned early in my life which has served me well personally and professionally: The Golden Rule. It was important in grade school, and is a life lesson that will carry you far. Treat others as you would yourself wish to be treated. The Golden Rule is a simple motto that makes us better people and professionals, but often it’s a little harder to put into practice. There are so many things that can go wrong in our professional lives, and many situations we can’t control (hard for many of us paralegals who are type A personalities). We can change the dynamic of a stressful environment to one that practices civility and empathy by simply remembering that being kind to people, no matter who they are, doesn’t cost us a thing. Our attorneys may be knee-deep in battle, but that doesn’t mean we also have to war with the staff on the other side.

Stop and Listen: Our clients are likely the most stressed people we are communicating with, and they often do not understand what is going on. Are they really upset about the email you sent them, or could it be that they don’t understand it? We take our knowledge for granted. Most clients, even the most sophisticated ones, have very little working legal knowledge, and what they know usually comes from television and movies. They expect because it’s what they see, that we’ll sign them up as clients in the morning, have a hearing at 2 p.m. and celebrate our victory before 5 p.m. Wouldn’t that be the life?! In reality, it’s our job to help them understand the process and how it will affect them. They are our clients because something has happened to them and they aren’t able to solve it on their own. When you take your paralegal hat off just for a moment and look at the world through their eyes, you gain a better understanding of how you can help. Be present, even when they are unhappy and it’s uncomfortable. The attorney-client relationship can benefit greatly if clients know they can call you to find out what is going on, or even just to talk through their issues. This of course is a fine line, because we aren’t allowed to give legal advice. Practice kindness and be willing to listen.

Be the Bridge: Attorneys are busy people, and sometimes have higher than necessary expectations about what they need (and want) from us. This can also be true of the opposing counsel. I have received sharply worded emails, often late at night that were, frankly uncalled for and unnecessary. I can count two times in my professional career that I responded back with the same tone and sharpness I was given, and to this day I regret it. I have learned to practice “the pause.” Pause before reading an expected email (especially when you know it’s going to contain bad news.) Pause before responding. It’s ok to capture your thoughts but maybe do them outside of outlook (like a blank page of Word) so that you can say what you want to, get it out and then delete. If after practicing “the pause” you still need to respond, pause again. Remember that outside of the “heat of the moment” your words will look different. Would you say the same thing if you knew for a fact your email would then be attached to a motion for sanctions, or worse, part of a state bar complaint? I also try to think about who my audience is, and how my message will be received. Practicing kindness applies to each thing you do, and especially your correspondence. You can be the bridge between your attorney and the world outside of your office simply by thinking about your audience and being kind in your delivery.

Take a Deep Breathe: Even after practicing kindness and patience, there will be people that are just not easy to work with. Take a deep breath, and remember this too is part of the process. If you can always remember that they are your client because they are under some type of stress either professionally or personally, it will help. I will admit that there have been times in my career as a paralegal that I let a snippy, biting client get the best of me. If you can reframe from the urge to “give it right back,” your relationships will be stronger. Let things roll off your back, lay down the irritation and remember that your ability to do so will indirectly keep you gainfully employed. Even the best paying clients can be difficult, and however miserable that makes our legal team, they are keeping the lights on. The same can also be said for the attorneys we work for and with. The majority of the time, their frustration is not at us, but the situation before us. Being the calm, focused member of the team and being the bridge between yourselves and the other side not only keeps things moving, but is the right thing to do.

Stephanie B. Elliott, NCCP is a senior litigation support paralegal for the law firm of McNair Law Firm in Charlotte. She specializes in litigation, and her experience encompasses commercial, corporate and complex business litigation, employment litigation, personal injury, insurance defense, and medical malpractice. She has experience with filings in the North Carolina Complex Business Court; State Court filings in counties across North Carolina, Federal Filings in the Western, Eastern and Middle districts of North Carolina, the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (Richmond, VA). Ms. Elliott is a faculty member of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Continuing Education Paralegal Certification Program, where she teaches Paralegal Profession and Legal Technology. She is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board and a faculty member of Gaston College’s Paralegal Program. Ms. Elliott received her B.S. degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1998. She is a Paralegal Technology Post-Baccalaureate Diploma Graduate from Central Piedmont Community College. Ms. Elliott obtained her North Carolina State Bar Certification in 2005.


WFU Law School Mom: This Is How She Does It

 By Ashley Oldfield

“I don’t know how you do it!”—that’s the response I usually get when I tell someone that I’m in law school and a parent.  I’m never sure how to respond because, frankly, I don’t know how I do it, either.  Law school is stressful and demanding for anyone, and it’s no surprise that having a family doesn’t make the experience any easier. In the end, I managed to effectively navigate through my first year, and I’d like to share a few of the lessons that I learned along the way.

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