Category: L3: Long Leaf Law – Featured Posts (page 2 of 11)

The NCBA Will Be At Your Swearing-in Ceremony, I Swear!

By Josh McIntyre

Growing up I was always told not to swear. And I don’t just mean “cuss” words.

I mean I was actually instructed not to say the phrase “I swear.” I could “promise” or “pledge” to do something, but actually swearing to do it was taboo.

The aversion to that phrasing stemmed from my cultural and religious upbringing, in which a warning against swearing was pervasive not only in church but also in society. And, in many ways, including at the upcoming bar swearing-in ceremonies, it continues to be so.

Newly licensed attorneys automatically receive a free year of NCBA membership. Go to to find out more.

As hundreds of newly licensed attorneys across North Carolina prepare to be admitted to the bar this month, they can choose from two versions of the N.C. State Bar’s Oath of Office form. If they print page one, they can solemnly “swear.” But if they print page two, they can solemnly “affirm.”

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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


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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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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Lunch-hour CLE With a Rock Star: The Slants Front Man Talks About the Legal Battle To Name His Band

Spend your Monday lunch hour chatting with a rock star while earning CLE/CPE credit. Register for the webcast “A Name Worth Fighting For: How Naming My Band The Slants Got Me To the Supreme Court,” featuring rocker Simon Tam, presented by the NCBA CLE Department. Members of the NCBA  Intellectual Property Law, Litigation, and Sports & Entertainment Law sections enjoy a discounted rate.

Tam, founder and bassist of The Slants, will talk about how his fight with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over his band’s name led to a U.S. Supreme Court case. The webcast discussion runs from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18. Tam will answer audience questions and speak frankly about racism, legal troubles and his incredible stories of playing in the world’s “first and only Asian-American dance rock band.”

Here’s a preview of Monday’s conversation, based on a Q&A with Joyce Brafford, NCBA’s  Distance Learning Manager for CLE.

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#myNCBA: The New Way To Share Social Media Love

We want to let the world know what the NCBA means to you. So, we’ve created a new hashtag – #myNCBA – that will allow all of us to share thoughts, feelings and photos about this fellowship we know as the N.C. Bar Association.

Whether it’s grabbing coffee with another member, working with a group on a pro bono project or attending a CLE and loving the auditorium music playlist, we want to know what makes the NCBA special for you.

Here’s how it works: Include the hashtag #myNCBA in your social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Anyone else who has a public social media account and uses #myNCBA will be automatically shown all other public posts that include the hashtag. And you can find fellow members’ posts with #myNCBA, too.

Share all the events, memories and interactions that make your NCBA membership meaningful to you. During the month of September, show us your NCBA moments with #myNCBA for a chance to win a weekly prize. For example, post a photo of one of your favorite speakers from this year’s Annual Meeting with a caption telling us why you enjoyed the speaker and include #myNCBA.

Each week every post that includes #myNCBA will be entered into a prize drawing. So tell us about your favorite Annual Meeting, section networking event, member event, or anything else NCBA-related that brings a smile to your face. We can’t wait to see what makes your membership in NCBA special to you!


Go Back To School With NCBA Member Discounts and Student Involvement Opportunities

By Josh McIntyre

Big box store checkout lines are longer, rush hour traffic has doubled and, if you’re a parent, your wallet may be a bit lighter. That’s right, back-to-school season is upon us, and the North Carolina Bar Association is here to help.

Our Member Discount program with Office Depot means members get contract pricing on almost everything in the store, including items on that long list of school supplies from your child’s teacher. Prices are often discounted up to 40 percent, and members can order online through a dedicated NCBA webpage or in person with their NCBA Store Purchasing Card. This card is stored automatically in the Member Benefits App, and the membership department can also mail a physical card to any member who requests it. We hope this program helps get you what you need for the classroom. Meanwhile, the NCBA is getting in the classroom, too!

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‘For Want Of a Comma’: The Latest In the Oxford Comma War

By Laura Graham

“For want of a comma, we have this case.”  Thus begins the opinion in O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy,[1] a 1st Circuit case decided in March that has rekindled a long-standing debate: Should the Oxford comma be used or not?

The Oxford comma—also known as the serial comma or the Harvard comma—is the comma between the penultimate and final items in a written list. For example, in the sentence, “The American flag is red, white, and blue,” the comma after “white” is an Oxford comma. Punctuation purists insist that the Oxford comma should always be used; but other constituencies argue that it is usually superfluous and unnecessary and should be reserved for sentences in which the absence of the comma would create ambiguity.

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