Education Section Honors Murphy

By Chelsea Sutton

N.C. School Boards Association Assistant Legal Counsel Janine Murphy won the Ann L. Majestic Distinguished Service Award on April 12 from the North Carolina Bar Association’s Education Law Section.

Allison Schafer, NCSBA legal counsel and director of policy, presented Murphy with the award at the section’s annual meeting held at the NC Bar Center in Cary.

NCSBA staff and Murphy’s family congratulate her as she receives the Ann L. Majestic Distinguished Service Award. Pictured from left: Rachel Vachon, Chad Anderson, Debbie Shinbara, Cynthia Moore, Chelsea Sutton, Jim Murphy, Janine Murphy, John Murphy, Allison Schafer, and Nancy Black.

“She is a great resource to everyone across the state — superintendents, board members, school attorneys, and to us in the association,” said Schafer, who received the award in 2008.

The Ann L. Majestic Distinguished Service Award honors individuals for their exceptional leadership in education law and is the namesake of a previous recipient who was known in the school law community both locally and nationally.

“We all remember Ann Majestic for her outstanding dedication to public education in North Carolina, so it was a great honor for me to receive this award,” said Murphy.

At NCSBA, Murphy plays a pivotal role in managing policy services and developing legal training, among many other duties. Prior to joining the association in 2007, she had a 22-year stint with the Principals’ Executive Program at her alma mater, the University of North Carolina, which provided executive training to public school administrators.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to contribute to public education in North Carolina by working with school board members and school administrators for the past 30 years,” Murphy said.

Academic Freedom: Revival in the Fourth Circuit

By William Joseph Austin Jr.

In a case that was already topical, the Fourth Circuit recently rendered an opinion that renewed the concept of Academic Freedom as legal doctrine based in the First Amendment.

The case of Wood v. Arnold, 915 F.3d 308 (4th Cir. 2019), involved two statements concerning Islamic beliefs presented in a high school world history class.  The plaintiff argued that the statements endorsed Islam over Christianity and compelled her to profess belief in Islam.  The Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment against the plaintiff, holding that the statements did not impermissibly endorse Islam or compel the plaintiff to profess belief in it.

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Tech Tip: Text Status Updates to Clients Using Your Email


By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints from clients. It is frequently the paralegal’s job to make sure clients are kept abreast of the latest developments in their cases. As the business world embraces various methods of communication, so must the legal field.

This idea was especially highlighted when I read a post on a legal forum about a paralegal who had mailed a notice of hearing to a client, but the client did not show up for the hearing. The paralegal was concerned that her supervising attorney was holding her responsible for the client’s no-show. She wanted opinions on whether it was really her responsibility or the client’s responsibility since she had sent the notice. She was also looking for ways to prevent this from happening again.

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Protecting Your Practice: Tech and Security Tips for Small and Solo Firms

By Francisco Morales and Chris Michalec

The ever-evolving world of technology and cybersecurity present a unique set of challenges to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Security breaches are so commonplace these days that it’s no longer about “if” you will be hacked, but “when.” In an address at a major information security conference in 2012, then-FBI director Robert Mueller told the crowd: “I am convinced that there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be. And they are even converging into one category: companies that have been hacked and will be hacked again.” Remarks by Robert S. Mueller III at RSA Cyber Security Conference, San Francisco, CA, March 1, 2012.

Law firms are often viewed as “one-stop shops” for hackers given the enormous quantity of sensitive and confidential information stored in firms’ systems. Even more concerning, in general, law firms have lagged behind in adapting to the rapid changes in technology and cybersecurity, and many law firms (big and small) have been subject to well-documented cyber attacks in the last few years. For example, in 2015, a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca was the subject of a high-profile cyber attack, in which 11.5 million documents were exposed by an anonymous source.

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Review of the Joint Annual Meeting for the IP and SEL Sections

By Angelica N. McDonald

On Friday, April 5, 2019, the Intellectual Property Law and the Sports & Entertainment Law sections of the NCBA combined forces for a special joint Annual Meeting. With parallel and overlapping tracks of law, the meeting covered the latest developments in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secrets, and sports and entertainment law.  The attendees were able to gain insight from both in-house and outside counsel on issues related to IP Law, Sports and Entertainment Law, and the intersection of the different practice areas.

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May Is Member Appreciation Month … Again!

By Josh McIntyre

Big things are happening at the NCBA in May. As a member, there’s a good chance you’re attending a CLE, heading out of town for a section or division annual meeting or socializing at a networking event, but there’s one new tradition that occurs over the next five weeks that brings innovative benefits to you: Member Appreciation Month.

Following the popularity of the event last year, the NCBA is again coordinating complimentary services in locations across the state and online just to thank you for being part of the club. This year we are offering classes on creating a website and individual social media profile reviews, along with the usual fun  giveaways. Space is limited in some categories, so be sure to register with the information below:

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Spring Has Arrived, But the National Credit Security Freeze Is Here To Stay

By Eva Lorenz and Suzanne Begnoche

During 2018, the North Carolina Department of Justice received notices from businesses of a total of 1,057 data breaches, affecting 1.9 million North Carolinians.[1] Businesses subject to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-65 must provide breach notices to all affected persons.[2] Although not legally obligated to do so under North Carolina law, many affected businesses also offer victims a period of free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring does alert a subscriber to credit file changes. Anyone who wants to do more than sit and wait for identity theft to happen, however, must lock down access to their credit reports by initiating statutory security freezes.

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Me and My Mini-MBA

By Erik Mazzone

The day started off innocuously enough.

I was in a meeting with my boss and I passed him a spreadsheet I had been working on. He has an MBA and has, shall we say, well-developed thoughts and feelings about spreadsheets. I majored in English and have well-developed thoughts and feelings on who is the vilest character in “Game of Thrones.” (Ramsay Bolton over Joffrey by a nose.)

After reviewing the spreadsheet for a couple of minutes, Jason looked up and said, “Hey … I have an idea. Why don’t you attend the Mini-MBA program in December?” His reaction wasn’t a total surprise. My spreadsheet skills could best be described as “Needs Improvement.” Microsoft Excel isn’t my love language.

NCBA Spring Executive Education Courses
​Elements of Business Management, May 30-31
Elements of Construction Management, June 4-5
Find details and register here.

The Mini-MBA held in December 2018 was the NCBA’s first executive education program. I was excited about this foray. My time as the director of the Center for Practice Management convinced me that there are lots of things that lawyers want and need to learn that do not qualify for CLE credit. Executive education courses — intensive, short-format courses taught by professional faculty and not offered for CLE credit — seemed an ideal way to fill that need.

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The International Law and Practice Section Is Now the International Practice Section


We are pleased to announce that the International Law and Practice Section has a new name. The NCBA Board of Governors has approved our changing our name from the International Law and Practice Section to the International Practice Section. Being lawyers, much thought — and discussion — went into this name change.  Essentially, our new name is more accurate, incorporating diverse areas of legal practice such as immigration law. It also accurately reflects that many legal practices contain cross-border issues without being engaged in the practice of public international law. By changing our name, we position ourselves as a more inclusive Section that recognizes and provides value added to the diverse practices of our current and future Section members.


Proposed Pattern Jury Instructions Submitted

The Insurance Law Section Council previously prepared and approved last spring four proposed Pattern Jury Instructions relating to insurance litigation.  Those proposed instructions, which may be seen on the Section website, cover the following topics:

  1. First-party bad faith;
  2. Expected or intended injury exclusion in CGL policy;
  3. Expected or intended injury exclusion in homeowners’ policy; and
  4. UM/UIM resident of household.

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