A Story Too Captivating To Go Untold

By Russell Rawlings
By the time you read this, Steve Epstein may be famous. His first book, “Murder on Birchleaf Drive: The True Story of the Michelle Young Murder Case,” is that good.

The true crime story chronicles the trials, appeals and conviction of the victim’s husband, Jason Young.

Here’s what fellow NCBA member David Rudolf, famous in his own right for his defense of novelist Michael Peterson and resulting Netflix series “The Staircase,” had to say about it: “A compelling and accurate description of a fascinating murder case, from the initial investigation through the twists and turns of two trials, and all of the strategic decisions in between. One of the best true crime books I have read. Very entertaining.”

The murder, which also claimed the couple’s unborn son, occurred in the couple’s Raleigh home on Nov. 3, 2006. On Nov. 30, 2018, following multiple trials and appeals, the N.C. Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Paul Ridgeway’s ruling that Jason Young was not entitled to a third trial.

Thus, as Epstein writes in the book’s final paragraph, “… barring a turn of events of a magnitude far greater than the hung jury or the first Court of Appeals’ decision, Jason Lynn Young will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

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Checking In: August 26, 2019

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Adam deNobriga joins the Charlotte office of Bell, Davis & Pitt as a director. He has nine years of experience as a litigator, particularly focusing on construction defect, property damage, and professional malpractice. deNobriga has worked on cases in N.C. Superior Court, N.C. Business Court, and federal courts. He is licensed to practice law in Tennessee as well as North Carolina.

 

 

 

Jared Mobley has been appointed managing partner of the Charlotte office of K&L Gates. He focuses his practice on complex aspects of U.S. federal, state and local taxation, including creating and implementing tax-efficient structures for the firm’s clients. He holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Laws in tax law from New York University.

 

 

 

 

Spencer Beard joins the Wilmington office of McAngus Goudelock & Courie. Beard is a litigation attorney of 15 years, with a particular focus on construction and trucking, and he is admitted to the bar in both Mississippi and North Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi.

 

 

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What’s It Take To Argue a SCOTUS Case? A Lot Of Midnight Oil

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When the chance to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court comes up, sleep becomes a distant memory. We got a behind-the-case look from some NCBA members who were there this spring. Find this story and more in the August edition of North Carolina Lawyer magazine.

By Amber Nimocks

Drew Erteschik’s phone buzzed in his pocket like a bug zapper. He first thought the texts were from his wife, suggesting what he might pick up for dinner. But one glance at the text from his law partner, “We have it!! We have cert!!” — the first of approximately 250 messages blowing up his phone — and he knew this was bigger than what was for supper.

It was Jan. 11, and the U.S. Supreme Court had just granted certiorari in N.C. Department of Revenue v. The Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust. N.C. Solicitor General Matt Sawchak, Sawchak’s colleagues Jim Doggett and Ryan Park, former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, and Erteschik represented the Department of Revenue.

With the cert grant, the clock began ticking. The team had only three months to ready their A games for scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court. Sleep would be become a rare luxury for those focused on the case, as comprehensive research and analysis, brief writing, and argument preparation consumed all hours of the day.

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Enduring Tedium: The Future of Fights Over Electronically Stored Information

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By Sean F. Herrmann

“Seeking justice often involves enduring tedium.” It’s fitting that North Carolina’s first substantive legal decision on eDiscovery begins with this pithy observation. Employment litigators often lament the virtual hellscape of discovering electronically stored information (“ESI”). But the era when paper was king is long dead, and the fight is now firmly in the cyber world of custodians, native formats, and keyword searches.

For those in federal court, at least rules and precedent exist to help guide them through the dark ESI forest (especially those that find themselves before Chief Judge Frank Whitney in the Western District of North Carolina). North Carolina state court practitioners haven’t been so lucky. That is until this week. On Aug. 6, 2019, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued its first substantive decision on ESI in Crosmun v. Trustees of Fayetteville Technical Cmty. Coll. (No. COA18-1054). Judge Lucy Inman, who authored the opinion, put it well: “This appeal presents this Court with our first opportunity to address the contours of eDiscovery within the context of North Carolina common and statutory law regarding the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine.” The Court ultimately reversed the trial court’s order granting Plaintiffs’ forensic expert direct access to Defendants’ ESI, but the way the Court got there and its recommendations on remand are far more important than the holding itself.

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The Dark Side of Instant Messaging for Business

By Kevin J. Stanfield

How do companies balance the efficiencies of instant messaging with potential legal risks? Instant messaging applications are increasingly present in today’s corporate world and a popular form of communications both internally, between company employees, and externally with clients and partner organizations. The days of face-to-face meetings between managers and employees in conference rooms or popping into someone’s office to discuss a project are no longer the norm. Today, many modern employees are using instant messaging (“IM”) as a “virtual water cooler” or “virtual conference room” to collaborate and share information and files with co-workers and customers in real time, using platforms such as Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google’s Hangouts.

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Checking In: July 26, 2019

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Domestic litigation firm Cordell & Cordell has recently hired attorney A. Allister Cooper to join its office in Wilmington. Cooper’s practice focuses on both family law and employment law. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Juris Doctorate from the Charlotte School of Law.

 

 

 

Joseph DelPapa returns to Ward and Smith’s Raleigh office, where his practice will focus on securities, tax and transactional law. DelPapa has previously served as fractional general counsel for several companies as well as worked as a certified public accountant. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, summa cum laude, from North Carolina State University as well as a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Florida.

 

 

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Kate Deiter-Maradei Knows How To Work

As we continue to celebrate wellness this summer, we’re introducing NCBA members who excel at living healthy lives. Kate Deiter-Maradei sets an example as a highly effective person who doesn’t let work rule her life.

By Amber Nimocks

The first thing you notice about Kate Deiter-Maradei is her smile. It’s wide. It’s bright. And more often than not, it’s spread across her face.

Hers is the kind of smile you wear when you’ve figured something out, something important. For Deiter-Maradei that something is work. She’s figured out how to make a living practicing the kind of law that gives her a sense of meaning and helps others. More than that, she’s figured out how to keep her livelihood from crowding out her life.

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The Stages Of a Lawyer’s Vacation

Is there any day more relaxing than the Wednesday of vacation week? What if every day of vacation could be like that?

By Marc E. Gustafson

As we enter the post-Fourth of July dog days of summer, many of us are either just returning from vacation, leaving soon for a vacation or daydreaming about an upcoming vacation.  After recently returning from an annual “vacation” at the beach with my family and some friends (and I say “vacation” because we have 4- and 6-year-old boys), I spent some time thinking about the various stages of my time away.

Stage 1: Preparing to Leave Work Behind

The first stage begins even before vacation starts.  Undoubtedly, there is the mad rush of deadlines, scrambling to get projects to the stage where they can safely lie dormant for at least a week and trying to avoid calls/emails/incoming work that could completely upend your vacation plans.

If you can safely navigate away from the office without any major events, you can start to relax.  Well, maybe start to start to relax.  As most vacations begin on a Saturday or Sunday, there’s the rush of travel involving luggage, cars, airplanes, shuttles, boats and maybe all the above.

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I learned one thing last week: Wellness is about balance.

During wellness expert Laura Mahr’s NCBA Annual Meeting CLE session, attendees physically embraced wellness techniques.

By Josh McIntyre

It’s hard to avoid the topic of wellness in the legal world these days. Whether it’s a new ABA initiative, an article in last month’s N.C. State Bar Journal, or our own North Carolina Bar Association Annual Meeting, the good news is that the legal community locally and at large seems to be embracing the reality that the stress of our profession is high and we have to take intentional, mindful steps to promote a healthy workplace and lifestyle.

This topic was front and center for me last week, when nearly 700 NCBA members and guests came to Biltmore for our 2019 Annual Meeting. My department is responsible for this event, and our staff spent countless hours over the past year finding speakers, booking activities and setting up dinners and luncheons, nearly all of which included some aspect of our overarching theme of Wellness: Work, Mind, Body, Life.

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Demystifying Paralegal Credentials for Lawyers and Paralegals

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By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

Recently, I overheard a discussion regarding whether attorneys understand the content of paralegal programs and the meaning of the post-nominal certification credentials you increasingly see behind paralegals’ names. One person responded that many fledgling paralegals don’t understand the difference between being certified and having a certificate, so how can attorneys be expected to understand these distinctions. While these issues may not seem pressing, they are important.

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