Providing Legal Aid To Hurricane Florence Victims Will Help Them — and You

By Amber Nimocks

The feelings of panic and helplessness that overcame us as we watched Hurricane Florence ravage our state have dissipated only slightly as the skies have cleared. The persistent question remains: “How can I help?”

The North Carolina Bar Association and Foundation have several answers to that question. Among them is NC Disaster Legal Services (NC DLS), a collaborative effort to provide immediate pro bono legal assistance to survivors of Hurricane Florence, supported by the North Carolina Bar Association, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association and Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC).

Volunteers who worked with NC DLS following Hurricane Matthew in 2016 keenly understand the powerful ways this program can support victims who are facing legal questions and conundrums they have never been faced with before. After Matthew, nearly 200 North Carolina lawyers volunteered to assist more than 300 storm survivors. The comments of a few of them below attest to the power of this volunteer work.

Rachel Blunk, NCBA YLD Chair

“From preventing evictions, to securing FEMA benefits that were initially denied, or helping to sort out insurance claims, our volunteer attorneys readily stepped in to help survivors begin to rebuild their lives.”

 

 

Will Quick, NCBA YLD Administrative
Division Director

“Volunteering with NC DLS was a tangible way for me to make a positive difference for people who are just trying to put their lives back together. The thing that sticks out the most to me from clients I’ve helped is that sometimes all that is needed is a willing ear and a sympathetic heart – not necessarily a deep well of legal experience. Many of the clients are just deeply touched that someone cares about them and is willing to help with their problems.”

 

Brooks Jaffa, NCBA YLD Standing Committee on DLS

“As attorneys we occupy a position of privilege and possess a unique set of skills. We have the responsibility to use these gifts to assist those in need.  After Hurricane Matthew, many attorneys from across North Carolina graciously volunteered their time, energy and expertise to assist victims with what, in many instances, were their most challenging obstacles to recovering. Through their efforts and kindness, many of our fellow citizens who otherwise would have been unable to address these obstacles were able to put their lives and the lives of their families back together.”

Other Ways to Help

Signing up as an NC DLS volunteer puts your name in a database of attorneys willing to volunteer. Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) will assign questions as they come in from clients, but it may be some time before you are called. For more details on the DLS process, see the details at www.ncbar.org/florence. For volunteer-related questions, email NCDLSVolunteers@gmail.com.

In addition to NC DLS, attorneys can provide help via a pro bono service new to North Carolina: NC Free Legal Answers. NC FLA is a virtual, pro bono legal advice clinic for attorneys to help victims of Hurricane Florence who have law-related needs or questions.

Financial giving is also an option: You can support the provision of legal services efforts following this devastating storm by making a donation to the North Carolina Bar Foundation’s North Carolina Disaster Legal Services Fund.

Restoring Faith

No  matter how you choose to help, those you serve will remember your efforts long after you have finished your work with them. As one victim told North Carolina Lawyer magazine in an anonymous account of her post-Matthew ordeal:

“I don’t have words to describe how professional he was, his attention to detail, how thoughtful and kind he was, how basically he restored our faith in humanity. We did not have the money … to afford an attorney. Sometimes you just don’t know where to turn; just maneuvering through FEMA took a lot of understanding. … For him to explain and to know what to do to help us through this process, I just don’t have the words to describe it.”

Sept. 4, 2018

Ann Marie Holder has joined Colombo, Kitchin, Dunn, Ball & Porter, LLP in Greenville, N.C., as an associate attorney. Holder has worked in big and small firm practices, public counsel service, and the Governor’s Legal Counsel Office. Holder will practice in the areas of administrative law, estate and trust planning and administration, contract disputes and commercial litigation. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

 

 

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Aug. 18, 2018

James King has joined Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP as an associate based in its Raleigh office. King will join the firm’s Medical Malpractice Practice Group. King previously worked in the general litigation practice of a law firm in Greensboro. Prior to joining CSH Law, he worked on a variety of matters including the defense of medical malpractice claims and professional licensing board investigations.  King is a North Carolina native and a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, with honors.

 

 

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Avoid a Benchslap: Four Writing Tips You Ignore At Your Peril

By Abigail Perdue

Above the Law’s founder, David Lat, has been credited with coining the term “benchslap” in 2004.[1] It generally refers to a particularly scathing insult from a judge to an attorney, litigant, or on occasion, another judge.

Benchslaps occur in many forms and for many reasons. For example, in Mannheim Video v. County of Cook, a Seventh Circuit panel “benchslapped” counsel by pointing out that the “ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against a litigant’s contention does not exist is as unprofessional as it is pointless.”[2] Likewise, in denying a motion for disqualification, a U.S. District Court Judge concluded that the Defendants “aspire[d] to be magicians. . . . [L]ike David Copperfield’s tricks, their motion [was] nothing but smoke and mirrors.”[3] He expressed doubt that counsel had “adequately research[ed] the case law”[4] and warned them to “think twice before filing such a baseless motion” or “risk being sanctioned.”[5]

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Call It What You Want, This Blog Thing Is Catching On

By Amber Nimocks

Welcome to your new NCBarBlog, NCBA members and guests. I hope you like the changes we’ve made because we made them with you in mind. With a new look and feel, and some upcoming tweaks to the member posting process, the NCBA blog community aspires to be a welcoming space where you can read, write and stay involved with your NCBA.

NCBarBlog has taken off since we launched it three years ago thanks to member support and contributions. Twenty-eight Sections and Divisions have moved their content from the newsletter format to NCBarBlog since we kicked off, with six more slated to embrace the blog during this 2018-19 bar year.

During 2017-18, more than 300 posts went up on NCBarBlog, earning tens of thousands of page views. Those who have attended the Section and Division Council meetings where I presented information on newsletter readership know that this means a lot more eyes are seeing the articles that members work so hard to research, write and edit.

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July 23, 2018

Pardis Camarda has joined Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP as an associate based in its Wilmington office. Pardis will join the firm’s Admiralty & Maritime Practice. Pardis previously worked as Staff Counsel at a law firm in Middletown, NY where she practiced injury litigation and as an associate at a Queens, NY law firm where she practiced real estate law. Pardis received her law degree from the St. John’s University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University.  She is admitted to practice law in North Carolina and New York.

 

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Annual Meeting ’18 Draws a Near-Record Crowd

By James Kilbourne

It feels like just yesterday that the sun set across the Cape Fear River on the last night of the 2018 Annual Meeting in Wilmington.

For decades, the attorneys of North Carolina have been meeting every summer to discuss changes to the law, to honor the most deserving in the profession, and to break bread together as lawyers and friends.  In June during three fun-filled, eventful days, a near-record number of Bar Association members, their spouses, and guests traveled to the coast to partake in the annual gathering. Wilmington did not disappoint, as you can see in our pictures and videos.

The attendees included:

  •             406 Bar Association Members
  •             285 Registered Guests
  •             150 Superior Court Judges (approximately)
  •             8 former or current N.C. Supreme Court Justices
  •             A Quorum of the en banc Court of Appeals
  •             A Gaggle of kids, dogs, and other fun-seekers

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Checking In: New Feature Keeps You Up To Date On Career Moves and Changes

Checking In: Career Moves and Changes is the newest regular feature on NCBarBlog.com. We’ll update you here on hirings and promotions at North Carolina law firms and practices of any size. NCBA members and non-member attorneys and paralegals qualify for inclusion in the Checking In column, offered at no cost. Email all notifications to Kelly Connors, kconnors@ncbar.org.

Please see the Checking In Guidelines for details on what types of announcements qualify for inclusion in the column.

Alesha Brown has joined Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP as an associate based in its Charlotte office where she will practice civil litigation. She previously practiced insurance defense at a firm in New York City and served as counsel to the New York City Council’s Committees on Civil Rights and Contracts.  Brown grew up in Charleston, S.C. and received her law degree from New York Law School and her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina where she graduated magna cum laude.

 

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Privacy and Data Security Law: Kind of a Big Deal

By Alex Pearce

One of the hottest areas in the law is privacy and data security.  Both the NCBA and our colleagues at the North Carolina State Bar have noticed.

In this inaugural blog post of the NCBA’s Privacy and Data Security Committee, we discuss two developments of which all North Carolina lawyers interested in this important field should take note: (1) the State Bar’s new Privacy and Information Security Law specialty certification, and (2) plans for our Committee to become a full-fledged NCBA Section.

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Add Your Two Cents: The Ethics Of Serving Clients Who Use Coins and Digital Assets

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An ethics inquiry regarding Digital Assets and Blockchain Businesses is currently being circulated for comment. Click here to read the inquiry: Coins and Digital Assets Ethics Request to NC Bar (June 2018). If you would like to provide a comment, please follow up directly with the State Bar as indicated below. The Ethics Committee is tentatively scheduled to consider this inquiry at its next quarterly meeting in July 2018.

Inquiry:
How can law firms ethically service clients who are using Coins and other Digital Assets?

Deadline:
July 12, 2018.  Items received after this date will still be included in the materials that go in front of the Ethics Committee, but I urge you to meet the deadline to increase the chances that the committee members will have a chance to review it in advance of their meeting.

Comments/Responses:
Should be directed in writing to Alice Neece Mine at the N.C. State Bar and may be submitted via email (amine@ncbar.gov or ethicsadvice@ncbar.gov), facsimile (919-821-9168), or regular mail (P.O. Box 25908, Raleigh, NC 27611-5908).