Catherine Reach, Visionary Legal Tech Leader, To Join NCBA Staff As CPM Director

By Erik Mazzone
NCBA Membership Experience, Senior Director

I am super excited to share with you that we have hired a new Director of the Center for Practice Management. Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of Law Practice Management and Technology for the Chicago Bar Association and former Director of the Legal Technology Resource Center for the American Bar Association, will serve as our new CPM Director beginning on Oct. 31.

I couldn’t be more pleased and proud to have Catherine join the NCBA. She is one of the most widely respected law practice management advisors in the country. She was an inductee into the inaugural class of the Fastcase 50 – an award which recognizes the year’s “smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law.”

Catherine Sanders Reach

Catherine is also a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, which honors extraordinary achievement in law practice management and in stimulating innovation in the delivery of legal services. She received her Bachelor of Arts (English) and Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama.

Catherine has been an highly sought after speaker and volunteer with the ABA, having served as a member of the Law Practice Futures Initiative, a member of the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, and is currently serving as a Vice Chair of TECHSHOW, one of the largest legal technology conferences in the world.

Qualifications and accolades aside, Catherine has been a gracious colleague, insightful mentor (including to me, which is vexing because she is younger than I am), and a generous leader in the law practice management community. She’s been a good friend to the NCBA and has spoken at our programs many times over the past years. Catherine is a great addition for our team, and I know once you get to know and work with her, you will be excited about her joining us as I am.

A Higher Calling: Hurricane Florence Relief From Above

Have a Hurricane Florence story to share on NCBarBlog or in NC Lawyer magazine? Email Amber Nimocks.

By Bettie Kelley Sousa

The Wednesday after Hurricane Florence left the state, Smith Debnam partners gathered for their monthly lunch meeting, normally chaired by the law firm’s managing partner, Jerry Myers. Many learned then that Myers’  absence resulted from his accepting a higher calling — delivering supplies in his small airplane to Eastern North Carolina charities.

In this day of drones and helicopters, small planes landing on short runways provided a much needed service to the hurricane survivors. With hundreds of roads, including I-40 and I-95, flooded and closed to delivery trucks, the federal, state and local governments set up shelters, conducted rescues, and assessed damage on a larger scale. But, for the day-to-day lives of most of the population, thankfulness for survival melted into desperation to return to normalcy. Cash does no good when there are no stores open, or no stock on the shelves.

Want to help Hurricane Florence survivors? The North Carolina Disaster Legal Services pro bono program needs volunteers. Find details at

Smith Debnam Managing Partner Jerry Myers, an NCBA member,  stuffed his personal airplane with supplies for Hurricane Florence survivors and flew them into isolated areas after the storm.

Yet there were able-bodied locals who could help deliver bottled water and supplies to people in need.  Help with the “who-needs-what.” Recognizing the missing link, Operation Airdrop flew into action after Florence. Connecting the donors, and the donated goods, to charities with volunteers to deliver the donations had been done before in Houston, after the similar disaster from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. A Texas non-profit, volunteer led group, Operation Airdrop is a loose organization of pilots and small airplanes which sought and coordinated volunteers through the internet. Call it a “pop up,” with no true existence until the need arises, Operation Airdrop denotes itself as a “week one disaster response organization.” And, after Florence, the need arose in North Carolina.

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NCBA LRS Benefit So Sweet, a Member Just Had To Bring Us Chocolates

The Lawyer Referral Service is one of many benefits available to NCBA members.
Renew your membership before Oct. 31 to stay with the NCBA.

By M’Lea Peak
NCBA Lawyer Referral Service Program Coordinator

Not every attorney on his way to pay a $20,000 bill would have a spring in his step and smile on his face. But when Steve Paul stopped by the North Carolina Bar Center on a sunny afternoon last fall, not only was he smiling, he was also carrying an armload of Godiva chocolates for the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service staff.

Paul was dropping off a remittance fee check representing 10 percent of his share of a medical negligence case that originated with a referral from LRS. Standard operating procedure does not require attorneys to deliver their remittance fee checks in person – or for them to bring chocolates – but the LRS staff is happy to accommodate both practices.

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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.

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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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