Encryption Is Not a Four-Letter Word

,

What is encryption?

Encryption is a process to store your data so that only you can access it. There is an encryption “key” (essentially a password) that you keep to encrypt and decrypt the data. When the data is encrypted, it is converted to ones and zeros so that it can be stored securely, and if the encrypted data falls into the wrong hands (the bad guys or the NSA) it can NOT be read. You hold the only encryption key, and your data can only be decrypted (unlocked) and read by you.

Read more

Readers Like Suspense—Just Not in the Introduction To Your Brief

,

 

I welcome evidence to the contrary, but I don’t think that most courts appreciate surprises in briefs. Courts have limited time; they want to use that time to make the right decisions. The sooner you can tell a court why you should win, the better.

Put another way, the introduction to your brief matters a great deal.

Why, then, do so many introductions to briefs create surprises—or otherwise frustrate a reader—rather than provide a roadmap?

Read more

Balance the key to success for NCBA member Jim Siemens

,

Members in Focus highlights NCBA members’ special talents and hobbies. Jim Siemens is currently a Family Law Specialist with Siemens Law Group in Asheville.

Read more

It’s Up To Us To Bring the Law To the People

,

Editor’s note: As we look forward to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and other opportunities to serve, an NCBA member reflects on why service matters.

An undergraduate degree. Three years of law school. The bar exam. Debt, stress, hard work, and strains on our personal lives. We’ve sacrificed a lot and dedicated ourselves to earn the privilege of practicing law. Our pens are more than ink and plastic, our signatures more than markings. We have the trust of society to rewrite the lives of those around us. Our entire profession, in fact, is dependent on society’s trust based on our education, licensing, and code of professional conduct. Our pens, set to paper to draft a motion or sign a pleading, transform into tools of the law, and it’s a transformation that is exclusive to us.

Read more

NCBA adventurers conquer Norway’s knife-edge trails

,

By NCBA members Vance Barron  Jr., Locke Clifford, Barden Cooke, Robert DouglasRobert McClellan and Jonathan Maxwell

In the gloaming, silhouetted on Norway’s famous Besseggen Ridge, with no trail signs or anyone else in sight, a lone hiker is not sure he is on the trail. He is sure that his knee is acting up, and that he is bone weary. And he has miles to go.

Read more

Putting on ‘Airs and Graces’: The Power of Punctuation To Elevate Your Writing

,

 

Each time I sit down to write a punctuation column, I find myself second-guessing the topic. Do readers really want to read about commas, or dashes, or apostrophes?  Shouldn’t I be able to think of something more stimulating to write about?

But I am always pleasantly surprised at the number of readers who contact me to thank me for these punctuation refreshers and to suggest additional punctuation-related topics. Recently, I received a couple of requests for a column covering the proper use of colons and semicolons, and I am happy to oblige.

Read more

No New Clients In January and Other Tips for Avoiding Fee Disputes

,

 

By Ken Raynor 

Learning from the mistakes of others is far better than learning from your own follies. The work of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Fee Dispute Resolution Committee allows its members to see patterns of conduct which end up in disputes between attorneys and clients. Hopefully, the members use this experience to develop procedures and practices which will help avoid fee disputes. We thought it may be good to share with our associates some of the insights we have learned through our service as members of the Fee Dispute Committee. Read more

The Chair’s Comments

By Ginny Allen

Almost two months ago, I left my job as head of marketing and business development with a large North Carolina law firm to start my own company. Until recently, my interest within the law practice management and technology world had largely been technology, specifically marketing technologies.

Over the course of these last months, my eyes have been opened to the resilience, hard work, and investment of time it takes to get a business up and running.

Read more

A Gift for Those Who Walk the Extra Mile: A FitBit Review

By Russell Rawlings
“He likes this more than any present I have ever given him.”
So says my wife of 28 years in regard to the Fitbit activity tracker that my staff gave me for Christmas last year. I didn’t know what to make of the Fitbit One when I opened the package because the only Fitbits I had ever seen were of the wristband variety. Fitbit One proved the perfect choice because I can clip it to my pants pocket and track my steps throughout the day.

Read more

Clerk of Court John Connell Retires From Court of Appeals

By Russell Rawlings

John Connell just knew he had blown the interview. He was suffering from a cold, on medication, and unusually anxious.

“I felt I rushed it.”

That was nearly 30 years ago when he interviewed for the position of assistant clerk of court at the N.C. Court of Appeals. Not only did he get the job, but seven years later when the clerk’s position became open, he landed that job too.

The affable Connell retired Nov. 1, leaving behind a legacy of service and leadership that will permeate the Court of Appeals for years to come. Always quick with a smile and a self-effacing comeback, he covers his emotions well until the conversation turns to his co-workers.

Read more