No Lawyer Jokes Here – Attorney Survey Is Serious Stuff

The pursuit of happiness – professional and personal – is always in the back of our minds. For a few minutes, we’d like to put it front and center.

If you’ve not yet completed the online State of the Profession Survey from the N.C. Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, please take some time to do so now at The survey password was mailed to all licensed North Carolina attorneys on April 5.

For those who have completed the survey, thank you very much for your participation.

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A UBE For NC: You Say Bring It On

By Amber Nimocks

A few months ago, we asked NCBA members to respond to a short survey on the growing possibility of North Carolina’s adoption of a Uniform Bar Exam. More than 300 readers chimed in. Below is a snapshot of the results along with a few of the many reader comments. To read all the comments poll takers left, go to the North Carolina Lawyer page of our website.



What is your reaction to the N.C. Board of Law Examiners’ move toward adopting the Uniform Bar Exam?

The majority of the 311 respondents, 59 percent, reacted in favor of the change.

89 or 29 percent: “It’s about time.”

95 or 30 percent: “It’s a good idea.”

127 or 41 percent: “It’s an abomination.”

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Key Changes to NC Rules of Appellate Procedure

By Laura Graham

On Jan. 1, 2017, a comprehensive revision of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure took effect. The revised Rules apply to all cases appealed on or after Jan. 1. The revised Rules include some brand new provisions, and they also incorporate several changes that had been in effect for some time pursuant to stand-alone orders of the North Carolina Supreme Court.[1]  The revised Rules are available here:

No doubt, attorneys who regularly handle appeals have already scoured the revised Rules for brand new changes. But for the benefit of the rest of us, I’ve chosen to highlight five provisions in the revised Rules; the first three are new changes, and the other two are codifications of prior stand-alone changes.

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Change Is Coming Fast (!)

By Matthew A. (Matt) Cordell

“The only constant in life is change.”  So wrote Heraclitus about 2,500 years ago on a papyrus roll using a stylus dipped in ink. Time has proven him correct.

Although change was a very real part of life during the era of Heraclitus, change in our lifetime is accelerating at an unprecedented pace. Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, observed that the pace of technological change in the microchip processor industry seemed to be doubling every year, and he predicted that the trend would continue. Now known as “Moore’s Law,” his statement is often applied more generally to all technology: It is said that the rate of technological change doubles yearly. Other aspects of life, including societal values and international commerce, are also changing with extraordinary speed.

While we all understand that the law typically lags behind technological and social changes, the law and the legal profession are nonetheless changing at an increasingly rapid pace. The sheer size and scope of law grows daily as regulatory agencies promulgate thousands of pages of new rules and guidance (80,260 pages published in the Federal Register alone in 2015, according to the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University) and hundreds of courts and agencies create new precedent. As the law becomes exponentially more complex and changes ever more rapidly, lawyers (and the growing industries that complement or compete with lawyers to provide legal services) must evolve … and they are.

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Teen Sexting Prosecutions Expose Harsh Gap In N.C. Law

Editor’s note: This article appears in the February 2017 edition of North Carolina Lawyer and the December edition of the NCBA’s Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section newsletter.

By LaToya B. Powell

Most parents today are warning their teenagers about the dangers of sharing sexually explicit images of themselves with others by cell phone or computer, also known as sexting. The behavior is not only inappropriate, but it also exposes teens to potential embarrassment, humiliation, and further victimization if the photos are disclosed to third parties without their consent. However, the potential harm caused by sexting goes far beyond the social stigma.

A growing number of teens in NC and across the nation are facing criminal charges for sexting. LaToya Powell, Teen “Sexting” is a Problem, But Is it a Crime?, NC Crim. Law Blog (Sept. 8, 2015, 8:29 AM), Because the state does not have a sexting specific law, the conduct is typically prosecuted under laws prohibiting child pornography and obscenity. Id. These offenses carry severe penalties, including a permanent criminal record, sex offender registration, and imprisonment for up to 20 years for juveniles who are charged as adults.[1] Advocates argue that such harsh consequences are grossly disproportionate to the harm caused by consensual teen sexting and many states have created new laws to address the problem.

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Next Up For NCBA Membership Events: A March Madness-St. Patrick’s Day Mash-Up

By Josh McIntyre

On a chilly night in Durham last November, nearly 200 NCBA members and guests saw a side of President Kearns Davis that, until previously, only a handful of family members and the Duke football faithful might have known – that of Coach Kearns Davis.  The UNC vs. Duke football game last fall marked the first Member Event of this bar year, and as fans approached the tent, they were greeted with a slightly (25 years) younger life-size cutout of Davis from his days as an assistant Blue Devils coach in 1991. And while the archived picture was a surprise to Davis and his family, the popularity and success of this Member Event and others has come to be expected.

Since the formation of Member Events in 2015, nearly all experiences have been a sellout, including the 100 seats allotted for the Feb. 11 Charlotte Hornets vs. LA Clippers game. Member Events are designed to bring unique and high-demand educational and entertainment experiences at cost-conscious prices to NCBA members and guests. The next Member Event will be Irish I Were At March Madness! on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, when all members are invited to view the live NCAA tournament games on our new HD widescreen projector in the auditorium at the Bar Center in Cary. The event, which will include complimentary beer from Lonerider Brewing,  is free for members and guests, but registration is required.

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Try Snapchat, and Three Other Resolutions For the Rest of 2017

By Erik Mazzone

Here we are a mere 60 days into 2017 and my many well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions are dead and buried with a fresh covering of rationalization and self-loathing.

I am wicked and weak.

Exercise, salad and watching less television are overrated, anyway, right?

Still, it’s a little depressing to chalk 2017 up to a total fail so early. There are probably some little things that I can resolve to do. Small changes and incremental improvements that have a chance of being sustainable. Things that might actually happen.

I am moderate and rational.

I’ve got my list of stuff to work on. If your resolutions have chalk outlines around them, as well, come on and join me with a few new ones of your own. Bonus points if they are useful or fun. We’ll call them our “almost new year’s resolutions.”

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Make That 20 Of 26 N.C. Governors Who Were Lawyers, Too

By Russell Rawlings

The February 2017 edition of North Carolina Lawyer magazine acknowledged the inauguration of Roy Cooper, a lawyer and member of the North Carolina Bar Association, as North Carolina’s 75th governor.

The article also denoted an impressive statistic regarding the frequency with which lawyers have held this state’s highest office since the establishment of the NCBA. Since 1899, it was reported, 19 lawyers and only seven non-lawyers have served as governor.

Robert Brodnax Glenn, photo courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

That is incorrect.

Actually, 20 lawyers and only six non-lawyers have held the state’s highest office during the 118-year history of the NCBA. Correcting the lawyer designations in the following list of N.C. governors, derived from the NCBA’s centennial history book, Robert Brodnax Glenn was also an attorney.

He was, in fact, a United States Attorney, appointed by President Grover Cleveland in 1893. Glenn served as governor from 1905-09 and practiced law in Winston-Salem with Glenn & Glenn. The firm traces its history to 1876 and will be more familiar to most folks under its current nameplate: Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

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Why Report? The Importance Of Sharing Your Pro Bono Engagement

As attorneys, we are tasked with the great and noble responsibility of defending the rule of law – case by case, client by client. While our system is not perfect, the law’s ability to right wrongs, to reconcile conflicts, and to resolve disputes peacefully is a measure of who we are as a people, and the rest of the world looks to our courts as the exemplar of fair and impartial administration of justice.

Nevertheless, this fairness and impartiality only truly exist when they are available to all members of our state, regardless of ability to pay. A failure to provide adequate legal services to those of modest means affects both the economic and social fabric of our society, and does not adequately represent the principles of the profession to which we have been called. It is our duty to fill the gap that exists between this challenging reality and the highest ideal of our profession – equal justice under law for all people.

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Five Tips for Making the Most Of ABA Techshow 2017

By Joyce Brafford

How many times a day do you think about going paperless? What about email security or digital backups? Do you spend time wondering about document automation or online legal research? Have you been thinking about upgrading your virtual law practice management tools or client communication software?

If you’ve thought about any of those questions, or if you’re just starting to think about how technology can make your practice more efficient, you’ll find something to love at the ABA Techshow 2017. And as an NCBA Member, you’re entitled to a discount! Just use code: EP1720.

ABA Techshow is the premier conference for legal technology innovators and lawyers who want to better their practices through technology.  As always Techshow will happen in March in Chicago. I know. It’s not as easy as a conference at Wrightsville Beach, but it’s a great opportunity to make your practice more efficient, more responsive, and ultimately, more profitable. But I get that a multi-day trip can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never attended the conference before. So here are my top five tips for getting ready.

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