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).

Sustainers Give More Because They Understand the NCBA’s True Value

By Brandon Robinson

Each year, the NCBA recognizes Sustainers, members who voluntarily pay twice the amount of their requisite membership dues. These funds support the NCBA’s mission of public service and strengthen the community of lawyers and jurists who are its core supporters.

Sustainers have been around since at least 1994. Until now, it has been a small group compared to the entire membership.  Each July, when NCBA members receive their renewal notices, they have the option of becoming a Sustainer by checking the appropriate box and paying twice the normal amount of the renewal invoice.

 

As we prepare for the 2018-19 bar year, I encourage all of my colleagues to strongly consider supporting the NCBA at the Sustainer level. Click here to renew your membership and become a Sustainer.

Being a sustainer means a lot to me because it helps the NCBA plan more strategically for the long term. Investing in the largest voluntary community of lawyers and jurists in North Carolina gives me much satisfaction.  ‘Seeking liberty and justice’ is the noblest calling a lawyer or jurist can pursue, but that ideal is not self-executing.  Being a Sustainer is just one small way in which I try to bridge the gap between ideal and reality.

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White House ‘Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices’: Large Aspirations, Little Detail

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By Stephanie Trunk and Erin Atkins

This article first appeared on the Arent Fox LLP Health Care Counsel blog. 

Following delays and much build up, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released their plan to address rising pharmaceutical prices and out-of-pocket costs directly impacting patients.  The plan is known as the “American Patients First” program, as outlined in “The Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs” (the Blueprint).   As part of this, HHS has published a formal request for information (RFI) seeking public comment on the questions and issues raised in Section V of the Blueprint (summarized below).  Comments are due to HHS on or before July 16, 2018.  We encourage all interested stakeholders to utilize this opportunity to submit feedback to the agency.

One initial impression of the Blueprint is that many of the proposed solutions are not defined in great detail and will take time and agency (and in some cases Congressional) action in order to implement.  In addition, many of the solutions were previously articulated in President Trump’s 2019 budget, and do not reflect novel policy.  Additionally, many of the issues raised in the Blueprint are familiar to those actively engaged in or following the drug industry, but will require active engagement between HHS and the industry to refine and address.

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Student Composer Pens an Ode to NCBA’s Law Day

By Russell Rawlings

When the 60th anniversary of Law Day was observed last month, Travis Ramsey took it upon himself to do

Travis Ramsey plans to minor in music at N.C. State University while seeking a major in material science:
‘I want to create something that has not been created.’

something special.

Ramsey is not a member of the Young Lawyers Division, which annually organizes these festivities, or the

North Carolina Bar Association. Nor is he a member of the N.C. Bar Center staff.

Ramsey is a senior in high school – for a few more days – and a member of the Green Hope High School Chamber Orchestra, which annually performs at Law Day. In advance of this year’s performance, he composed special music under the title of Nos Lege Unimur.

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Can Technology End Sexual Harassment In the Workplace?

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By Natalie Sanders

The founders of Callisto, STOPit and TalkToSpot think it might.  These are three different technology tools created by people passionate about combatting issues of sexual assault and harassment.  Are your clients ready for them?

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The “NOT To-Do List” to Manage Tasks and Distractions

Paul Unger’s presentation on taming digital chaos is one of 6.0 hours of CLE included with your NCBA Annual Meeting registration. Sign up now to reserve your space. 

By Paul Unger

Social Media, Facebook, Instagram, client fires, 24-hour news, Trump, hurricanes, murders, crime, Russia, North Korea, 150 emails a day, constant interruptions, … It’s too much for us handle and it is resulting in workday paralysis, even before you sit down to start your day!

In my CLE seminars, webinars, and my upcoming book, I outline many strategies to manage tasks and distractions. However, I thought it might help to state them a slightly different way … as a “NOT to do list”. Here are 12 “NOTS” to keep yourself laser-focused.

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When ‘The Mask’ Grows Too Heavy, BarCARES Can Help

By Claudia McClinton

An NCBA member shares her BarCARES story in recognition of Mental Health Month.

Ten years ago I found myself in quite a quandary. My law partner had been appointed to the bench so I was practicing family law and criminal law (his former caseload) at the same time. I was also carrying the financial responsibility of three attorneys (don’t ask).

As you can imagine, I was in court practically every day and yet still barely scraping by financially. Worse, I was chronically stressed, not sleeping much, if at all, and my on-the-go lifestyle had me making poor health choices. One of those poor choices, for me, was the regular consumption of alcohol in an attempt to drown out the day. That choice amplified other poor choices and, in some cases, endangered not only my life but the lives of others.  I was going down a very dark path.

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May Is Member Appreciation Month, So Prepare To Be Appreciated

By Joshua McIntyre

We put members first at the NCBA every day, but we wanted to do a little extra to express our gratitude this May, so we’re kicking off our first ever Member Appreciation Month.

Extra benefits for members this month include:

  • Free Fridays – The first three Fridays in May we’re offering free services around the state in Charlotte, Cary and Fayetteville: secure document shredding, professional headshots and social media training sessions. See below for detailed scheduling and RSVP information.
  • Winning Wednesdays – Check your Twitter feed every Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. for a fun yes/no game of NCBA trivia with gift card prizes.
  • Hotel Holiday – One lucky member who uses the NCBA hotel discount between May and June online or through the Member Benefits App will win the full cost of their stay. No location or length-of-stay limits apply. Just use your member discount to book a stay, and we’ll announce the winner in early July.

Please note an RSVP is required for Free Friday services. Click each link below to register. We are grateful to Special Counsel of Charlotte and Hutchens Law Firm of Fayetteville for serving as host locations.

Thanks for being a member, and we hope you feel the appreciation this month especially!

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Annual Meeting Preview: Five Questions With Fastcase CEO Ed Walters

By Amber Nimocks

This year’s NCBA Annual Meeting features a rockstar lineup of legal innovators from around the country. Among them is Ed Walters,  CEO of Fastcase and a leader in Artificial Intelligence integrations for the legal profession.

Walters will present a CLE titled “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” on Saturday, June 23 at 12:30 at the Wilmington Convention Center. Registration for NCBA Annual Meeting includes CLE  while availability remains. Sign up by May 1 to secure your place.

Here’s a quick look at Walters’ take on AI and the future of the law.

Are you concerned about AI changing the legal profession’s understanding of ethics?

I’m more concerned with how we apply the existing ethical rules to new tech, including AI.  The ethics rules (for the most part) stay the same, and we apply them to a changing world.  Sounds easy, but it’s actually pretty hard.

Most of our ethical rules exist to protect clients – but when machines begin analyzing legal problems, our rules break down.  With existing lawyer regulations, we regulate the inputs: lawyers have to graduate from an accredited law school, pass the bar exam, pass character and fitness, and in many states, do continuing legal education.  We presume that people who satisfy those conditions are fit to dispense legal advice.

Those questions are irrelevant to machines.  Could Watson pass the bar exam?  Probably – but would that mean that it could give competent legal advice?  Probably not.  With software, we’d probably want to look at outputs: is the advice accurate and up to date?

Think about TurboTax.  Is there any question that the software is interpreting tax law?  No – but it isn’t licensed anywhere. Do we need to regulate TurboTax?  No.  But we also wouldn’t let Intuit start representing clients in legal matters either.  We’re not yet ready to draw the lines, but that world is coming fast.

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NC Free Legal Answers: Pro Bono At Your Fingertips

By Nihad Mansour

I was hopeless and out of answers when I typed “PLEASE HELP! 🙁 🙁 🙁 ” in the subject line of my post and hit send. Out it went into the ether of a free online Excel forum.

Tears of surprise and elation welled up in my eyes when an Excel forum expert from Belgium responded the next day. His answer provided the solution to a small but vexing problem that I’d been wrestling with for months. But my happiness sprang not just from the fact that I could finally vanquish the Excel “error” message that had been haunting me. The fact that a knowledgeable stranger in the vast, unfeeling Internet had answered my cry for help moved me to tears.

That is the power of a response. As volunteers for NC Free Legal Answers, that’s the kind of help we can offer clients in need of legal advice. And if enough of us pitch in, we can do it in just six minutes per day.

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