May Is Member Appreciation Month … Again!

By Josh McIntyre

Big things are happening at the NCBA in May. As a member, there’s a good chance you’re attending a CLE, heading out of town for a section or division annual meeting or socializing at a networking event, but there’s one new tradition that occurs over the next five weeks that brings innovative benefits to you: Member Appreciation Month.

Following the popularity of the event last year, the NCBA is again coordinating complimentary services in locations across the state and online just to thank you for being part of the club. This year we are offering classes on creating a website and individual social media profile reviews, along with the usual fun  giveaways. Space is limited in some categories, so be sure to register with the information below:

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Me and My Mini-MBA

By Erik Mazzone

The day started off innocuously enough.

I was in a meeting with my boss and I passed him a spreadsheet I had been working on. He has an MBA and has, shall we say, well-developed thoughts and feelings about spreadsheets. I majored in English and have well-developed thoughts and feelings on who is the vilest character in “Game of Thrones.” (Ramsay Bolton over Joffrey by a nose.)

After reviewing the spreadsheet for a couple of minutes, Jason looked up and said, “Hey … I have an idea. Why don’t you attend the Mini-MBA program in December?” His reaction wasn’t a total surprise. My spreadsheet skills could best be described as “Needs Improvement.” Microsoft Excel isn’t my love language.

NCBA Spring Executive Education Courses
​Elements of Business Management, May 30-31
Elements of Construction Management, June 4-5
Find details and register here.

The Mini-MBA held in December 2018 was the NCBA’s first executive education program. I was excited about this foray. My time as the director of the Center for Practice Management convinced me that there are lots of things that lawyers want and need to learn that do not qualify for CLE credit. Executive education courses — intensive, short-format courses taught by professional faculty and not offered for CLE credit — seemed an ideal way to fill that need.

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Wellness Expert Jeena Cho On Lawyers, Self-Care and the Billable Hour

This year’s NCBA Annual Meeting theme is wellness and how legal professionals can achieve it. In preparation for the event, we talked with speakers scheduled to present at Annual Meeting for a series of quick-read Q&As. Watch NCBarBlog for upcoming Q&As with Annual Meeting speakers Stan Phelps, Laura Mahr and Greg Romeo. Admission to all speaker presentations, including those for CLE credit, is included in registration.

NCBA Annual Meeting 2019
Jeena Cho on Better Lawyering Through Mindfulness
Friday, June 21
1.0 hr of CLE credit
Find more details about Annual Meeting and registration here.

By Amber Nimocks

As a partner in a San Francisco bankruptcy firm, Jeena Cho understands that the pressures lawyers face are unlike those faced by others in high-stress occupations. That’s one reason she is such a valuable resource for legal professionals.

A co-author of “The Anxious Lawyer” and a frequent contributor to Above the Law, Cho earned her law degree from the University of Buffalo. She began her exploration of mindfulness in Buffalo as well, attending the Himalayan Institute for meditation training. Cho teaches mindfulness and meditation to lawyers and counsels firms on stress management and work-life balance.

Q: What unique challenges do lawyers face when it comes to self-care?

A: A few common challenges I’ve observed: First is that lawyers think self-care is antithetical to lawyering. There’s a myth that lawyers should work all the time and sacrifice their well-being for their clients and career. I’ll often have lawyers push back and say, “If I take an hour to go to the gym, that’s an hour I won’t be able to bill.” That’s a short-sighted view, of course, because heaving a healthy body is a foundation to being a good lawyer.

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Alex Pearce Leading NCBA’s Efforts To Tackle Privacy and Data Security Issues

By Russell Rawlings

The Privacy and Data Security Committee, which formed last year, is well on its way to becoming an NCBA Section. On Jan. 17, the NCBA Board of Governors gave a green light to the committee’s plan to form a new NCBA Section. Formal recognition as an NCBA Section is anticipated in July. In support of this effort, and in the interest of providing members with insight regarding the work of this committee, North Carolina Lawyer is pleased to provide the following question-and-answer interview with Alex Pearce, who currently chairs the committee.

Pearce grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has strong ties to North Carolina, where his father is from. He is a 2001 graduate of Wake Forest University and a 2004 graduate of Stanford Law School. He focuses his practice on privacy and data security law with Wyrick Robbins in Raleigh. He has been certified by the N.C. State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Privacy and Information Security Law, and as a Privacy Law Specialist by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, which has been accredited by the American Bar Association to certify lawyers in this specialty. He is a member of both specializations’ inaugural classes.

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Checking In: April 3, 2019


Alex Pearce, a privacy attorney formerly with SAS Institute, has joined Wyrick Robbins as a member of the firm’s privacy and data security team. Pearce’s front-line experience managing SAS’s privacy compliance program and his more recent experience advising businesses on data protection matters arising in litigation, will complement the team’s current work. Pearce is also chair of the NCBA’s newly established Privacy and Data Security Section. Read more about his background and goals for the new section here.



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Consider Texting with Clients


By Catherine Sanders Reach

Many attorneys react to the thought of texting with clients with a solid “no way!” However, attorneys are feeling the pressure to text with clients since texting is a normal communication tool for most everyone these days. Clients in certain industries, such as construction, prefer texting because they are literally in an environment that makes talking on the phone impossible and they use texting in the normal course of business. Modest means and indigent clients may have a voice plan via a low cost carrier, but do not have (unlimited) data, making email a less viable communication form. Courts and public defenders are experimenting with reducing national “failure to appear” rates to avoid bench warrants by reminding defendants via text message about upcoming court dates. Incoming ABA President Judy Perry Martinez and past ABA President Robert Grey Jr. recently introduced a presentation at the Legal Services Corporation Forum on Access to Justice in 2018 on “Using Text Messaging to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services.”

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Heather Culp


Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Heather Culp
Pro Bono Project: NC Free Legal Answers

By Sarah Hill McIntyre

For Attorney Heather Culp of Essex Richards, P.A. in Charlotte, every year brings the same challenge: to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono work for her fellow North Carolinians.

Find out how you can volunteer with NC Free Legal Answers to do pro bono work at your own pace.

Culp has served as a volunteer attorney with Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office since 2010. She was recognized in the inaugural 2016 class of the NC Pro Bono Honor Society, her prior law firm of Mitchell & Culp was awarded the Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont’s 2012 Outstanding Legal Services Award (Small Firm), and she is currently chairing the 2018-2019 Access to Justice Campaign in Mecklenburg County, to benefit Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office. Culp strives to accomplish the 50-hour goal, set forth by Rule 6.1, sometimes even accepting pro bono cases through her own intake system in addition to assisting legal service providers. For Culp, doing pro bono work is an acknowledgement of the special skills and training unique to those in the legal profession and of the duty all attorneys have to serve the public.

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Top Tips From ABA TECHSHOW 2019 ’60 Tips In 60 Minutes’


By Catherine Sanders Reach

Each year the ABA TECHSHOW concludes the conference with a plenary session featuring a lightning fast, multi-speaker tips program. Some of the tips can be whimsical or esoteric but among the light-hearted nuggets are also some great, actionable bits of information lawyers can put into practice now.  Following are some of the immediately useful tips from that session covering legal research, smartphones, browser security, marketing and more.

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NC Pro Bono Honor Society Wants To Recognize Your Work


By Sylvia Novinsky

Our Supreme Court notes “Equal Justice Under Law” on its building. Yet, access to this justice only truly exists when it is 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.

For information about the Pro Bono Resource Center and voluntary pro bono reporting, please visit

Pro bono is one way for attorneys to help narrow the access to justice gap.  We would like to capture your service and celebrate your work.

The NC Pro Bono Resource Center is currently accepting information about the types of activities encouraged by North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1: pro bono legal service; legal service at a substantially reduced fee; activity that improves the law, the legal system, or the legal profession; non-legal community service; and financial support of legal service providers.

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Members In Focus: Lt. Col. Robert Rideout Relishes Roles In the Army and the Law


Robert Rideout doesn’t recall what he was listening to in the bunker during this particular rocket attack in Kandahar, in the photo above. To his right, incidentally, is fellow attorney and Deputy Director-Legal Maj. Thomas DeSplinter of Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Robert Rideout.

By Russell Rawlings

In the 1990s, Robert Rideout earned degrees from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Louisiana State University School of Law. Last year he added a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

In between, he has carved out an impressive career in public service that includes tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judgeship, and service as an Assistant Public Defender, an Assistant District Attorney, and as a Deputy Commissioner for the N.C. Industrial Commission.

Rideout is also the founding chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Military and Veterans Affairs Section.

And, at 45 years of age, he’s just getting started.

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