Going Paperless: How Long Should I Keep Client Files?


By Jared Pierce

I would be lying if I said that going paperless was easy. Making the journey to a mostly digital office has been troubling in so many ways that one article would not be enough to cover the multitude of ways that my staff and I have been inconvenienced. However, of the many issues and concerns we have experienced along the way, none compare to the knee-shaking anxiety of creating a paperless practice while trying to steer clear of violating the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

Going paperless sounds fun and exciting, but the most significant misconception, in my opinion, is evaluating how much paper you have gathered over the years. Every file, intake form, retainer, background check, medical record and medical bill adds up to a verifiable mountain of paper. However, when we began discussing the need to go paperless we didn’t just sit down and create a rough outline; we spent time planning for success.

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A Profile In Mindfulness: Lakisha Chichester

As we prepare to celebrate and explore wellness at NCBA Annual Meeting in June, we’d like to introduce some NCBA members who are excelling at living healthy lives in the categories of our meeting theme: Work, Mind, Body and Life. Lakisha Chichester impressed us with her mindfulness. She made an impression on her fellow paralegals, too. Chichester received the Paralegal Division’s 2019 Distinguished Paralegal Award earlier this month.

By Amber Nimocks

Loneliness was not what Lakisha Chichester expected to feel after she donated a kidney to her sister last year.

When she learned that she could give her sister the organ she needed, Chichester didn’t think twice about the operation. The transplant was a success, and her sister recently celebrated a year with her new kidney. But after the surgery, Chichester felt a sense of isolation that challenged her emotionally.

Find this and more in the May edition of North Carolina Lawyer magazine online and in your mailbox.

“When you’re preparing to do it, it’s constant doctor visits, constant evaluations, constantly people asking you about it and how you’re feeling,” Chichester says. “Then after you give the kidney, it’s like ‘OK, we’ll see you later. Call us if anything goes wrong.’ ”

She says her meditation practice enabled her to find the mental strength she needed to sustain herself through those post-op days.

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Let’s Make a Deal: Negotiation Science Workshop

By Amber Nimocks

Some people are born negotiators. And then there’s the rest of us.

Those of us who  have trouble bargaining on our own behalf — or on behalf of clients — usually fear negotiating because we lack experience in it — and we’re afraid of losing, says Jeff Langenderfer, who teaches marketing and law at Meredith College School of Business. His upcoming NCBA CLE course, Negotiation Science Workshop, aims to arm legal professionals with the tools and knowledge to help them bridge these gaps.


Negotiation Science Workshop
Live, North Carolina Bar Center, Cary
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Find more information and register here.

He talked through a few of the topics he will focus on in a quick Q&A.

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Tech Tip: Text Status Updates to Clients Using Your Email


By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints from clients. It is frequently the paralegal’s job to make sure clients are kept abreast of the latest developments in their cases. As the business world embraces various methods of communication, so must the legal field.

This idea was especially highlighted when I read a post on a legal forum about a paralegal who had mailed a notice of hearing to a client, but the client did not show up for the hearing. The paralegal was concerned that her supervising attorney was holding her responsible for the client’s no-show. She wanted opinions on whether it was really her responsibility or the client’s responsibility since she had sent the notice. She was also looking for ways to prevent this from happening again.

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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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