Attention Paralegal Division Members: Scholarship Time Is Here!

The NCBA Paralegal Division provides scholarship awards to two members each year. One is a membership scholarship, and one is a student scholarship.

The Paralegal Division Membership Scholarship package is valued at approximately $800 and provides an award of the following:

  • Paralegal Division membership (2017-2018);
  • Section membership (2017-2018);
  • Registration for the 2018 Paralegal Division Annual Meeting and Seminar;
  • A CLE/CPE passport to attend eligible programs tuition free; and
  • Up to $100 travel expense reimbursement.

The Paralegal Division Student Scholarship provides an award of $500 in tuition paid directly to your educational institution.


Read more

Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone


By Kimberly M. Johnson

My first attempt at leaping into the unknown was when I switched careers from meeting deadlines for one editor to meeting deadlines for an attorney, a clerk and a client. My organizational and writing skills were the pillars that held me steady during my time at the public defender’s office. I learned about criminal law and the inner workings of the courthouse, and the unknown became familiar.

A couple of leaps forward landed me in Raleigh. And soon, the unknown became familiar. That’s why I am planning to attend the Paralegal Division Family Law CPE on March 23 at the Bar Center. I will admit it. The closest I have been to family court is a courtroom observation during my paralegal days. So, this seminar is pretty exciting for me.

Read more

Make a Lasting Impression

By Kimberly M. Johnson

The flashing blue light. That’s what I remember about Mrs. Lake’s third grade class. Show-and-tell was the best part of my week; especially when that sheriff’s deputy gave a bunch of us a sightseeing tour of his patrol car. It made a lasting impression.

Conducting a job shadowing event at your office will provide a lasting impression of our chosen profession in the minds of the millennials and the Justin Bieber crowd.

We have plenty to share with them:

  • Think about it. We create an indelible footprint everyday: handling administrative tasks, sifting through personnel matters, building and maintaining relationships, plus mining through the cloud.
  • Think about it. We acquire blocks of knowledge on a consistent basis: CLEs from the North Carolina Bar Association, specialized certifications, certificates and on-the-job training.
  • Think about it. We are adept at adapting: collaborating with courthouse personnel, figuring it out with the IT support service guy, discussing the next action with a partner and smoothing out the rough spots with a client.
  • Think about it. We use our skills in “pressure cooker” situations: When a paralegal abruptly quits and leaves no instructions or when a computer glitch wipes out a document that you did not save on the F drive and did not have a back-up copy located on a portable thumb drive.

Job shadowing is a picture-perfect way to explain your routine and how it relates to other positions within your firm or company. Consider these tips when you start planning: get buy-in from department leaders, encourage your co-workers to participate and provide a take-home packet or business cards.

We can be the flashing blue light for the next generation.




A Fond Farewell To Allan Head

By Annette Phelps

As 2016 came to a close, there were many things and people for which we could be thankful. Our former Executive Director Allan B. Head is one of those people.

One thing that was probably on most of the NCBA members’ minds as the year ended was the retirement of Mr. Head. He has been one of the Paralegal Division’s biggest supporters.  With all of his many duties over the years he somehow found time to check in on our meetings and engage with the paralegals at various events. Mr. Head always wanted us to know that our division was important to the NCBA and he made sure he let each of us know that any chance he got. When interacting with Mr. Head, he had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person at that moment in time; that is a rare quality and a sign of a true gentleman.

Read more

Give Back Because It Is the Right Thing To Do

By Kimberly M. Johnson

It’s hard, sometimes, to give back to the community. Doubts creep into your mind (and your wallet). “Did he really get those items?” “Is she appreciative?”  “Where is the money going?”  I walked that tightrope a time or two when I donated clothes, penned a check or provided in-kind support. Yet, I continue to walk that tightrope because giving back is the right thing to do.

The right thing to do can be demonstrated in a legal setting. When I worked as a paralegal in a public defender’s office, I designed an internship for undergrads (Social work majors, English majors, math majors) not on the pre-law track, but interested in criminal law. The senior administration, attorneys and professors at the local colleges viewed the concept as a win-win.  It helped that one of the professors was a former Family Court judge.  Paralegals and admin staff pitched in to train the interns to succeed in and out of the courtrooms.

Read more

Paralegals Beware: Wire Instruction Fraud Plagues N.C. Lawyers

Stell,CamilleBy Camille Stell

In recent weeks, Lawyers Mutual has received multiple reports of North Carolina attorneys who were targeted by scammers attempting to divert seller closing proceeds following real estate transactions.  Unfortunately, several of these attacks were successful and hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen and are very unlikely to be recovered.

Often, paralegals are on the front line of client communications and details surrounding loan closings. I’ve asked our claims attorney, Troy Crawford, to talk with me about what went wrong and how to prevent it.

Read more

Upcoming Opportunity For CPE and Notary Update

We are happy to share some exciting news about the upcoming “Practical Skills for the Small Office and General Practice Paralegal” seminar scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.  Ozie Stallworth, Notary Enforcement and eNotarization Director with the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State will be presenting a notary session titled, “What’s New in the Notary Profession,” wherein he will provide important regulatory updates as well as educate paralegals on new notary laws.  This is a great way to refresh those notary skills and to ensure notarial requirements are being met.  In addition, we have new and improved sessions dedicated to the most popular topics.  This is a great way to get your CLE credit while brushing up on all of the “fundamentals” of general practice work.  Come early to check in and enjoy a continental breakfast before the day begins.  See you there!

Register here to join:

Video replays will be available if you are unable to attend.


Cary, Wednesday, January 11, 2017, NC Bar Center, #577BAR

Gastonia, Wednesday, January 25, 2017, Gastonia Conference Center, #577GAS

Wilmington, Friday, January 13, 2017, Ward and Smith, P.A., #577WLM

Winston-Salem, Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Wake Forest Biotech Place, #577WIN

The Chair’s Comments: New Year, Exciting New Changes Ahead

phelpsannetteBy Annette Phelps

Welcome everyone to your new Paralegal Division blog! I am Annette Phelps, your new division chair, and I look forward to serving our division over the next year.  At the Paralegal Division Council’s annual retreat in July, the council decided to join other NCBA divisions and sections and move to a blog format. While we will certainly miss the nostalgic sense of reading Paralegal Perspectives, our quarterly newsletter, we hope this switch will more quickly deliver content, including more in-depth articles and a wider range of topics of interest. Your feedback is important as we transition to this new format so please feel free to email me directly at with your comments and/or concerns about our new blog.

We hope this year will be an exciting time for the division. Our annual meeting is moving to Pinehurst for the next couple of years. Our CPE Committee is working hard to provide a quality program with a wider range of topics that will hopefully reach a wider group of members. Again, your feedback is crucial to the CPE program we offer by way of web casts, live programs, and the annual meeting.

Pro bono opportunities are a big focus this year. In the upcoming months our division will be assisting intakes for the Veterans Pro Bono Network as well as screening and interviewing veterans. We will post more information on available opportunities in our Pro Bono Spotlight.

As a member of the Paralegal Division you have a voice in our division, and I always welcome a chance to hear from you as to what needs you feel are being met or not being met as a member. If you want to become more involved with the division, there are a number of committees you may serve on. You can view these committees through this link:

I look forward to serving this division over the next year and I am extremely excited over the projects and plans for the upcoming year!