BarCARES is Here for You

By Ann Anderson

Do you need a listening ear during this time? BarCARES is here for you now and always to provide support during any difficult time. Available 24/7 via telehealth (video + audio) or telephone, BarCARES is a confidential, short-term counseling program, cost-free, for members of the NCBA and law students at participating schools.

BarCARES can help all of us as we try to manage and balance family, work, and study in the face of the unknown future. Skilled professionals available through BarCARES assist in dealing with depression, anxiety, financial concerns and marriage and family conflicts, as well as professional stressors. In these challenging and uncertain times, why not utilize a benefit of your NCBA membership and ask for guidance?

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Chief Justice Beasley’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Practice of Family Law


By Wade Harrison

These are tough times. We have been forced to deal with the uncertainty and disruption surrounding this public health threat. Some of us have lost a loved one without the opportunity to communicate with them or publicly celebrate their lives. We deal with our clients’ stress and the financial stress this has caused. The Chief Justice issued emergency orders necessary to protect our health and safety and that of our clients and court personnel. Our practices have slowed to a crawl, and we are nostalgic about interminable calendar calls because of a bat bite in China. What is next?

Chief Justice Beasley appointed a Task Force to recommend how and when she should ramp up operations in the North Carolina Judicial Branch during this pandemic. She appointed me to represent the family lawyers. Prior to accepting this job, I secured a pledge for assistance from the leadership of the Family Law Section and the North Carolina Chapter of the AAML. I need your help to represent you effectively. Here is how I am representing you and how the Task Force operates.

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New Office! Wedding Venue! Say What?

By Bettie Kelley Sousa

Recently, Smith Debnam introduced attorney Liz Blackwell, who joined Smith Debnam alumnus and “rejoinder,” Ron Jones, in the newly staked out Charleston, SC, office. Church Street in Charleston may be known for the many beautiful old churches. But move over old money; there’s a new wedding venue in the historic district!

Zoom on. You see, the first closing held in the new Smith Debnam office wasn’t a land purchase or a commercial loan. It was Liz’s contract of marriage! Conducted by Charleston County Probate Judge, Irv Condon, via a Zoom conference, Liz and hubby Graeme Ross, a Canadian physician currently completing a critical care fellowship in Kingston, Ontario, decided to go ahead and tie the knot. But there wasn’t a knot to be seen in a black tie or bow tie. Graeme wore scrubs as did three of his medical buddies, who all connected by videoconference. Liz was radiant in the Smith Debnam conference room, which, by the way, needs some wall hangings. No hand-holding, no eye gazing, no kissing of the bride. But a lovely, sweet, albeit quick ceremony warmed the hearts of those few “in attendance” and those with whom the video has been shared. Afterwards, the Smith Debnam Charleston office folks enjoyed a champagne toast, and the groom was back to the important work of providing health care.

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