Four Steps To the Future Of Law: Part 1

By Joyce Brafford

I was recently very fortunate to participate in Law Firm Retreats at the NCBA’s Annual Meeting in Asheville. As always, the Annual Meeting was jam-packed with interesting and educational programs. But Law Firm Retreats was a new program, and I wasn’t entirely sure how it would be received or what type of content to expect. I was, in a word, impressed. The Law Firm Retreats were moderated by Camille Stell, vice president of client services at Lawyers Mutual of NC. Camille spent her time as moderator talking about and initiating conversation around the future of law.

“The Future of Law” is a term that we’ve all heard, but the meaning can vary from setting to setting. For the purposes of Camille’s talk, the future of law meant strategic thinking for law firms. She went on to define four areas of strategic thinking: strategic recruiting, strategic planning, business development and future legal market planning. Each of these four categories has important implications for the future of your firm. But what do these phrases mean?

Strategic recruiting: the careful consideration of your firm’s present and future needs, and hiring to fill the gaps in your current staff to meet those needs.

Strategic planning: consideration of the current economic, political, social and technological climate and assessing how those factors will effect the achievement of your firm’s goals.

Business development: the assessment and development of referral sources which you systematically reinforce over a designated period time and with specific goals set at the beginning of the period.

Future legal market planning: analysis of trend lines in legal customers and legal needs in contrast with your current abilities, and the development of strategy to address needs you’re not currently able to meet.

In the next four parts of this series, we’ll explore each of these areas, and how your firm can rise to the opportunities facing the legal market in the next five to 10 years.

If you have any questions about how your firm can be prepared for the future of law, please contact me in the Center for Practice Management at


Make the Most Of Summer With the NCBA Member Benefits App

By Josh McIntyre

Three things begin happening between May and June that let me know summer is here:

  • I have to wait at least two minutes till the AC kicks in before I can stand to drive my car.
  • Parking on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill is readily available.
  • The number of automatic reply emails from NCBA members is significantly higher than usual.

When I receive those messages I always hope that our members are taking a break from work and heading somewhere fun on vacation, whether it be to a local beach or out of the country. But then I wonder if they used their NCBA Member Discounts to get the best travel or entertainment deals possible and if they downloaded the newest way to access those benefits in the NCBA Member Benefits App.

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Academic Freedom In Interesting Times

By William Joseph Austin Jr.

A 50th anniversary came and went this past fall without fanfare or commemoration. But for several weeks in October and November of 1966, Andrew Marvell’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress,” written circa 1650’s, was a “national sensation.”[1]

On Oct. 17, 1966, the television station WRAL reported that a UNC English instructor had assigned his students to write a paper on seduction using this 17th-century poem.[2]  Subsequent investigation by a departmental committee determined in November that the instructor, Michael Paull, had not given the students that assignment, but asked them to use the poem to explain imagery and six figures of poetic speech.[3]

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