Posts

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley Extends COVID-19 Modifications to Court Operations

By Adam Banks

As most of you are painfully aware, it doesn’t appear that the coronavirus or the statewide coronavirus restrictions we have been living with since March are going away anytime soon.

Just this week, Gov. Cooper announced a new Executive Order to limit alcohol sales at restaurants after 11 p.m. Although it received much less media attention, this week also included a new Order from Chief Justice Beasley extending Emergency Directives 2-8 until August 28.

The new order simply extends current restrictions, but as a refresher, practitioners may expect the following modifications to court operations:

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NCBA YLD Garners ABA Awards of Achievement

By M. Cabell Clay
2019-20 YLD Chair

The Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association is routinely recognized by their peers—the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association—as an exemplary organization for young lawyers.

Historically, the most common form of recognition has been through the ABA YLD Awards of Achievement. Despite the challenges and restrictions of COVID-19, the NCBA YLD has once again received commendation from ABA YLD for outstanding efforts in 2019-20.

NCBA YLD will receive Awards of Achievement in two categories:

  • Service to the Bar: Civic Engagement Project
  • Service to the Profession: Legal Feeding Frenzy

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Education Decisions in the Wake of COVID-19

By Jen Story

Fellow advocates,

I write to provide a few updates and red flags regarding plans for the upcoming school year in light of ongoing coronavirus spikes.

These updates are directly relevant to any education clients you currently have in your offices, and also to any other clients who may have school-aged children in the home.

 

  1. Gov. Cooper has announced that the default plan for schools will be “Plan B,” which requires a hybrid in-person/remote plan to be created locally. This plan will enable districts and charter schools to operate at no more than 50% capacity whenever in-person instruction occurs.

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NCIC Guidelines for Hearings during the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Barry Jennings 

The practice of workers’ compensation law in North Carolina continues to adapt to the challenges we all face associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Currently, the North Carolina Industrial Commission is primarily holding hearings via video conference on the WebEx platform. In certain limited matters, in person hearings are taking place when ordered by the Deputy Commissioner presiding over the hearing. Recently, the NCIC published Guidelines for In-Person Hearings during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

These guidelines are intended to give practitioners, parties and witnesses to an In-Person NCIC hearing precautions that should be taken during the hearing, including the utilization of face masks and other sanitary measures. It also addresses when individuals should not come to a hearing, such as if they have symptoms associated with COVID-19, confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or contact with individuals known to have been diagnosed with COVID-19. If you have a matter that is going to be heard in person, be sure to review the guidelines to enable to the hearing to proceed as safely as possible for all involved.

Ketan Soni Gives Presentation On “Zoom Mediations and Practice Tips”

By Barry Jennings 

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, the NCBA Workers’ Compensation Section hosted an informal discussion regarding the use of the Zoom videoconference platform in the mediation environment. Ketan Soni, partner with Soni Brendle, PLLC in Charlotte, presented on the general use of Zoom, provided tips on how to adjust your settings to most effectively use the platform and offered guidance on how to be successful during the mediation process. It was a jam-packed presentation and should be useful to our practices as we grow more accustomed to using video conferences daily!

You can view another helpful video that Ketan recorded here. In this video, Ketan further highlights the tips he covered in his presentation.

 

MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

By Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 40 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Find his latest updates here:

NCBA IPL Section Blog News Blasts For June 30, 2020

USPTO extends certain CARES Act relief for small and micro entities
https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/uspto-extends-certain-cares-act

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Employers Cannot Require Coronavirus Antibody Testing, EEOC Says

By Sarah Beth Tyrey 

On June 17, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its COVID-19 guidance (scroll down to A.7) to state that employers cannot require employees to take COVID-19 antibody tests in order to return to work. Although employers are allowed to take employee temperatures and to test for current COVID-19 infection, the EEOC says that antibody testing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After near shutdown of the U.S. economy in March and April, most employers have been bringing employees back to work. Some experts, eager to prevent further disruption, have suggested using serologic (antibody) testing to identify those who have had the virus and therefore may be eligible to safely return. Some companies have been marketing antibody testing programs to employers.

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Immigration Lawyers Needed As Volunteers For COVID-19 Virtual Legal Hotline

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Dear NC Bar Association International Law & Practice Section members,

The NC Bar Foundation is partnering with Legal Aid of NC and others to offer COVID-19 (Virtual) Legal Hotlines across North Carolina (like “mini-4ALLs,” but held remotely). The Hotlines will be staffed by volunteer attorneys and open to the public. We need your help for the Hotline taking place this Friday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which will serve the Triad region. Currently, we have only two immigration law attorney volunteers signed up for the first shift and zero for the second shift. Can you join us?

COVID-19 (Virtual) Legal Hotline: Serving the Triad, June 12
Register Here

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Let’s Hang Out!

By Jake Epstein

The NCBA has been hard at work during this pandemic to bring current information, resources, practice tips, professional vitality publications, and wellness seminars to its members and the public, while also advocating strongly for the legal profession in North Carolina. May was NCBA Member Appreciation Month, which featured free workshops through the Center for Practice Management. As new members are entering and graduating law school, passing the Bar, and becoming members of the legal profession and the NCBA, we have started holding New Member Receptions.

Even though we cannot get together in person right now, we can still hang out! Indeed, one of the things that our Association does best and our members enjoy the most is associating. The NCBA is the home for those in, or entering, the legal profession in North Carolina. Through the NCBA, you can meet your fellow lawyers, judges, paralegals, and law students to discuss how to be better at what you do, expand your options, serve the profession and the public, grow your network, and have some fun. This is the power of association.

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NCIC Mediation Policy Update as of June 1, 2020

On May 30, 2020, the Industrial Commission issued an update to its mediation policies effective June 1, 2020. The updated policies are below:

May 30, 2020 Update: Industrial Commission Mediation Policies as of June 1, 2020

Consistent with current directives and recommendations as detailed below, as of June 1, 2020, mediations in Industrial Commission cases may be conducted either in person or remotely by consent, though mediators have been advised by the Dispute Resolution Commission that mediations shall, to the fullest extent possible, be conducted remotely.

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