The Chair’s Comments: An Exciting Course For the Year

By Robert M. Ward

I am honored to serve as chair for the 2016-2017 term. Let me begin by thanking Trey Allen for his outstanding job as our chair during the 2015-2016 term. Under Trey’s leadership we had a budget carryover, which was put to good use by Law Related Education. Additionally, as reported in the spring issue of The Constitutionalist, our membership increased more than 8 percent over the past year.

Our kickoff council meeting was held on Aug. 18, 2016, at the Bar Center. Jay Ferguson of Thomas, Ferguson & Mullins of Durham provided an excellent presentation: “Eighth Amendment: Evolving Standards of Decency to Eliminate the Death Penalty.” His presentation was quite informative and precipitated a lively discussion among the members of the council. To those of you who may be interested, Jay has agreed to share his Power Point presentation.  If you would like a copy, please contact him at:

Moving to the business for 2016-2017, Eric David, chair of our Education, Constitution Day, and Pro Bono Committee, and I teamed up on a proclamation entitled: Constitution  Day and Citizenship Day – Constitution Week 2016. We have arranged for this proclamation to be submitted to a number of cities and towns in North Carolina for adoption by their mayors, councils, and boards during the month of September. Our section’s primary goal is to increase public awareness of the Constitution. We trust this proclamation will further this objective.

Following our custom, our 2017 annual meeting and CLE program will be held on the same date — Jan. 13. On behalf of our CLE Committee co-chairs, Adam Doerr presented an overview of the year’s topic, which will focus on House Bill 2, or “HB-2”, and the legal challenge to that bill. This is clearly a timely statewide topic that is certain to generate considerable interest and hopefully a good turnout for our CLE .

The council also unanimously decided at the Aug. 18 meeting to change the format for The Constitutionalist. Beginning with this article, the newsletter will be published online in a blog format. The transition from print to online will be coordinated by Amber Nimocks, the Bar Association’s assistant director of communications for publications.

Past Chair Chuck Kitchen and section member Michael Weisel will serve as our representatives on a task force appointed by N.C. Bar Association Immediate Past President Shelby Benton to study the internet practice of law and its regulation (HB-436: An Act to Further Define the Term “Practice of Law” For the Purpose of Protecting Members of the Public from Harm Resulting from The Unauthorized Practice of Law By a Person Who Is Not a Trained and Licensed Attorney).

To wind it up, our council adopted our budget for the year as submitted by Treasurer Patricia Perkins and Andi Bradford. We had a very productive meeting and have charted an exciting course for 2016-2017.  I would like to express my appreciation to retiring Bar Association Executive Director Allan Head for attending and participating in our council meeting. A big thank you is in order for Andi Bradford and the staff of the N.C. Bar Association for their continued support and assistance in arranging, pulling together, and synchronizing all the moving parts necessary to conduct our council meetings.  I look forward to serving as your chair over the course of the next year.