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A blog by members of the Wake County Bar Association/Tenth Judicial District Bar's Professionalism Committee members.

 

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2013 Formal Ethics Opinion 8

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Monday, August 17, 2015

By Dan Johnson, Professionalism Committee Member

 

Like most professions, some lawyers suffer from significant mental health and substance abuse issues.  The State Bar has set out the responsibilities of other attorneys in a firm with an impaired lawyer. 

 

2013 Formal Ethics Opinion 8 instructs partners and supervising attorneys about their duty when they become aware that a lawyer in their firm is suffering from a mental impairment that materially impairs the lawyers ability to competently represent firm clients.  Supervising lawyers must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm's lawyers comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

Depending on the severity and likelihood of recurrence of the mental impairment, the firm may be obligated to supervise the legal services performed by the impaired lawyer and may be obligated to prevent the impaired lawyer from providing legal services to firm clients.  Making a confidential report to the bar's Lawyer Assistance Program is also an appropriate step.

 

If the impaired lawyer's conduct is of such magnitude that it raises a substantial question as to the lawyer's fitness as a lawyer, the partners or supervising lawyers with knowledge have a duty to inform the State Bar while preserving client confidential information.  Every effort must also be made to mitigate the adverse consequences to the client of the impaired lawyer's conduct.

 

This Ethics Opinion is lengthy and should be read in its entirety.  This article is meant to be an alert regarding this important topic.

 

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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What Makes a Mentor Great?

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Thursday, July 30, 2015

 By Megan West, Campbell University School of Law

 

“A role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, “Yes, someone like me can do this.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

 

No single recipe exists for what makes a mentor great.  Many elements impact the mentoring relationship, not the least of which is the respective abilities, personalities, and aspirations of the mentor and their mentee. 

The nature of the mentoring relationship has changed.  In the past, mentoring served more as an apprenticeship, with the mentor providing the mentee with missing knowledge and pertinent philosophies.  Now millennial-aged mentees are expected to take the initiative with their mentorships, to be resourceful, and to be on the leading edge with new technologies.  This creates a more symbiotic, less hierarchical mentorship blueprint.

There are several characteristics that distinguish a truly great mentor: 1) humility – approaching a learning/teaching opportunity with an attitude of authority inhibits discussion and debate, which are invaluable learning tools for mentees and mentors; 2) respect for individuality – working collaboratively demonstrates mutual respect for the years of study, training, and inherent abilities of both mentor and mentee; and finally, 3) mentors who recognize that the professional development and growth of their mentee has led to that mentee’s success.

Campbell Law Connections mentees clearly acknowledge the important role their mentors play in the success of the mentorship experience.  Mentees were at first surprised, and then honored, by the fact their mentors seemed to gain equally as much from the relationship as the mentees.

 “I liked how she never made me feel as if I [were] a burden to her….  She was very easy to talk to and focused on me as a human being and aspiring lawyer.  I also loved how culturally aware she is and how she isn’t afraid to talk openly about issues of race and poverty and hindrances to access.”

“He went above and beyond in meeting regularly, scheduling events which related to my interests and in offering encouragement and advice.”

“We had a great connection based on interests in legal fields and in teaching.  My mentor’s demeanor, professionalism, and drive matched the type of lawyer that [I] can only aspire to be.”

“I am indebted to my mentor with a debt I cannot repay.  I can only pass it on, which I intend to do once I gain some experience worth sharing.”

Campbell Law Connections mentorship program will kick off the 2015-16 program in August, and is open to third year students at Campbell Law and newly minted attorneys in the Wake County Bar Association/10th Judicial District, who have been practicing less than three years.

Connections is always looking for mentors who have been in practice at least five years and are members of the 10th.  If you are interested in participating either as a mentee or mentor, please contact Connections’ director, Megan West, at westm@campbell.edu.

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.


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Preparing for the Unexpected - an Ethical Duty

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Wednesday, July 15, 2015

 By Stacey A. Phipps, Solo Practitioner  

As an attorney and presumably responsible adult, you have taken steps to provide for your family in the event of an emergency.  You have probably drafted a will, purchased life and disability insurance, and perhaps even set up a trust for your children.  You’ve got an organ donor card and a healthcare power of attorney.  But what have you done to protect your clients and your practice?

Rule 1.3 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct provides:

A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

Comment 5 arguably applies a heightened duty for sole practitioners to "prevent neglect of client matters.”

To prevent neglect of client matters in the event of a sole practitioner's death or disability, the duty of diligence may require that each sole practitioner prepare a plan, in conformity with applicable rules, that designates another competent lawyer to review client files, notify each client of the lawyer's death or disability, and determine whether there is a need for immediate protective action. Cf . 27 N.C.A.C. 1B, .0122 (providing for court appointment of a lawyer to inventory files and take other protective action to protect the interests of the clients of a lawyer who has disappeared or is deceased or disabled).

What did your office look like when you last left it?  Could "another competent lawyer” come in and triage your cases, contact your clients, and collect your receivables to pay your bills?  Would someone be able to pay your staff, make their payroll tax deposits or keep their benefits active?  Would your spouse be burdened with addressing these issues?

I have thrice been appointed by the court to wind down the practices of attorneys who became disabled or were disbarred.  Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  While an appointed trusteeship assists clients, it is not intended to protect the firm, its reputation, its employees, or its assets.  And, even if your unavailability is temporary, the trustee’s job is to shut down the firm.  The firm may even be billed for the trustee’s hours.

To prevent this scenario, you can develop a plan to have an "assisting attorney” designated to step in, in the event of your death or disability.  This individual can perform some of the same tasks as a trustee, but with an eye toward protecting you, in addition to protecting your clients.

Here are some steps you can take:

1.      Select an Assisting Attorney.  Ideally, it should be someone who has the same type of practice as you.  Perhaps a reciprocal agreement can work –"I’ll cover yours if you cover mine.”  Depending on your area of practice, there may be conflict of interest challenges (especially in family law or intellectual property).

2.      Introduce the Assisting Attorney to your staff and significant others.  They need to know where this person can be reached, and the scope of the assistance he can offer.  You may even want to reference the Assisting Attorney in your will.

3.      Give the Assisting Attorney a tour.  Show her where everything is in your office and explain your system.  Map your filing cabinets:  "Closed files are in this closet and everything pre-2012 is in the basement.  Civil files are here and criminal files are there.”  Are things alpha, by case number, by some other system?  Where are oversize materials?  Is anything locked up?

4.      Check the language in your fee agreements or engagement letters.  Do you have boilerplate which allows another attorney to take over in an emergency?  If you are a solo, you can even use this as a marketing tool.  "While I’m a sole practitioner… I want you to know I’ve taken steps to ensure your interests are protected…”

5.      Develop and update periodically an office procedures manual.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  List items like who controls the website (and can edit it in an emergency), and how to modify the voicemail greeting.  Do you receive mail at a P.O. box and a street address?  How about a courthouse mailbox?

6.      Include in the manual how you handle calendaring and deadline or statute of limitation management.  Do you have a password-protected system?  Are paper copies where someone can find them?

7.      Include how to access your file/case management system.  Whether it is old-fashioned index cards or something like Clio or Needles, someone in addition to you needs to know where it is and how it works.  Can a list of clients and current contact information be generated or is a printed list available?

8.      Keep time and billing records up to date.  Again, this is something to reference in your manual.  Your assisting attorney may need to pay bills, pay staff to assist, or just keep the lights on.  She can’t do that if there is no money coming in and no way to send client statements or collection letters.  How are you tracking client advances and what is the policy for billing for them?

9.      Have a policy for retaining or returning client originals.  In my trustee work, large-scale shredding of unclaimed files was necessary as there were no funds to store such files.  Although attempts were made to identify and return original documents, it simply wasn’t feasible to go through every closed file.  If you have originals of legal significance, your assisting attorney needs to know how to identify them and where they are kept.

10. Identify your banking procedures.  At minimum, have a list of account numbers and banks available so your assisting attorney knows where to begin.  (It is not suggested that you provide your assisting attorney with PIN or online banking access.)  Who is your CPA?  What auto-drafts or auto-renewals are in place?

11. List procedures specific to your practice areaIf for example, you are a personal injury attorney, how do you track medical record requests?  How do you track liens?  If you are a real estate attorney, how do you track the deadlines associated with closings?  For criminal defense practices, how do you handle payment of court costs and reconciling your trust account for earned fees upon case completion?

12. Inform your malpractice carrier about your plan and identify your Assisting Attorney.  Related to that, you may want to explore "tail coverage” options.*

13. Update your plan annually.

*Because of my trustee work and my experience as a sole practitioner, I served as a member of Lawyer’s Mutual’s "HELP Team” (Handling Emergency Legal Problems).  Resources developed by this group are available on the LM website.

Taking these steps will ensure that your clients’ and your interests will be protected, should you have an unexpected, extended leave from your practice.  

About the Author:

Prior to entering private practice in 2010, Stacey A. Phipps spent 17 years in North Carolina state government, including several years as an Assistant Attorney General where she litigated personal injury, medical malpractice, and workers compensation claims.  She currently practices primarily in the area of plaintiff’s civil litigation, including auto accident and other negligence cases.  Stacey also offers law practice consulting services targeting attorneys in transition (retirement, winding down, disability).

Stacey earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Arkansas in 1990, and a Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central University School of Law evening program in May 1999.

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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Representing Children: Spotlight on The Child’s Advocate

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Tuesday, June 30, 2015

By Stephanie D'Atri, Loebsack & Brownlee, PLLC 

 

Children deserve to have custody proceedings conducted in the manner least harmful to them and most likely to provide judges with the facts needed to decide the case” – American Bar Association Section of Family Law Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Children in Custody Cases (August 2003)

 

There are several often-confused roles of an attorney representing or advocating for children:  (1) Child’s Attorney; (2) Best Interests Attorney; and (3) Guardian ad Litem.  The latter, a child’s Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”), is usually a non-lawyer volunteer who is appointed by the court in child abuse, neglect, and dependency (“AND”) cases pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-601(a).  This role is not optional; our statutes actually require the judge to appoint a volunteer GAL in AND cases.  This type of GAL can be a lawyer, but GALs are not obligated to (and shouldn’t) perform any lawyer-related functions.  Before I started my legal career, I became a GAL for abused, neglected, and dependent children – I investigate the child’s circumstances, write court reports about my observations, and testify about what I believe is best for the child, even though the child to whom I have been appointed may have an entirely different position about where he or she is to be placed and/or with whom.  I am precluded from objecting and must instead sit quietly and respond to another lawyer’s questions.  A very strange feeling for a zealous attorney… But it’s also been one of the most rewarding jobs that I’ve ever had.

 

I mention this very well defined role of a GAL in AND cases because it is quite different than the attorney roles of advocating for or representing a child – i.e. the actual subject of the proceeding – in custody cases.  You certainly don’t see attorneys representing a parcel of land in a land dispute or the house in a foreclosure proceeding, so why is it that we now have attorneys representing non-party children in high conflict child custody cases? 

 

High conflict cases are just that – high conflict – and very litigious.  The parents are in an emotional war over who gets primary custody of their beloved child, each distorting facts and positioning themselves in ways that make them look like the better parent to the presiding judge.  The child often gets caught in the middle and becomes a bargaining chip and prize for the “winner.”  But who is there to look out for the child’s wishes and interests and to make sure that his/her voice is heard too? 

 

It is this question that propelled the “Child’s Attorney” into existence.  Custody judges can only decide cases based on what is presented to them – and they may never get all of the information relevant to the child’s long-term success, particularly in a situation with two pro se litigants.  Having an independent lawyer for children in high conflict custody cases often prompts voluntary settlements between the parties, thereby reducing litigation, costs to the litigants, and court resources, which ultimately saves valuable taxpayer dollars.  If the case does ultimately reach the trial stage, then the lawyer for the child can provide timely and reliable information to the judge about the child’s wishes so that the best result for the child’s custody placement is achieved. 

 

Many states have been appointing attorneys to represent children in custody proceedings for years and have quite well-developed and effective systems.  While our North Carolina statutes do not specifically provide for the appointment of a lawyer in this high conflict custody scenario, a 2003 ABA publication suggests that the role is not only allowed, but is particularly important for the judge when conducting a best interests analysis (http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/domviol/pdfs/0908/Standards_of_Practice_for_Lawyers_Representing_Children.authcheckdam.pdf). 

 

Our North Carolina Supreme Court may have actually contemplated the role of a Child’s Attorney and its importance in deciding custodial arrangements almost 139 years ago:  “We think the boy was a competent witness, and ought to have been examined in that character. Indeed, we think, being the party mainly concerned, he had a right to make a statement to the court as to his feelings and wishes upon the matter, and that this ought to have been allowed serious consideration by the court, in the exercise of its discretion, as to the person to whose control he was to be subjected.”  Spears v. Snell, 74 N.C. 210 (1876).  About a century later, the North Carolina Supreme Court reaffirmed its position that children have a right to be heard and have their wishes considered in most circumstances.  See In Re Peal, 305 N.C. 640 (1982).

 

In addition to this authority, our N.C. State Bar also recently adopted 2012 Formal Ethics Opinion 9 to provide some clarification on this unique role and on how this type of lawyer should manage his or her representation under our Rules of Professional Conduct (http://www.ncbar.com/ethics/printopinion.asp?id=868).  It specifically requires the lawyer to decline representation unless the court’s appointment order very clearly identifies his or her roles and responsibilities throughout the litigation.  Notably, the ethics opinion “does not address or seek to question the authority of a court to appoint a lawyer to represent a child in a contested custody proceeding” and simply clarifies that lawyer’s duties.

 

So what exactly is a Child’s Attorney, as distinguished from a Best Interests Attorney?  In short, a Child’s Lawyer must operate in a very traditional client-centered role – he or she has a fiduciary duty to take and argue positions as expressed by his or her client unless such a position would “seriously endanger” the child-client.  If the child takes a position that would be contrary to his or her interests but may not necessarily put the child in harm’s way, then the Child’s Attorney must counsel the child, just as he or she would with any other client, so that the child is able to make informed, meaningful decisions about his or her wishes.  Even if the child’s wishes are ultimately not granted, the opportunity to be heard creates a lasting sense of respect for the legal system.  A Best Interests Attorney, as distinguished from the Child’s Lawyer, would not be bound by the child’s wishes and would instead advocate for positions that are squarely in line with what the GAL deems is the best interests of that child, even if the child disagrees or articulates an entirely opposite position.  

 

The increasing appointment of attorneys to children in Wake County in particular is a direct result of Attorney Sally Scherer’s foundation of The Child’s Advocate (TCA).  With the support of local family court judges, Scherer founded TCA in 2008 so that a skilled group of attorneys could represent these voiceless children in high conflict custody cases.  After TCA merged with Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc., in 2014, its focus has been on recruiting and training additional attorneys from the private bar to help represent the growing number of children in need of an independent advocate.  As TCA continues to garner tremendous support from lawyers in the family law bar – who have increasingly recognized the importance of providing a lawyer for children caught in the cross-fire of custody litigation – more children will now have their voices heard through attorneys who can leverage settlements between parents, call and question witnesses at trial, and argue the children’s wishes to the court.  After all, shouldn’t their wishes be given some consideration when the children are themselves the very subjects of the custody litigation? 

 

For more information on TCA, their website is as follows: http://www.thechildsadvocate.org/.  If you are interested in volunteering for this important role, please email TCA’s managing attorney, Suzanne Chester, directly at SuzanneC2@legalaidnc.org.

 

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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Help, I need somebody! – Part Three

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Monday, June 15, 2015

by Leslee Ruth Sharp, Sharp Law Offices, Raleigh, NC 

 

In the previous two blogs of the same title, information was provided on NC LAP, CPM and BarCARES.  This final blog presents information on other organizations and programs that benefit lawyers including TLC and PSI.

 

 

TLC, Transitioning Lawyers Commission was originated by the Senior Lawyers Division.  Like CPM, it has been designated as a lawyer assistance program by the North Carolina State Bar.  So, it is free and confidential!  The goal is to assist lawyers near the end of their career wind down their practice, and help each attorney transition from the practice of law to the next phase of his or her life.  This might mean identifying the best way to slow down and ultimately retire with dignity and grace;  identifying a loss in cognitive skills that require taking certain steps  to transfer responsibilities in the practice; or looking for the best means to sell the practice to a young attorney.  Learn more at https://www.ncbar.org/members/committees/transitioning-lawyers-commission/.

 

 

Last but not least, there is PSI, the Professional Support Initiative Program.  PSI is an informal voluntary local lawyer and judge assistance program that handles client-lawyer, lawyer-lawyer, and lawyer-judge issues.  Oversight is through The Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism which encourages judicial districts to set up these voluntary programs.  For more information see, http://nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/Professionalism/PSI.asp.

 

As you can see from the information presented in this blog series, within both the North Carolina State Bar (mandatory) and the North Carolina Bar Association (voluntary) are sections, committees and commissions you can join, become a member of, or get elected to which emphasize different practice areas to assist you with the nuts and bolts of practice or specific aspects related to quality of life.  As I see it, the groups discussed above are designed not only to assist you with the technical aspects of your practice, but to assist you in maintaining the ethical and professional appearances of the practice of law and our legal community; those nebulous criteria that have less to do with knowing the elements of the cause of action and more to do with how your colleagues and the public perceive each of us in our service.  When you discover that you, a friend or a colleague needs help getting your feet back on the ground, one of these groups may be just the help you need, all you have to do is visit the website to open the door. 

 

 

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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Help, I need somebody! – Part Two

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Friday, May 29, 2015

by Leslee Ruth Sharp, Sharp Law Offices, Raleigh, NC

 

In the previous blog of the same title, information was provided on NC LAP.  This follow-up blog presents information on other organizations and programs that benefit lawyers including CPM and BarCARES.

 

CPM                          

Unlike the North Carolina State Bar, our North Carolina Bar Association is voluntary. Even so, some of its programs have been designated by the North Carolina State Bar as lawyer assistance programs for purposes of Rule 1.6(c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, for instance, the Center for Practice Management (CPM).  As an advisory program, CPM garners lawyer assistance program status.  

 

Started in 2008, CPM provides advice, webinars, articles, and videos on reducing risk, improving quality of your legal services and improving client relations.  You can also find information for managing your practice and improving efficiency.  And all this is free and confidential!  Look at all that is offered at http://www.ncbar.org/members/practice-management/.

 

BarCARES is a confidential, short-term intervention program provided cost-free to members of participating judicial district bars, voluntary bar associations (for instance the North Carolina Bar Association) and law schools. BarCARES is designed to offer no-cost assistance in dealing with problems that might be causing distress and can be used to help with personal issues (crisis intervention, depression/anxiety, substance use and financial concerns); family issues (marriage/relationships, children/adolescents and parenting/family conflict); work issues (professional stressors, case-related stress and conflict resolution); and student coaching on stress/time management, etc. If you would like additional information about the program and its availability in your area, please contact the BarCARES coordinator at 919-929-1227 or 1-800-640-0735 or visit www.barcares.org.

 

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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Help, I need somebody!

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Friday, May 22, 2015

Help, I need somebody!

Help, not just anybody!

Help you know I need someone....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ApstMKNEMI

 

By Leslee Ruth Sharp, Sharp Law Offices

This is intended as the first in a three-part blog series and a precursor to an upcoming article in the Wake County Bar Flyer.

When the Beatles made this song a hit in 1965, I wasn’t yet a lawyer, much less out of grade school. Although, maybe like many of you, I already knew I was headed in that direction. My mother says as soon as I was talking I was telling of my career in the law. At any rate, when I began practicing 30 years ago, the idea that I would ever need help as a lawyer was not on my agenda or in my vocabulary. I was a newly minted lawyer in 1985, invincible, self-assured!

I knew I would need continual education in the law, but the idea that I would require a helping hand in any other matter was beyond my grasp. That there would be stress associated with handling cases, running a law practice, managing staff and difficult clients… why this concept never occurred to me. Meeting payroll, finding the next client, correcting the mistake made in court, managing deadlines, fulfilling the client’s expectations, why, the list goes on and on and this is just Monday! I had made my way through college, though law school, through an internship, my first job and was well on my way with my career. What could be so difficult about my new life as a lawyer?

Thirty years have passed, I’ve done pretty well for myself, better than some, not as well as others, all depending on how you take the measure. As we get older, we appreciate that from time to time we do need a little help. Did you know there are certain groups and individuals available to each of us as a lawyer in North Carolina to help with the many and varying challenges we encounter in our day-to-day service as a lawyer? Help is here, once you come to that point in life that you find yourself "not so self-assured." I encourage you to "open up the doors," visit the websites, talk with the contact person(s), or otherwise take advantage of these resources. Sometimes we all need a little help from a friend. If you see a colleague in need, be that friend.

NC LAP: As a licensed attorney, you are a member of the North Carolina State Bar, and the Lawyers Assistance Program is available to you. In 1979, a group of volunteer lawyers who were themselves recovering alcoholics saw the need to offer assistance to other lawyers suffering from addiction and alcoholism. They assembled together under the name Positive Action for Lawyers with Substance Abuse Issues (PALS) committee. In 1994, the State Bar formally recognized the PALS Committee and incorporated PALS as part of the State Bar administration and infrastructure. In 1999, further recognizing the need for additional assistance for lawyers dealing with mental health issues not related to substance abuse, the State Bar then formed the FRIENDS committee.

Today both programs have been merged into a single Lawyer Assistance Program. NC LAP currently has a staff consisting of a director, three clinicians and 2 office administration and special projects personnel. NC LAP also has a cadre of dedicated, trained lawyer and judge volunteers located throughout the state who are actively involved in providing assistance to lawyers and judges whenever and wherever needed. Find out more at www.nclap.org.

The second and third blogs in this series will discuss other organizations designed to assist lawyers in their time of need.

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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Stubbs Bankruptcy Clinic

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Thursday, April 30, 2015

By Adam Gottsegen, Nicholls & Crampton, PA

 

On August 11, 2014, Campbell Law School announced the opening of the Stubbs Bankruptcy Clinic.  The Clinic is located within the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Raleigh and will be overseen by its director David F. Mills.  The Clinic is named after prominent bankruptcy attorney Trawick "Buzzy" Stubbs.

The Clinic will not only provide law students with hands-on experience in bankruptcy law, but will also provide an outlet for referrals from Legal Aid of North Carolina and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  Exposing law students to practical skills and providing a resource for indigent citizens in our community is a "win-win" for professionalism in Raleigh. 

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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The Professionalism Support Initiative

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Monday, April 13, 2015

By Melvin F. Wright,  Executive Director of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism

 

The Professionalism Support Initiative (PSI) is a voluntary confidential local lawyer and judge assistance program that addresses client-lawyer, lawyer-lawyer, and lawyer-judge issues. The purpose of the PSI is to promote professionalism and thereby bolster public confidence in the legal profession. Local volunteer peers communicate privately and informally with lawyers and judges in order to address the complaint. The PSI offers counsel and assistance to lawyers and judges who receive repeated complaints at the State Bar, the Judicial Standards Commission, or through the local bar that do not rise to the level of ethics or professional responsibility violations but are matters of professional concern that should be addressed.

 

Inquiries include a wide range of matters that fall under “unprofessional conduct,” such as incivility, perceived bias by judges, lack of respect to litigants, attorneys, court personnel, witnesses, clients, etc.; excessive delay in courtroom proceedings or filing court documents, abuse of discovery practices, deficient practice skills, communication problems, failure to return phone calls or keep appointments, and consistent lack of preparation. Sometimes inquiries are just a matter of a personality conflict, oftentimes resolved by a PSI volunteer who helps both sides see how their behavior could be improved.

 

Visit the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism’s website at http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/Professionalism/PSI.asp in order to learn more or view the PSI training video and materials. Or, visit the Wake County Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee page at http://wakecountybar.site-ym.com/?page=Professionalism .

  

 

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NY Ethics Opinion on LinkedIn

Posted By Colleen Glatfelter, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NY Ethics opinion rules that lawyers must monitor their LinkedIn endorsements for accuracy, should not use “specialties” section unless they have a certification, and may need to include a results disclaimer, depending on the site’s content.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/does_your_legal_linkedin_profile_have_off_base_endorsements_ethics_opinion/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tech_monthly

 

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 *Any opinion or views expressed in blogs posted on this site are those of the identified author and not the Committee as a whole.

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