Proposed Rule Amendments

The Process and Your Comments

Proposed amendments to the Rules of the North Carolina State Bar are published for comment during the quarter after the council of the North Carolina State Bar approves their publication. The proposed amendments are published in the North Carolina State Bar's Journal and on this website. After publication for comment, the proposed rule amendments are considered for adoption by the council at its next quarterly meeting. If adopted, the rule amendments are submitted to the North Carolina Supreme Court for approval. Amendments become effective upon approval by the court. Unless otherwise noted, proposed additions to rules appear in in bold and underlined print, deletions are interlined. Proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct appear at the end of the page.

The State Bar welcomes your comments regarding proposed amendments to the rules. Please send a written response to L. Thomas Lunsford II, The North Carolina State Bar, PO Box 25908, Raleigh, NC 27611, or comments@ncbar.gov, by March 31, 2014.

Below are the rule amendments from the most recent meeting of the State Bar Council in January 2014.

 

Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct
The State Bar Study Committee on Ethics 20/20 has completed its review of the Ethics 20/20 amendments to the ABA Model Rules. The committee recommends amendments to 13 of the NC Rules of Professional Conduct. Click here to read the executive summary and the proposed amendments.


Proposed Amendments to the Procedures for Reinstatement from Inactive Status and Administrative Suspension

27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .0900, Procedures for Administrative Committee

 

These proposed amendments were originally published after the October 25, 2013, meeting of the council. At its January 24, 2013, meeting, the council determined that a recent proposed amendment to the CLE rules permitting a member to take up to 6.0 CLE credits per year online should be incorporated into the requirements for reinstatement from inactive status and administrative suspension. This change does not impact the proposed amendments that were published after the October meeting and which accomplish the following: eliminate the three different CLE requirements for reinstatement from inactive status and administrative suspension (the application of which depends upon when the member’s status changed) in favor of one standard that will apply to all petitioners for reinstatement without regard to when the petitioner was transferred to inactive or suspended status, and make March 10, 2011, the effective date for the requirement of passage of the bar exam if the petitioner was administratively suspended for seven years or more.

 

.0902 Reinstatement from Inactive Status

 

(a) Eligibility to Apply for Reinstatement

 

...

 

(c) Requirements for Reinstatement

 

(1) Completion of Petition.

 

...

 

(2) CLE Requirements for Calendar Year Before Inactive.

 

Unless the member was exempt from such requirements pursuant to Rule .1517 of this subchapter or is subject to the requirements in paragraph (c)(5)(6) of this rule, the member must satisfy the minimum continuing legal education requirements, as set forth in Rule .1518 of this subchapter, for the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year in which the member was transferred to inactive status, (the “subject year”), including any deficit from a prior calendar year that was carried forward and recorded in the member’s CLE record for the subject year.

 

(3) Character and Fitness to Practice.

 

...


(4) CLE Requirements For Members Granted Inactive Status Prior to March 10, 2011.

 

[Effective for all members who are transferred to inactive status on or after January 1, 1996, through March 9, 2011.] If more than 2 years have elapsed between the date of the entry of the order transferring the member to inactive status and the date the petition is filed, the member must complete 15 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) approved by the Board of Continuing Legal Education pursuant to Rule .1519 of this subchapter. Of the required 15 CLE hours, 3 hours must be earned by attending courses in the areas of professional responsibility and/or professionalism. The CLE hours must be completed within one year prior to the filing of the petition.

 

(4)(5) Additional CLE Requirements If Inactive Less Than 7 Years.


[Effective for all members who are transferred to inactive status on or after March 10, 2011.]
If more than 1 but less than 7 years have year has elapsed between the date of the entry of the order transferring the member to inactive status and the date that the petition is filed, the member must complete 12 hours of approved CLE for each year that the member was inactive up to a maximum of 7 years. The CLE hours must be completed within 2 years prior to filing the petition. For each 12-hour increment, 4 6 hours may be taken online; 2 hours must be earned by attending courses in the areas of professional responsibility and/or professionalism; and 5 hours must be earned by attending courses determined to be practical skills courses by the Board of Continuing Legal Education or its designee. If during the period of inactivity the member complied with mandatory CLE requirements of another state where the member is licensed, those CLE credit hours may be applied to the requirements under this provision without regard to whether they were taken during the 2 years prior to filing the petition.


(5)
(6) Bar Exam Requirement If Inactive 7 or More Years.

 

[Effective for all members who are transferred to inactive status on or after March 10, 2011.] If 7 years or more have elapsed between the date of the entry of the order transferring the member to inactive status and the date that the petition is filed, the member must obtain a passing grade on a regularly scheduled North Carolina bar examination. A member subject to this requirement does not have to satisfy the CLE requirements in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(4).

 

(A) Active Licensure in Another State. Each year of active licensure in another state during the period of inactive status shall offset one year of inactive status for the purpose of calculating the 7 years necessary to actuate this provision. If the member is not required to pass the bar examination as a consequence of offsetting, the member shall satisfy the CLE requirements set forth in paragraph (c)(5)(4)for each year that the member was inactive up to a maximum of 7 years.

 

(B) Military Service. Each calendar year in which an inactive member served on full-time, active military duty, whether for the entire calendar year or some portion thereof, shall offset one year of inactive status for the purpose of calculating the 7 years necessary to actuate the requirement of this paragraph. If the member is not required to pass the bar examination as a consequence of offsetting, the member shall satisfy the CLE requirements set forth in paragraph (c)(5)(4) for each year that the member was inactive up to a maximum of 7 years.

 

(7) Payment of Fees, Assessments and Costs

 

...

 

.0904 Reinstatement from Suspension

 

(a) Compliance Within 30 Days of Service of Suspension Order.

 

...

 

(d) Requirements for Reinstatement

 

(1) Completion of Petition

 

...

 

(2) CLE Requirements for Calendar Years Before Suspended

 

Unless the member was exempt from such requirements pursuant to Rule .1517 of this subchapter or is subject to the requirements in paragraph (d)(4) of this rule, the member must satisfy the minimum continuing legal education (CLE) requirements, as set forth in Rule .1518 of this subchapter, for the calendar year immediately preceding the year in which the member was suspended (the “subject year”), including any deficit from a prior year that was carried forward and recorded in the member’s CLE record for the subject year. The member shall also sign and file any delinquent CLE annual report form.

 

(3) Additional CLE Requirements If Suspended Less Than 7 Years

 

If more than 1 but less than 7 years have year has elapsed between the effective date of the suspension order and the date upon which the reinstatement petition is filed, the member must complete 12 hours of approved CLE for each year that the member was suspended up to a maximum of 7 years. The CLE must be completed within 2 years prior to filing the petition. For each 12-hour increment, 4 6 hours may be taken online; 2 hours must be earned by attending courses in the areas of professional responsibility and/or professionalism; and 5 hours must be earned by attending courses determined to be practical skills courses by the Board of Continuing Legal Education or its designee. If during the period of suspension the member complied with mandatory CLE requirements of another state where the member is licensed, those CLE credit hours may be applied to the requirements under this provision without regard to whether they were taken during the 2 years prior to filing the petition.

 

(4) Bar Exam Requirement If Suspended 7 or More Years

[Effective for all members who are administratively suspended on or after March 10, 2011.] If 7 years or more have elapsed between the effective date of the suspension order and the date that the petition is filed, the member must obtain a passing grade on a regularly scheduled North Carolina bar examination. A member subject to this requirement does not have to satisfy the CLE requirements in paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(3).

 

(A) Active Licensure in Another State. Each year of active licensure in another state during the period of suspension shall offset one year of suspension for the purpose of calculating the 7 years necessary to actuate this provision. If the member is not required to pass the bar examination as a consequence of offsetting, the member shall satisfy the CLE requirements set forth in paragraph (d)(3) for each year that the member was suspended up to a maximum of 7 years.

 

(B) Military Service. Each calendar year in which a suspended member served on full-time, active military duty, whether for the entire calendar year or some portion thereof, shall offset one year of suspension for the purpose of calculating the 7 years necessary to actuate the requirement of this paragraph. If the member is not required to pass the bar examination as a consequence of offsetting, the member shall satisfy the CLE requirements set forth in paragraph (d)(3) for each year that the member was suspended up to a maximum of 7 years.

 

(4) Character and Fitness to Practice

 

...


Proposed Amendments to Criminal Law Standards in The Plan of Legal Specialization

27 NCAC 1D, Section .2500, Certification Standards for the Criminal Law Specialty

 

The proposed amendment reduces the number of opposing counsel and judges that must be listed as peer references on an application for certification in criminal law.

 

.2505 Standards for Certification as a Specialist

 

Each applicant for certification as a specialist in criminal law or the subspecialty of state criminal law shall meet the minimum standards set forth in Rule .1720 of this subchapter. In addition, each applicant shall meet the following standards for certification:

 

(a) Licensure and Practice

 

...

 

(d) Peer Review

 

(1) ...

 

(4) Each applicant must provide for reference and independent inquiry the names and addresses of the following: (i) ten lawyers and judges who practice in the field of criminal law and who are familiar with the applicant’s practice, and (ii) opposing counsel and the judge in last ten eight serious (Class G or higher) felony cases tried by the applicant.

 

(5) ...

 

(e) Examination ...


Proposed Amendments to the Model Bylaws for Judicial District Bars

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval

27 N.C.A.C. 1A, Section .1000, Model Bylaws for Use by Judicial District Bars

 

 

The proposed amendments reflect recent changes to NC Gen. Stat. §7A-142, which allows members of a judicial district bar to participate in the selection of nominees to be considered by the governor when filling a vacant district court judgeship in the district. The proposed amendments also prohibit voting by proxy when selecting nominees.

 

Rule .1013 Selection of Nominees for District Court Judge

 

Unless otherwise required by law, the following procedures shall be used to determine the nominees to be recommended to the governor pursuant to NC Gen. Stat. §7A-142 for vacant district court judgeships in the judicial district.

 

(a) Meeting for Nominations:

 

....

 

(b) Candidates:

 

...

 

(c) Voting: Each district bar member eligible to vote pursuant to NC Gen. Stat. § 7A-142 may vote for up to three five candidates. Cumulative voting is prohibited. Proxy voting is prohibited.

 

(d) Submission to Governor: The three five candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be the nominees to fill the vacancy on the district court and their names, and vote totals, shall be transmitted to the governor. In the event of a tie for third fifth place, the names of those candidates involved in the tie shall be transmitted to the governor together with the names of the two four candidates receiving the highest number of votes.


Proposed Amendments to The Plan of Legal Specialization

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval

27 NCAC 1D, Section .1700, The Plan of Legal Specialization; Section .1800, Hearing and Appeal Rules of the Board of Legal Specialization

 

 

The proposed amendments add trademark law to the official list of recognized specialties and allow denial of a re-grading petition by the chair of the Board of Legal Specialization upon a finding that insufficient points are at issue to justify re-grading the examination.

 

.1725 Areas of Specialty

 

There are hereby recognized the following specialties:

 

(1) bankruptcy law

 

(a) consumer bankruptcy law

 

(b) business bankruptcy law

 

(2) ...

(11) trademark law.

 

.1803 Reconsideration of Failed Examination

 

(a) Review of Examination.

 

...

 

(c) Denial of Petition by Chair. The director of the specialization program shall review the petition and determine whether, if all grading objections of the petitioner are decided in the petitioner’s favor, the petitioner’s grade on the examination would be changed to a passing grade. If the director determines that the petitioner’s grade would not be changed to passing, the director shall notify the chair who may deny the petition on this basis.

(c)(d) Review Procedure.

 

[Re-lettering remaining paragraphs.]


Proposed Amendments to The Plan for Certification of Paralegals

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval

27 N.C.A.C. 1G, Section .0100, The Plan for Certification of Paralegals

 

 

The proposed amendments allow certified paralegal members of the board to be reappointed by the council at the end of their terms without nomination by vote of all active certified paralegals; provide additional standards for certification relative to misconduct based on dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and expand the standards for qualified paralegal studies programs to include those that are institutional members of national accrediting agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education.

 

.0105 Appointment of Members; When; Removal

 

(a) Appointment. The council shall appoint the members of the board, provided, however, after the appointment of the initial members of the board, each paralegal member appointed for an initial term shall be selected by the council from two nominees determined by a vote by mail or online of all active certified paralegals in an election conducted by the board.

 

(b) …

 

.0108 Succession

 

Each member of the board shall be entitled to serve for one full three-year term and to succeed himself or herself for one additional three-year term. Each certified paralegal member shall be eligible for reappointment by the council at the end of his or her term without appointment of a nominating committee or vote of all active paralegals as would be otherwise required by Rule .0105 of this subchapter. Thereafter, no person may be reappointed without having been off of the board for at least three years.

 

.0119 Standards for Certification of Paralegals

 

(a) …

 

(b) Notwithstanding an applicant’s satisfaction of the standards set forth in Rule .0119(a) or (b), no individual may be certified as a paralegal if:

 

(1) the individual’s certification or license as a paralegal in any state is under suspension or revocation;

 

(2) the individual’s license to practice law in any state is under suspension or revocation;

 

(3) the individual has been convicted of a criminal act that reflects adversely on the individual’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a paralegal, or has engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, provided, however, the board may certify an applicant if, after consideration of mitigating factors, including remorse, reformation of character, and the passage of time, the board determines that the individual is honest, trustworthy, and fit to be a certified paralegal; or

 

(4) the individual is not a legal resident of the United States.

 

(e) Qualified Paralegal Studies Program. A qualified paralegal studies program is a program of paralegal or legal assistant studies that is an institutional member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or other regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, and is either

 

(1) approved by the American Bar Association;

 

(2) an institutional member of the American Association for Paralegal Education; or

 

(3) offers at least the equivalent of 18 semester credits of coursework in paralegal studies as prescribed by the American Bar Association Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education.


Proposed Amendments to the Rule on Classes of Membership

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval


27 N.C.A.C. 1A, Section .0200, Membership - Annual Membership Fees

 

The proposed amendments allow a lawyer who is changing his or her status to inactive to be designated as “retired” in the State Bar membership records and to hold himself or herself out as a “Retired Member of the State Bar.”

 

.0201 Classes of Membership

 

(a) Two Classes of Membership

Members of the North Carolina State Bar shall be divided into two classes: active members and inactive members.

 

...

 

(c) Inactive Members

 

...

 

(2) Inactive members of the North Carolina State Bar may not practice law, except as provided in this rule for persons granted emeritus pro bono status, and are exempt from payment of membership dues during the period in which they are inactive members. For purposes of the State Bar’s membership records, the category of inactive members shall be further divided into the following subcategories:

 

(A)Retired/nonpracticing Non-practicing

 

This subcategory includes those members who are not engaged in the practice of law or holding themselves out as practicing attorneys and who are retired, hold positions unrelated to the practice of law, or practice law in other jurisdictions.

 

(B) Retired

 

This subcategory includes those members who are retired from the practice of law and who no longer hold themselves out as practicing attorneys. A retired member must hold himself or herself out as a “Retired Member of the North Carolina State Bar” or by some similar designation provided such designation clearly indicates that the attorney is “retired.”

 

(B) (C) Disability inactive status

 

[Re-lettering remaining paragraphs.]


Proposed Amendments to the Rules for Judicial District Bars

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval


27 N.C.A.C. 1A, Section .0900, Organization of the Judicial District Bars

 

The proposed amendments exempt members who are on active military duty and new admittees from the obligation to pay a judicial district bar annual membership fee. This is consistent with the fee obligations the same members have to the State Bar. The proposed amendments also require judicial district bars that assess mandatory membership fees for the first time after 2013 to adopt a fiscal year of July 1- June 30. This requirement will not apply to judicial district bars that assess mandatory membership fees prior to January 1, 2014.

 

.0902 Annual Membership Fee

 

If a judicial district bar elects to assess an annual membership fee from its active members pursuant to N.C.G.S. §84-18.1(b), the following procedures shall apply:

 

(a) Notice to State Bar.

 

...

 

(e) Members Subject to Assessment. Only those lawyers who are active members of a judicial district bar may be assessed an annual membership fee. A lawyer who joins a judicial district bar after the beginning of its fiscal year shall be exempt from the obligation to pay the annual membership fee for that fiscal year only if the lawyer can demonstrate that he or she previously paid an annual membership fee to another judicial district bar with a fiscal year that runs coterminously, for a period of three (3) months or more, with the fiscal year of the lawyer’s new judicial district bar.

 

(f) Members Exempt from Assessment.

 

(1) A person licensed to practice law in North Carolina for the first time by examination is not liable for judicial district bar membership fees during the year in which the person is admitted;

 

(2) A person licensed to practice law in North Carolina serving in the United States Armed Forces, whether in a legal or nonlegal capacity, is exempt from judicial district bar membership fees for any year in which the member serves some portion thereof on full-time active duty in the military service;

 

(3) A lawyer who joins a judicial district bar after the beginning of its fiscal year is exempt from the obligation to pay the annual membership fee for that fiscal year only if the lawyer can demonstrate that he or she previously paid an annual membership fee to another judicial district bar with a fiscal year that runs coterminously, for a period of three (3) months or more, with the fiscal year of the lawyer’s new judicial district bar.

 

(f) (g) Hardship waivers.

 

...

 

[Re-lettering remaining paragraphs.]

 

.0903 Fiscal Period

 

To avoid conflict with the assessment of the membership fees for the North Carolina State Bar, each judicial district bar that assesses a membership fee shall adopt a fiscal year that is not a calendar year. Any judicial district bar that assesses a mandatory membership fee for the first time after December 31, 2013, must adopt a fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends July 30.


Proposed Amendments to the Rules and Regulations Governing the CLE Program

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval


27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1500, Rules Governing the Administration of the Continuing Education Program, and Section .1600, Regulations Governing the Administration of the Continuing Education Program

 

The proposed amendments make the following changes to the rules and regulations for the CLE program: re-name the professionalism requirement for new lawyers the “Professionalism for New Admittees Program” (PNA Program); specify that the PNA Program may be presented by live webcast or by video replay if one hour of every six hours of programming is live; revise the accredited sponsor rule to reflect accurately the process that is used to approve programs presented by accredited sponsors; permit the accreditation of a product-specific technology course if there is a nexus to the practice of law and certain other conditions are met; increase the number of CLE credits that may be taken online each year from 4 to 6 credits; correct a typographical error that implies that more than 6 hours of computer-based CLE may be carried over to the next year; and clarify that webcasting is a live simultaneous broadcast that is not subject to the restrictions on video replay presentations.

 

.1518 Continuing Legal Education Program

 

(a) Annual Requirement

 

...

 

(b) ...

 

(c) Professionalism Requirement for New Members. Except as provided in paragraph (d)(1), each active member admitted to the North Carolina State Bar after January 1, 2011, must complete the North Carolina State Bar New Admittee Professionalism for New Admittees Program (New Admittee Program PNA Program) in the year the member is first required to meet the continuing legal education requirements as set forth in Rule .1526(b) and (c) of this subchapter. CLE credit for the New Admittee PNA Program shall be applied to the annual mandatory continuing legal education requirements set forth in paragraph (a) above.

 

(1) Content and Accreditation. The State Bar New Admittee PNA Program shall consist of 12 hours of training in subjects designated by the State Bar including, but not limited to, professional responsibility, professionalism, and law office management. The chairs of the Ethics and Grievance Committees, in consultation with the chief counsel to those committees, shall annually establish the content of the program and shall publish the required content on or before January 1 of each year. To be approved as a New Admittee PNA Program CLE activity, a sponsor must satisfy the annual content requirements. At least 45 days prior to the presentation of a New Admittee PNA Program, a sponsor must submit a detailed description of the program to the board for approval. Accredited sponsors shall not be exempt from the prior submission requirement and may not advertise a New Admittee PNA Program until approved by the board. New Admittee PNA Programs shall be specially designated by the board and no course that is not so designated shall satisfy the New Admittee PNA Program requirement for new members.

 

(2) Evaluation. To receive CLE credit for attending a New Admittee PNA Program, the participant must complete a written evaluation of the program which shall contain questions specified by the State Bar. Sponsors shall collate the information on the completed evaluation forms and shall send a report showing the collated information, together with the original forms, to the State Bar when reporting attendance pursuant to Rule .1601(e)(1) of this subchapter.

 

(3) Format and Partial Credit. The New Admittee PNA Program shall be presented in two six-hour blocks (with appropriate breaks) over two days. The six-hour blocks do not have to be attended on consecutive days or taken from the same provider; however, no partial credit shall be awarded for attending less than an entire six-hour block unless a special circumstances exemption is granted by the board. The PNA Program may be distributed over the Internet by live web streaming (webcasting) but No no part of the program may be taken online (via the Internet) on demand. The program may also be taken as a prerecorded program provided the requirements of Rule .1604(d) of this subchapter are satisfied and at least one hour of each six-hour block consists of live programming.

 

(d) Exemptions from Professionalism Requirement for New Members.

 

(1) Licensed in Another Jurisdiction. A member who is licensed by a United States jurisdiction other than North Carolina for five or more years prior to admission to practice in North Carolina is exempt from the New Admittee PNA Program requirement and must notify the board of the exemption in the first annual report sent to the member pursuant to Rule .1522 of this subchapter.

 

(2) Inactive Status. A newly admitted member who is transferred to inactive status in the year of admission to the State Bar is exempt from the New Admittee PNA Program requirement but, upon the entry of an order transferring the member back to active status, must complete the New Admittee PNA Program in the year that the member is subject to the requirements set forth in paragraph (a) above unless the member qualifies for the exemption under paragraph (d)(1) of this rule.

 

(3) Exemptions Under Rule .1517. A newly admitted active member who qualifies for an exemption under Rule .1517 of this subchapter shall be exempt from the New Admittee PNA Program requirement during the period of the Rule .1517 exemption. The member shall notify the board of the exemption in the first annual report sent to the member pursuant to Rule .1522 of this subchapter. The member must complete the New Admittee PNA Program in the year the member no longer qualifies for the Rule .1517 exemption or the next calendar year unless the member qualifies for the exemption under paragraph (d)(1) of this rule.

 

.1520 Accreditation of Sponsors and Programs

 

(a) Accreditation of Sponsors. ….

 

(b) Presumptive Program Approval for Accredited Sponsors.

 

(1) Once an organization is approved as an accredited sponsor, the continuing legal education programs sponsored by that organization are presumptively approved for credit; however, and no application must be made to the board for approval. At least 50 days prior to the presentation of a program, an accredited sponsor shall file an application, on a form prescribed by the board, notifying the board of the dates and locations of presentations of the program and the sponsor’s calculation of the CLE credit hours for the program.

 

(2) The board may at any time revoke the accreditation of an accredited sponsor for failure to satisfy the requirements of Rule .1512 and Rule .1519 of this subchapter, and for failure to satisfy the Regulations Governing the Administration of the Continuing Legal Education Program set forth in Section .1600 of this subchapter.

 

(2)(3)The board may shall evaluate a program presented by an accredited sponsor and, upon a determination that the program does not satisfy the requirements of Rule .1519, notify the accredited sponsor that any presentation of the same the program, the date for which was not included in the announcement required by Rule .1520(e) below, is not approved for credit. Such notice shall be sent by the board to the accredited sponsor within 45 days after the receipt of the announcement application. If notice is not sent to the accredited sponsor within the 45-day period, the program shall be presumed to be approved. The accredited sponsor may request reconsideration of such a an unfavorable accreditation decision by submitting a letter of appeal to the board within 15 days of receipt of the notice of disapproval. The decision by the board on an appeal is final.

 

(c) Unaccredited Sponsor Request for Program Approval.

 

 

(e) Program Announcements of Accredited Sponsors. At least 50 days prior to the presentation of a program, an accredited sponsor shall file an announcement, on a form prescribed by the board, notifying the board of the dates and locations of presentations of the program and the sponsor’s calculation of the CLE credit hours for the program.

 

(f) (e) Records...

 

.1602 Course Content Requirements

 

(a) Professional Responsibility Courses on Stress, Substance Abuse, Chemical Dependency, and Debilitating Mental Conditions

 

….

 

(d) Skills and Training Courses - A course that teaches a skill specific to the practice of law may be accredited for CLE if it satisfies the accreditation standards set forth in Rule .1519 of this subchapter with the primary objective of increasing the participant’s professional competence and proficiency as a lawyer. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that may earn CLE credit: legal writing; oral argument; courtroom presentation; and legal research. A course that provides general instruction in non-legal skills shall NOT be accredited. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that will NOT receive CLE credit: learning to use computer hardware, non-legal software for an application that is not specific to the practice of law (e.g. word processing),; or learning to use office equipment (except as permitted by paragraph (e) of this rule); public speaking; speed reading; efficiency training; personal money management or investing; career building; marketing; and general office management techniques.

 

(e) Technology Courses – A course on a specific information technology product, device, platform, application, or other technology solution (IT solution) may be accredited for CLE if the course satisfies the accreditation standards in Rule .1519 of this subchapter; specifically, the primary objective of the course must be to increase the participant’s professional competence and proficiency as a lawyer. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of courses that may earn CLE credit: electronic discovery software for litigation; document automation/assembly software; document management software; practice management software; digital forensics for litigation; and digital security. A course on the selection of an IT solution or the use of an IT solution to enhance a lawyer’s proficiency as a lawyer or to improve law office management may be accredited if the requirements of paragraphs (c) and (d) of this rule are satisfied. A course that provides general instruction on an IT solution but does not include instruction on the practical application of the IT solution to the practice of law shall not be accredited. The following are illustrative, non-exclusive examples of subject matter that will NOT receive CLE credit: generic education on how to use a tablet computer, laptop computer, or smart phone; training courses on Microsoft Office, Excel, Access, Word, Adobe, etc. programs; and instruction in the use of a particular desktop or mobile operating system. No credit will be given to a course that is sponsored by a manufacturer, distributor, broker, or merchandiser of the IT solution. A sponsor may not accept compensation from a manufacturer, distributor, broker, or merchandiser of an IT solution in return for presenting a CLE program about the IT solution. Presenters may include representatives of a manufacturer, distributor, broker, or merchandiser of the IT solution but they may not be the only presenters at the course and they may not determine the content of the course.

 

(f) (e) Activities That Shall Not Be Accredited ...

 

[Re-lettering remaining paragraphs.]

 

.1604 Accreditation of Prerecorded Simultaneous Broadcast, and Computer-Based Programs

 

(a) Presentation Including Prerecorded Material. ...

 

(b) Simultaneous Broadcast. An active member may receive credit for participation in a live presentation which is simultaneously broadcast by telephone, satellite, live web streaming (webcasting), or video conferencing equipment. The member may participate in the presentation by listening to or viewing the broadcast from a location that is remote from the origin of the broadcast. The broadcast may include prerecorded material provided it also includes a live question and answer session with the presenter.

 

(c) Accreditation Requirements.

 

….

 

(e) Computer-Based CLE. Effective for courses attended on or after July 1, 2001 January 1, 2014, a member may receive up to four (4) six hours of credit annually for participation in a course on CD-ROM or online. A CD-ROM course is an educational seminar on a compact disk that is accessed through the CD-ROM drive of the user’s personal computer. An online course is an educational seminar available on a provider’s website reached via the Internet.

 

(1) A member may apply up to four six credit hours of computer-based CLE to a CLE deficit from a preceding calendar year. Any computer-based CLE credit hours applied to a deficit from a preceding year will be included in calculating the maximum of four (4) six hours of computer-based CLE allowed in the preceding calendar year. A member may carry over to the next calendar year no more than four six credit hours of computer-based CLE pursuant to Rule .1518(c)(b) of this subchapter. Any credit hours carried over pursuant to Rule .1518(c)(b) of this subchapter will not be included in calculating the four (4) six hours of computer-based CLE allowed in any one calendar year.

 

(2) ...


Proposed Amendments to the Rules on the Registration of Interstate and International Law Firms

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval


27 N.C.A.C. 1E, Section .0200, Registration of Interstate and International Law Firms

 

The proposed amendments require any law firm filing a certificate of authority to transact business in North Carolina with the North Carolina Secretary of State to register with the State Bar as an interstate law firm.

 

.0201 Registration Requirement

 

No law firm or professional organization that which (1) maintains offices in North Carolina and one or more other jurisdictions, or (2) files for a certificate of authority to transact business in North Carolina from the North Carolina Secretary of State, may do business in North Carolina without first obtaining a certificate of registration from the North Carolina State Bar provided, however, that no law firm or professional organization shall be required to obtain a certificate of registration if all attorneys associated with the law firm or professional organization, or any law firm or professional organization that is in partnership with said law firm or professional organization, are licensed to practice law in North Carolina.


Proposed Amendments to the Rules for the Paralegal Certification Program

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval


27 N.C.A.C. 1G, Section .0100, The Plan for Certification of Paralegals, and Section .0200, Rules Governing Continuing Paralegal Education

 

The proposed amendments to the Plan for Certification of Paralegals clarify the current duties of the Paralegal Certification Committee. The proposed amendments to the rules on continuing paralegal education (CPE) allow stress management courses to be approved for CPE.

 

.0118 Certification Committee

 

(a) ...

 

(c) The committee shall advise and assist the board in carrying out the board’s objectives and in the implementation and regulation of this plan by advising the board as to standards for certification of individuals as paralegals. The committee shall be charged with actively administering the plan as follows:

 

(1) upon request of the board, make recommendations to the board for certification, continued certification, denial, suspension, or revocation of certification of paralegals and for procedures with respect thereto;

 

(2) administer procedures established by the board for evaluation of applications for certification and continued certification as a paralegal and for denial, suspension, or revocation of such certification;

 

(3) (2) administer examinations and other testing procedures, if applicable, investigate references of applicants and, if deemed advisable, seek additional information regarding applicants for certification or continued certification as paralegals draft and regularly revise the certification examination; and

 

(4) (3) perform such other duties and make such other recommendations as may be delegated to or requested by the board.

 

.0201 Continuing Paralegal Education (CPE)

 

(a) Each active certified paralegal subject to these rules shall complete 6 hours of approved continuing education during each year of certification.

 

(b) Of the 6 hours, at least 1 hour shall be devoted to the areas of professional responsibility or professionalism or any combination thereof.

 

(1) A professional responsibility course or segment of a course shall be devoted to (1) the substance, the underlying rationale, and the practical application of the Rules of Professional Conduct; (2) the professional obligations of the lawyer to the client, the court, the public, and other lawyers, and the paralegal’s role in assisting the lawyer to fulfill those obligations; or (3) the effects of substance abuse and chemical dependency, or debilitating mental condition on a lawyer’s or a paralegal’s professional responsibilities; or (4) the effects of stress on a paralegal’s professional responsibilities.

 

...


Proposed Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct

This proposed amendment has been sent to the Supreme Court for Approval


27 N.C.A.C. 2, Rules of Professional Conduct

 

Amendments to Rule 1.17, Sale of a Law Practice, and Rule 7.3, Direct Contact with Potential Clients, are proposed. The proposed amendments to Rule 1.17 clarify that a solo practitioner who sells his or her law practice to another lawyer may continue to work for the firm. The proposed amendments also explain the disclosure requirements if the purchaser continues to use the name of the firm. The proposed amendments to Rule 7.3 specify that the advertising notice on written targeted communications soliciting professional employment must be conspicuous and must match in size, color, and type the largest and widest of the fonts used on the envelope or written communication.

 

Rule 1.17: Sale of A Law Practice

 

A lawyer or a law firm may sell or purchase a law practice, or an area of law practice, including good will, if the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) The seller ceases to engage in the private practice of law, or in the area of practice that has been sold, from an office that is within a one-hundred (100) mile radius of the purchased law practice, except the seller may work for continue to practice law with the purchaser as an independent contractor and may provide legal representation at no charge to indigent persons or to members of the seller’s family;

 

(b) ...

 

Comment

 

[1] ...

 

Termination of Practice by the Seller

 

[2] ...

 

[3] The requirement that the seller cease to engage in the private practice of law does not prohibit employment as an independent contract lawyer or an employee for the purchaser practice. Permitting the seller to continue to work for the practice will assist in the smooth transition of cases and will provide mentoring to new lawyers. The requirement that the seller cease private practice also does not prohibit employment as a lawyer on the staff of a public agency or a legal services entity that provides legal services to the poor, or as in-house counsel to a business. Similarly, the Rule allows the seller to provide pro bono representation to indigent persons on his own initiative and to provide legal representation to family members without charge. See also 98 Formal Ethics Opinion 6 (1998)(requirements in rule relative to sale of law practice to lawyer who is stranger to the firm do not apply to the sale of law practice to lawyer who is a current employee of firm).

 

[4] ...

 

Other Applicable Ethical Standards

 

[11]….

 

[13] After purchase, the law practice may retain the same name subject to the requirements of Rule 7.5. The seller’s retirement or discontinuation of affiliation with the law practice must be indicated on letterhead and other communications as necessary to avoid misleading the public as to the seller’s relationship to the law practice. If the seller becomes an independent contract lawyer or employee of the practice, the letterhead and other communications must indicate that the seller is no longer the owner of the firm; an “of counsel” designation would be sufficient to do so.

 

Applicability of the Rule

 

[13] [14] ...

 

[Re-numbering remaining paragraphs.]

 

Rule 7.3: Direct Contact with Potential Clients

 

(a) ...

 

(c) Targeted Communications. Unless the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2), every written, recorded, or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from a potential client known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter shall include the statement, in capital letters, “THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES” (the advertising notice), which shall be conspicuous and subject to the following requirements:

 

(1) Written Communications. Written communications shall be mailed in an envelope. The advertising notice shall be printed on the front of the envelope, in a font that is as large as any other printing on the front or the back of the envelope. If more than one color or type of font is used on the front or the back of the envelope, the font used for the advertising notice shall match in color, type, and size the largest and widest of the fonts. The front of the envelope shall contain no printing other than the name of the lawyer or law firm and return address, the name and address of the recipient, and the advertising notice. The advertising notice shall also be printed at the beginning of the body of the enclosed letter written communication in a font as large as or larger than any other printing contained in the letter enclosed written communication. If more than one color or type of font is used on the enclosed written communication, then the font of the advertising notice shall match in color, type, and size the largest and widest of the fonts. Nothing on the envelope or the enclosed written communication shall be more conspicuous than the advertising notice.

 

(2) Electronic Communications. The advertising notice shall appear in the “in reference” or subject box block of the address or header section of the communication. No other statement shall appear in this block. The advertising notice shall also appear, at the beginning and ending of the electronic communication, in a font as large as or larger than any other printing in the body of the communication or in any masthead on the communication. If more than one color or type of font is used in the electronic communication, then the font of the advertising notice shall match in color, type, and size the largest and widest of the fonts. Nothing in the electronic communication shall be more conspicuous than the advertising notice.

 

(3) Recorded Communications. The advertising notice shall be clearly articulated at the beginning and ending of the recorded communication.

 

(d) ….

 

Comment

 

[1]….

 

[7] Paragraph (c) of this rule requires that all targeted mail solicitations of potential clients must be mailed in an envelope on which the statement, “This is an advertisement for legal services,” appears in capital letters in a font at least as large as any other printing on the front or the back of the envelope. The statement must appear on the front of the envelope with no other distracting extraneous written statements other than the name and address of the recipient and the name and return address of the lawyer or firm. Postcards may not be used for targeted mail solicitations. No embarrassing personal information about the recipient may appear on the back of the envelope. The advertising notice must also appear in the “in reference” or subject box of an electronic communication (email) and at the beginning of an enclosed letter any paper or electronic communication in a font that is at least as large as the font used for any other printing in the letter paper or electronic communication. On any paper or electronic communication required by this rule to contain the advertising notice, the notice must be conspicuous and should not be obscured by other objects or printing or by manipulating fonts. For example, inclusion of a large photograph or graphic image on the communication may diminish the prominence of the advertising notice. Similarly, a font that is narrow or faint may render the advertising notice inconspicuous if the fonts used elsewhere in the communication are chubby or flamboyant. The font size requirement does not apply to a brochure enclosed with the letter written communication if the letter written communication contains the required notice. As explained in 2007 Formal Ethics Opinion 15, the font size requirement does not apply to an insignia or border used in connection with a law firm’s name if the insignia or border is used consistently by the firm in official communications on behalf of the firm. Nevertheless, any such insignia or border cannot be so large that it detracts from the conspicuousness of the advertising notice. The advertising notice must also appear in the “in reference to” section of an email communication. The requirement that certain communications be marked, “This is an advertisement for legal services,” does not apply to communications sent in response to requests of potential clients or their spokespersons or sponsors. General announcements by lawyers, including changes in personnel or office location, do not constitute communications soliciting professional employment from a client known to be in need of legal services within the meaning of this Rule.

 

[8]….

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