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 email@example.com, by September 30, 2014.
Amendments Pending Approval of the Supreme Court
At its meetings on April 25, 2014, and July 25, 2014, the council of the North Carolina State Bar voted to adopt the following rule amendments for transmission to the North Carolina Supreme Court for approval (for the complete text see the Spring 2014 and Summer 2014 editions of the Journal or visit the State Bar website):
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
The proposed amendments eliminate the three different CLE requirements for reinstatement from inactive status and administrative suspension in favor of one standard that applies to all petitioners for reinstatement without regard to when the petitioner was transferred to inactive or suspended status; make March 10, 2011, the effective date for the requirement of passage of the bar exam if a petitioner was administratively suspended for seven years or more; and permit a member to take up to 6.0 CLE credits per year online to satisfy the requirements for reinstatement from inactive status and administrative suspension.
Proposed Amendment to the Rules Governing the Administration of the CLE Program
27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1500, Rules Governing the Administration of the Continuing Legal Education Program
The proposed amendment requires a lawyer to be a nonresident for at least six consecutive months in a given year to qualify for the nonresident exemption from mandatory CLE.
Proposed Amendments to the Standards for Certification as a Specialist
27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2500, Certification Standards for the Criminal Law Specialty, and 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2600, Certification Standards for the Immigration Law Specialty
The proposed amendments to the standards for the criminal law specialty reduce the number of opposing counsel and judges that must be listed as peer references on an application for certification in criminal law.
The proposed amendments to the standards for the immigration law specialty clarify that CLE courses on topics related to immigration law may be used to satisfy the CLE requirements for certification and recertification, and require four peer references to be from lawyers or judges who have substantial experience in immigration law.
Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct
27 N.C.A.C. 2, The Rules of Professional Conduct
In 2012 and 2013 the American Bar Association (ABA) amended the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct to address issues relative to outsourcing, lawyer mobility, and advances in technology. Following study by a special committee of the State Bar Council, similar proposed amendments to 13 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct (the NC Rules) were approved for publication by the council on January 24, 2014. An executive summary and the proposed rule amendments can be viewed in the Spring 2014 edition of the Journal and online here.
Previously, at a meeting on October 25, 2013, the council voted to adopt amendments to Rule 1.17 and Rule 7.3 of the NC Rules, unrelated to the ABA amendments, for transmission to the North Carolina Supreme Court for approval (see the Fall 2013 edition of the Journal or visit the State Bar website). However, at its meeting on January 24, 2014, the council decided that all pending proposed amendments to the NC Rules should be submitted to the Supreme Court at one time. Therefore, proposed amendments to the following North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct have been approved for transmission to the Supreme Court (proposed amendments to the title of a rule are noted):
Rule 1.0, Terminology
Rule 1.1, Competence
Rule 1.4, Communication
Rule 1.6, Confidentiality of Information
Rule 1.17, Sale of a Law Practice
Rule 1.18, Duties to Prospective Client
Rule 4.4, Respect for Rights of Third Persons
Rule 5.3, Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer
Rule 5.5, Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law
Rule 7.1, Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services
Rule 7.2, Advertising
Direct Contact with Potential Solicitation of Clients
Rule 8.3, Disciplinary Authority; Choice of Law
Proposed Amendments to the Rules of the Board of Law Examiners
Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in the State of North Carolina, Section .0100, Organization
Proposed amendments to Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law change the street and mailing address listed for the offices of the Board of Law Examiners to reflect the board’s recent move to a new location.
Below are the rule amendments from the most recent meeting of the State Bar Council in July 2014.
Proposed Amendments to the Discipline and Disability Rules
27 N.C.A.C. 1B, Section .0100, Discipline and Disability of Attorneys
To better identify the program’s purpose, the proposed amendments change the name of the Trust Accounting Supervisory Program to the Trust Account Compliance Program. There are no changes to the substance of the rule other than the name change.
.0112 Investigations: Initial Determination; Notice and Response; Committee Referrals
(a) Investigation Authority
(k) Referral to Trust Account
ing Supervisory Compliance Program
(1) If, at any time before a finding of probable cause, the Grievance Committee determines that the alleged misconduct is primarily attributable to the respondent’s failure to employ sound trust accounting techniques, the committee may offer the respondent an opportunity to voluntarily participate in the State Bar’s
tTrust aAccount supervisory Compliance pProgram for up to two years before the committee considers discipline.
If the respondent accepts the committee’s offer to participate in the
supervisory compliance program, the respondent must fully cooperate with the Trust Account Compliance Counsel….
(2) Completion of Trust Account
Supervisory Compliance Program
(3) The committee will not refer to the program any case involving possible misappropriation of entrusted funds, criminal conduct, dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, or any other case the committee deems inappropriate for referral...Referral to the Trust Account
ing Supervisory Compliance Program is not a defense to allegations that a lawyer misappropriated entrusted funds, engaged in criminal conduct, or engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, and it does not immunize a lawyer from the disciplinary consequences of such conduct.
Proposed Amendments to the Rules Governing the Administration of the CLE Program
27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1500, Rules Governing the Administration of the Continuing Legal Education Program
The proposed amendments change the name of the mandatory CLE program for new lawyers from “Professionalism for New Admittees” to “Professionalism for New Attorneys” (PNA Program), and permit the Board of Continuing Education to approve alternative timeframes for the PNA Program, which will give CLE providers more flexibility to be creative in their presentations of the program.
.1518 Continuing Legal Education Program
(a) Annual Requirement
(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 Professionalism for New
Admittees Attorneys 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 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 PNA Program shall consist of 12 hours of training in subjects designated by the State
(2) Evaluation ...
Format Timetable and Partial Credit. The 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 board may approve an alternative timetable for a PNA program upon demonstration by the provider that the alternative timetable will provide an enhanced learning experience or for other good cause; however, no partial credit shall be awarded for attending less than the entire 12-hour program unless a special circumstances exemption is granted by the board.
(4) Online and Prerecorded Programs. The PNA Program may be distributed over the Internet by live web streaming (webcasting) but no part of the program may be taken online (via the Internet) on demand…
(d) Exemptions from Professionalism Requirement for New Members.
Proposed Amendments to Certification Standards for the Juvenile Delinquency Subspecialty
27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2500, Certification Standards for the Criminal Law Specialty
The proposed amendments reduce the number of practice hours required to meet the “substantial involvement” criterion for the juvenile delinquency subspecialty and allow for additional forms of “practice equivalents.” This will reflect more realistically the practice experience of qualified juvenile delinquency practitioners, particularly in rural communities.
.2508 Standards for Certification as a Specialist in Juvenile Delinquency Law
Each applicant for certification as a specialist in juvenile delinquency 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 ...
(b) Substantial Involvement - An applicant shall affirm to the board that the applicant has experience through substantial involvement in the practice of juvenile delinquency law.
(1) Substantial involvement shall mean during the five years immediately preceding the application, the applicant devoted an average of at least
500 400 hours a year to the practice of juvenile delinquency law, but not less than 400 100 hours in any one year. “Practice” shall mean substantive legal work, specifically including representation of juveniles or the state in juvenile delinquency court, done primarily for the purpose of providing legal advice or representation, or a practice equivalent.
(2) “Practice equivalent” shall mean:
(C) Service as a law professor in a juvenile delinquency legal clinic at an accredited law school may be used to meet the requirement set forth in Rule .2508(b)(1).
(D) The practice of state criminal law may be used to meet the requirement set forth in Rule .2508(b)(1) but not to exceed 100 hours for any year during the five years. “Practice of state criminal law” shall mean substantive legal work representing adults or the state in the state’s criminal district and superior courts
(b) Continuing Legal Education
Proposed Amendments to the Standards for Certification of Paralegals
27 N.C.A.C. 1G, Section .0100, The Plan for Certification of Paralegals
The proposed amendments permit a degree from a foreign educational institution to satisfy part of the educational requirements for certification if the foreign degree is evaluated by a qualified credential evaluation service and found to be equivalent to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited US institution.
.0119 Standards for Certification of Paralegals
(a) To qualify for certification as a paralegal, an applicant must pay any required fee, and comply with the following standards:
(1) Education. The applicant must have earned one of the following:
(A) an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree from a qualified paralegal studies program;
(B) a certificate from a qualified paralegal studies program and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any discipline from any institution of post-secondary education that is accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education (an accredited US institution) or an equivalent degree from a foreign educational institution if the degree is determined to be equivalent to a degree from an accredited US institution by a organization that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credentials Evaluators (AICE)
and a certificate from a qualified paralegal studies program; or
(C) a juris doctorate degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.
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