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Friday, November 30, 2018

October Meeting Synopsis 

Election of Officers

Barbara R. Christy was elected vice president, C. Colon Willoughby Jr. of Raleigh was elected president-elect, G. Gray Wilson of Winston-Salem was installed as president, and Alice Neece Mine was elected secretary-treasurer.

Retiring Councilors and Members of Boards and Agencies

The following retiring councilors and members of boards and agencies were recognized at the Annual Meeting of the North Carolina State Bar:

COUNCILORS

Robert

W.

Detwiler

 

District 4

2010-2018

Randall

B.

Pridgen

 

District 7

2010-2018

Nicholas

J.

Dombalis

II

District 10

2010-2018

Lonnie

M.

Player

Jr.

District 12

2010-2018

Barbara

R.

Christy

 

District 18

2010-2018

Darrin

D.

Jordan

 

District 19C

2010-2018

Michael

L.

Robinson

 

District 21

2010-2018

Nancy

Black

Norelli

 

District 26

2010-2018

BOARDS

 

 

 

 

 

Darrin

D.

Jordan

 

Lawyer Assistance Program Board

2013-2018

William

O.

King

 

Disciplinary Hearing Commission

2015-2018

Irvin

W.

Hankins

III

Disciplinary Hearing Commission

2012-2018

Jane

P.

Gray

 

Legal Aid of North Carolina

2012-2018

Delores

S.

Todd

 

Board of Legal Specialization

2012-2018

Joseph

 

Smith

Jr.

IOLTA Board of Trustees

2015-2018

Edward

 

Hinson

 

NC Judicial Standards Commission

2007-2018

Nancy

Black

Norelli

 

Equal Access to Justice Commission

2011-2018

Anthony

S.

di Santi

 

Client Security Fund Board

2013-2018

Robert

C.

Bowers

 

Board of Paralegal Certification

2012-2018

Shelby

D.

Benton

 

Board of Paralegal Certification

2012-2018

Christina

G.

Hinkle

 

Board of Continuing Legal Education

2012-2018

Arnita

 

Dula

 

Board of Continuing Legal Education

2012-2018

A.

Leon

Stanback

 

Board of Law Examiners

2006-2018

Jaye

P.

Meyer

 

Board of Law Examiners

2007-2018

Thomas

R.

West

 

NC Courts Commission

2001-2018

Appointments

The council made the following appointments:

Client Security Fund Board of Trustees – L. Thomas Lunsford II of Chapel Hill was appointed to a five-year term. H. Ranee Singleton of Washington was appointed as chair, and Calvin E. Murphy of Charlotte was appointed as vice chair.

Board of Law Examiners – Wanda G. Bryant of Raleigh was appointed to a three-year term and Ned W. Mangum of Raleigh was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Jaye Meyer. W. Erwin Spainhour of Concord, and Ronald G. Baker, Sr. of Kitty Hawk were reappointed to three-year terms.

Board of Continuing Legal Education – Andrienne S. Blocker of Durham and Howard A. Jacobson of Raleigh were appointed to three-year terms. George L. Jenkins Jr. of Kinston was reappointed to a three-year term. George L. Jenkins of Kinston was appointed as chair, and Elizabeth Keever of Fayetteville was appointed as vice chair.

NC LEAF – William R. Purcell II of Laurinburg was reappointed to a one-year term.

Board of Paralegal Certification – Matthew Smith of Eden and Benita Angel Gwynn Powell of Fayetteville were appointed to three-year terms. Patty Clapper of Chapel Hill was reappointed to a three-year term. Warren Hodges of Winston Salem was appointed as chair, and Bryan G. Scott of Winston-Salem was appointed as vice chair.

NC Courts Commission – Fred P. Parker of Raleigh was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Thomas R. West.

Recommendations for Appointments Sought 

Anyone interested in being appointed to serve on any of the State Bar’s boards, commissions, or committees should email the State Bar’s executive director, Alice Neece Mine, at amine@ncbar.gov and express that interest, being sure to attach a current resume.

Lawyer Assistance Program Board (3-year terms) – There are two appointments to be made at the council’s January 2019 meeting. M. Reid Acree Jr. of Raleigh (volunteer member) is eligible for reappointment. Christopher K. Budnick of Raleigh (clinician) is not eligible to be reappointed.

Random Audits 

Lawyers selected for audit are randomly drawn from a list generated from the State Bar’s membership database based upon judicial district membership designations. The randomly selected judicial districts used to generate the lists for the 4th quarter of 2018 were District 22A, composed of Alexander and Iredell Counties, and District 23, composed of Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, and Yadkin Counties.

Council Meetings

The council will hold its regular quarterly meetings on the following dates in 2019:

January 15-18
NC State Bar Headquarters, Raleigh

April 23-26
NC State Bar Headquarters, Raleigh

July 16-19
Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock

October 22-25
NC State Bar Headquarters, Raleigh

Dues for 2019

The council decided that the amount of the annual membership fee (dues) for 2019 should remain at the current level, $300.

Client Security Fund Assessment

The council received a report from the Client Security Fund’s Board of Trustees regarding the financial condition of the Fund and its budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Upon the recommendation of the trustees and the Executive Committee, the Council decided to recommend to the Supreme Court that the amount of the annual assessment for 2019 be $25. The $25 assessment was subsequently approved by the Supreme Court and will be invoiced to the State Bar’s active membership along with the annual membership fee in early December.

Ethics Committee

Upon the recommendation of the Ethics Committee, the council approved the following opinion: 2018 Formal Ethics Opinion 7, Online Review Solicitation Service. The opinion explains that, subject to certain conditions, a lawyer may participate in an online service for soliciting client reviews that collects and posts positive reviews to increase the lawyer’s ranking on internet search engines. The council did not accept the Ethics Committee’s recommendation to adopt the following proposed opinion, which will return to the Ethics Committee for further study: Proposed 2018 Formal Ethics Opinion 5, Accessing Social Network Presence of Represented or Unrepresented Persons. This opinion reviews a lawyer’s professional responsibilities when seeking access to a person’s profile, pages, and posts on a social network to investigate a client’s legal matter.

At its meeting on October 25, 2018, the Ethics Committee sent proposed 2018 Formal Ethics Opinion 8, Advertising Membership in Marketing Company with Misleading Title, back to subcommittee for further study based upon comments received about the proposed opinion during the prior quarter. The committee also received reports from two subcommittees created to study inquiries concerning ex parte communications and concerning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. Lastly, the committee received three new inquiries: one concerning ERISA plans, one concerning a lawyer’s ability to act as an intermediary between amicable but opposing parties in a domestic dispute, and one concerning intimate relationships between opposing counsel. All three inquiries were sent to subcommittee for further study.

Grievance Committee

During the quarter, the Grievance Committee considered 327 cases. Four lawyers were referred to the Trust Account Compliance Program, one lawyer was referred to the Lawyers Assistance Program, seven lawyers received letters of caution, 16 lawyers received letters of warning, four lawyers received admonitions, six lawyers received reprimands, one lawyer received a censure, and nine lawyers were referred to the Disciplinary Hearing Commission for trial.

Rule Amendments

Amendments for which Supreme Court Approval is Pending – At its meeting on October 26, 2018, the council adopted, subject to the Supreme Court’s approval, the amendments described below. It is anticipated that these amendments will be submitted to the Court in January 2019.

A) 27 N.C.A.C. 1B, Section .0100, Discipline and Disability of Attorneys

Rule .0113 Proceedings Before the Grievance Committee

The proposed amendments establish a procedure for imposition of censures that is consistent with the procedures for imposition of reprimands and admonitions.

B) 27 N.C.A.C. 1B, Section .0100, Discipline and Disability of Attorneys

Rule .0135 Noncompliance Suspension

The proposed new rule establishes a procedure to suspend the license of a licensee who is not in compliance with demands of the Grievance Committee for information or evidence relating to a grievance investigation.

C) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1700, The Plan for Legal Specialization

Rule .1721 Minimum Standards for Continued Certification of Specialists

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a specialist from ten to six for all specialties.

D) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2100, Certification Standards for the Real Property Law Specialty

Rule .2106 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a real property law specialist from ten to six.

E) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2200, Certification Standards for the Bankruptcy Law Specialty

Rule .2206 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a bankruptcy law specialist from ten to six.

F) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2300, Certification Standards for the Estate Planning and Probate Law Specialty

Rule .2306 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as an estate planning and probate law specialist from ten to six.

G) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2400, Certification Standards for the Family Law Specialty

Rule .2406 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a family law specialist from ten to six.

H) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2500, Certification Standards for the Criminal Law Specialty

Rule .2506 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a criminal law specialist from ten to six.

I) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2500, Certification Standards for the Criminal Law Specialty

Rule .2509 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist in Juvenile Delinquency Law

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a juvenile delinquency law specialist from ten to six.

J) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2600, Certification Standards for the Immigration Law Specialty

Rule .2606 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as an immigration law specialist from ten to six.

K) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2700, Certification Standards for the Workers’ Compensation Law Specialty

 Rule .2706 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a workers’ compensation law specialist from ten to six.

L) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2800, Certification Standards for the Social Security Disability Law Specialty

Rule .2806 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a social security disability law specialist from ten to six.

M) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .2900, Certification Standards for the Elder Law Specialty

Rule .2906 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as an elder law specialist from ten to six.

N) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .3000, Certification Standards for the Appellate Practice Specialty

Rule .3006 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as an appellate practice specialist from ten to six.

O) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .3100, Certification Standards for the Trademark Law Specialty

Rule .3106 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a trademark law specialist from ten to six.

P) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .3200, Certification Standards for the Utilities Law Specialty

Rule .3206 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a utilities law specialist from ten to six.

Q) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .3300, Certification Standards for the Privacy and Information Security Law Specialty

Rule .3306 Standards for Continued Certification as a Specialist

The proposed amendment reduces the number of peer references required for recertification as a privacy and information security law specialist from ten to six.

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

Rule 3.5 Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal

The proposed amendment to the Rule 3.5 corrects a typographical error included in an amendment to the Rules of Professional Conduct approved by the NC Supreme Court on April 5, 2018. The proposed amendment to the official comment clarifies that a gift or loan to a judge is only prohibited if made under circumstances that might give the appearance that the gift or loan was made to influence official action. These proposed amendments are consistent with the prohibition expressed in the N.C. Code of Judicial Conduct.

Proposed Amendments that were Republished - At its meeting on October 26, 2018, the council adopted, subject to the Supreme Court’s approval, the amendments described below. It is anticipated that these amendments will be submitted to the Court in January 2019.

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

Rule 1.15 (official comment)

Rule 5.4

The proposed amendment to Rule 1.15 explains the due diligence required if a lawyer uses an intermediary (such as a bank, credit card processor, or litigation funding entity) to collect a fee.

The proposed amendments to Rule 5.4 create an exception to the fee-splitting prohibition in Rule 5.4 to allow payment of a reasonable portion of a legal fee to a credit card processor, group advertising provider, or online platform for hiring a lawyer if the business relationship will not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment on behalf of a client.

The proposed amendments were originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of the Journal upon the recommendation of the Ethics Committee. At the October 2017 meeting, the Ethics Committee asked that the proposed amendments not be submitted to the council for final consideration pending further action on a related proposed ethics opinion, Proposed 2017 FEO 6, concerning Avvo Legal Services (ALS), an online client-lawyer matching service. The owner of ALS subsequently advised the State Bar that it was discontinuing ALS, and the Ethics Committee consequently withdrew Proposed 2017 FEO 6. In July 2018 the Ethics Committee recommended republication of the proposed amendments to Rule 5.4 and the comment to Rule 1.15 and they were republished in the last issue of the Journal.

Proposed Amendments for Publication - No amendments were recommended for publication at the council meeting on October 26, 2018.

Filed Under: General News

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