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Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Nominations

The Council’s Nominating Committee nominated Darrin Jordan of Salisbury for the office of vice-president. Barbara R. Christy of Greensboro was nominated for the office of president-elect. Alice Neece Mine of Raleigh was nominated for the office of secretary-treasurer. The elections will be held during the annual meeting of the State Bar at 8 AM on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at the State Bar’s headquarters in Raleigh.

Appointments 

The council made the following appointments:

Board of Legal Specialization – Everett “Vic” Knight of Raleigh was reappointed to a three-year term as a public member. Matthew J. Ladenheim of Charlotte was appointed to a three-year term.

Larry H. Rocamora of Durham was appointed as chair, and Kimberly R. Coward of Cashiers was appointed as vice-chair.

IOLTA Board of Trustees – Maria Misse of Ahoskie was reappointed to a three-year term. Shelby Benton of Goldsboro and Heather Culp of Charlotte were appointed to three-year terms.

Kerry A. Friedman of Asheville was appointed as chair and Maria Misse of Ahoskie was appointed as vice-chair.

Commission on Indigent Defense Services – Stacey Rubain of Winston-Salem was appointed a four-year term.

American Bar Association House of Delegates - By motion of the State Bar Council at its July 2019 meeting, appointments to the ABA House of Delegates will be relinquished effective as of end of business for the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA August 2019 Annual Meeting.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR APPOINTMENTS SOUGHT 

The council will make the following appointments at its meeting in October 2019. Anyone wishing to be considered or to nominate someone should contact Alice Neece Mine at the State Bar office: 919-828-4620; amine@ncbar.gov; PO Box 25908, Raleigh, NC 27611.

Client Security Fund Board of Trustees (5-year terms) – There is one appointment to be made. H. Ranee Singleton (chair) is not eligible for reappointment.

Board of Law Examiners (3-year terms) – There are five appointments to be made. Ronald L. Gibson, D. Clark Smith, and Kimberly Herrick are eligible for reappointment. Randel E. Phillips and Beth R. Fleishman (chair) are not eligible for reappointment. 

Board of Continuing Legal Education (3-year terms) – There are three appointments to be made. Judge Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, Judge Beth Keever (vice-chair), and Marisa Campbell are eligible for reappointment. 

NC LEAF (1-year term) – There is one appointment to be made. William R. Purcell is eligible for reappointment.

Board of Paralegal Certification (3-year terms) – There are three appointments to be made. Yolanda N. Smith (paralegal), Bryan G. Scott (lawyer/vice-chair), and Warren Hodges (paralegal educator/chair) are eligible for reappointment. 

RANDOM AUDITS 

Lawyers selected for audits of their trust accounts are randomly drawn from lists 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 third quarter of 2019 are District 14, composed of Cumberland County, and District 16, composed of Durham County. 

ETHICS COMMITTEE 

Upon recommendation of the Ethics Committee, the council adopted one new opinion this quarter: 2018 FEO 5, Accessing Social Network Presence of Represented or Unrepresented Persons. The Ethics Committee approved the publication of three opinions for comment this quarter: Proposed 2018 FEO 8, Advertising Inclusion in Self-Laudatory List or Organization; Proposed 2019 FEO 5, Receipt of Virtual Currency in Law Practice; and Proposed 2019 FEO 6, Offering Incentive to Engage with Law Practice’s Social Networking Sites. The Ethics Committee sent two pending inquiries to subcommittee for further study: one on the use of attorney’s “eyes only” discovery agreements, and another concerning previously published Proposed 2019 Formal Ethics Opinion 4, which addresses the permissibility of certain communications with judges.

GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE 

During the quarter the Grievance Committee considered 291files. Two hundred-eighteen files were dismissed. Three lawyers were referred to the Trust Accounting Compliance Program, one lawyer was referred to the Lawyers Assistance Program, three lawyers received a letter of caution, 16 lawyers received letters of warning, six lawyers received admonitions, 11 lawyers received reprimands, four lawyers received censures, and nine lawyers were referred to the Disciplinary Hearing Commission for trial.

RULE AMENDMENTS

Proposed Amendments for Publication 

At its meeting on July 19, 2019, the council voted to publish the following proposed amendments to the State Bar’s rules for comment from members of the Bar. (For complete text of the proposed rule amendments, see the Fall 2019 edition of the Journal or visit the State Bar website.)

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

Rule .0903 Suspension for Failure to Fulfill Obligations of Membership

The proposed amendment will allow service of a notice to show cause via publication in the State Bar Journal when the State Bar is unable to serve a member using other authorized methods.

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

Rule .1720 Minimum Standards for Certification of Specialists

The proposed amendment clarifies the prohibition on waiving the minimum years of practice requirement for specialty certification applicants.

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

Rule .2605 Standards for Certification as a Specialist in Immigration Law

The proposed amendment permits the Board of Legal Specialization to offer the immigration law specialty exam annually or every other year based upon the recommendation of the Immigration Law Specialty Committee.

Amendments Adopted Subject to Supreme Court Approval

At its meetings on April 26, 2019, and July 19, 2019, 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 of the proposed rule amendments, see the Spring 2019 and Summer 2019 editions of the Journal or visit the State Bar website.)

A) 27 N.C.A.C. 1A, Section .0400, Election, Succession, and Duties of officers

Rule .0409 President

Rule .0412 Emergency Authority [new rule]

The proposed amendments and new rule expressly authorize the president of the State Bar to act in the name of the State Bar under emergent circumstances when it is not practicable or reasonable to convene a meeting of the State Bar Council. Actions taken pursuant to this authority must be ratified by the council at its next meeting.

B) 27 N.C.A.C. 1A, Section .0700, Standing Committees and Boards of the State Bar

Rule .0701 Standing Committee and Boards

The proposed amendment eliminates the requirement that the Grievance Committee establish and implement a disaster response plan to assist victims of disasters in obtaining legal representation and to prevent the improper solicitation of victims by lawyers. 

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

Rule .1010 Committees

The proposed amendments reflect the elimination of judicial district bar fee dispute programs, a change that was recommended in the Final Report and Recommendations of the Attorney Client Assistance Program/Fee Dispute Program Review Committee, an ad hoc committee of the State Bar Council.

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

Rule .0106 Grievance Committee: Powers and Duties

The proposed amendments reflect the Grievance Committee’s authority to operate the Attorney Client Assistance Program and the Fee Dispute Resolution Program.

E) 27 N.C.A.C. 1B, Section .0200, Rules Governing Judicial District Grievance Committees

Rule .0202 Jurisdiction and Authority of District Grievance Committees

The proposed amendment reflects the elimination of judicial district bar fee dispute programs.

F) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .0700, Procedures for Fee Dispute Resolution

Rule .0701 Purpose and Implementation

Rule .0702 Jurisdiction

Rule .0704 Confidentiality

Rule .0706 Powers and Duties of the Vice-Chairperson

Rule .0707 Processing Requests for Fee Dispute Resolution

Rule .0708 Settlement Conference Proceedings

Rule .0709 Record Keeping

Rule .0710 District Bar Fee Dispute Resolution

Rule .0711 District Bar Settlement Conference Proceedings

The proposed amendments eliminate judicial district bar fee dispute programs; eliminate language that would allow a third-party payor of legal fees or expenses to file a fee dispute petition; state that the fee dispute program does not have jurisdiction over disputes regarding fees or expenses that are the subject of a pending Client Security Fund (CSF) claim or CSF claim that has been paid in full; provide that, ordinarily, a fee dispute will be processed before a companion grievance; and modernize existing language of Section .0700. 

G) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1500, Rules Governing the Administration of the Continuing Legal Education Program

Rule .1501 Scope, Purpose, and Definitions

Rule .1512 Source of Funds

Rule .1517 Exemptions

Rule .1518 Continuing Legal Education Program

Rule .1519 Accreditation Standards

Rule .1520 Registration of Sponsors and Program Approval

Rule .1521 Credit Hours

Rule .1524 Reinstatement

The proposed amendments eliminate the annual 6.0 hour cap on online CLE credit hours. There are also numerous non-substantive proposed amendments that improve the clarity of the rules by consistent usage of the word “program(s)” to reference CLE activities.

H) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1600, Regulations Governing the Administration of the Continuing Legal Education Program

Rule .1601 General Requirements for Course Approval

Rule .1602 Course Content Requirements

Rule .1603 Registered Sponsors

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

Rule .1605 Computation of Credit

Rule .1606 Fees

The proposed amendments eliminate the annual 6.0 hour cap on online CLE credit hours and improve the clarity of the rules by consistent usage of the word “program(s)” to reference CLE activities.

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

Rule 1.5 Fees

The proposed amendments to Rule 1.5 expand the information a lawyer must communicate to a client before the lawyer may initiate legal proceedings to collect a disputed fee.

J) 27 N.C.A.C. 1C, Section .0200, Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students

Rule .0201 Purpose

Rule .0202 Definitions

Rule .0203 Eligibility

Rule .0204 Certification as Legal Intern

Rule .0205 Supervision

Rule .0208 Field Placements [new rule]

Rule .0209 Relationship of Law School and Clinics; Responsibility Upon Departure of Supervising Attorney or Closure of Clinic [new rule]

Rule .0210 Pro Bono Activities [new rule]

The proposed rule amendments were recommended by the Special Committee to Study the Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students, an ad hoc committee of the council. The proposed rule amendments will facilitate compliance by the law schools with the ABA accreditation standards for law schools by supporting the development and expansion of supervised practical training of law students through clinics, field placements, and pro bono activities. The proposed rule amendments also ensure that experiential education programs at the state’s law schools satisfy the requirements for legal practice by law students set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-7.1.

K) 27 N.C.A.C. 1D, Section .1500, Rules Governing the Administration of the Continuing Legal Education Program

Rule .1518 Continuing Legal Education Program

The proposed rule amendment eliminates the requirement that attendees of the Professionalism for New Admittees program must complete a course evaluation to receive CLE credit.

Filed Under: General News

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