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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Appointments

The council made the following appointments:

Disciplinary Hearing Commission – The council reappointed James A. Davis, Margit M. Hicks, Margaret M. Hunt, and Jaye Meyer to three-year terms. Christon Halkiotis was appointed to a three-year term. Stephanie Davis was appointed to a three-year term as chair and Shannon R. Joseph was appointed to a three-year term as vice-chair.

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, or Lanice Heidbrink at lheidbrink@ncbar.gov, and express that interest, being sure to attach a current resume. Please submit before July 5, 2022. The council will make the following appointments at its July meeting: 

BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION (three-year terms)  – There are three appointments to be made. Everett Vic Knight (public member) and Kimberly R. Coward are not eligible for reappointment. Matthew J. Ladenheim is eligible for reappointment.

Description- The Board of Legal Specialization is a nine-member board comprised of six lawyers (at least one of whom cannot be a board-certified specialist) and three public members. The board establishes policy relative to the execution of the specialization program’s mission and is responsible for oversight of the operation of the program subject to the statutes governing the practice of law, the authority of the Council, and the rules of the board. The specialization board meets four times a year.

The specialization program assists in the delivery of legal services to the public by identifying to the public those lawyers who have demonstrated special knowledge, skill, and proficiency in a specific field and seeks to improve the competency of members of the bar by establishing an additional incentive for lawyers to participate in continuing legal education and to meet the other requirements of specialization

GENERAL STATUTES COMMISSION (Unlimited terms) – There is one appointment to be made by the State Bar president. Starkey Sharp is eligible for reappointment.

Description- The General Statutes Commission consists of 13 members appointed by various persons and entities. See N.C. Gen. Stat. 164-13. One of the appointments is made by the president of the North Carolina State Bar. The duties of the commission are set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. 164-13 and include advising and cooperating with the Legislative Services Office in the work of continuous statute research and correction for which the Legislative Services Office is made responsible by G.S. 120-36.21(2).

NORTH CAROLINA DISPUTES RESOLUTION (three-year terms) – There is one appointment to be made. Barbara Morgenstern is eligible for reappointment.

Description – The North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission is an 18-member body established by N.C. Gen. Stat. §7A-38.2. Appointments to the Commission are made by all branches of government. The President of the North Carolina State Bar makes two appointments. 

The commission certifies and regulates private mediators who serve the courts of this state. The commission also recommends policy, rules, and rule revisions relating to dispute resolution in North Carolina's courts; provides support to court-based mediation programs; certifies mediation training programs; serves as a clearinghouse for information about court-based mediation programs; and assists other state agencies interested in or providing dispute resolution services to their constituencies. 

IOLTA BOARD OF TRUSTEES (three-year terms) – There are three appointments to be made. Shelby D. Benton and Heather W. Culp are both eligible for reappointment. Maria Missé is not eligible for reappointment.

Description – The IOLTA Board of Trustees is a nine-member board comprised of at least six North Carolina lawyers. The board establishes policy relative to the execution of IOLTA’s mission and is responsible for oversight of the operation of the program subject to the statutes governing the practice of law, the authority of the council, and the rules of the board. The IOLTA Board usually meets three times per year (April, September, and December) with other meetings scheduled as needed. 

NC IOLTA is a non-profit program created by the NC State Bar that works with lawyers and banks across the state to collect net interest income generated from lawyers’ general, pooled trust accounts for the purpose of funding grants to providers of civil legal services for the indigent and programs that further the administration of justice.

Random Audits

Lawyers selected for audit each quarter 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 second quarter of 2022 are District 8, composed of Edgecombe, Nash, and Wilson Counties, and District 28, composed of Montgomery and Stanly Counties.    

Ethics Committee

At its meeting on April 22, 2022, the State Bar Council adopted one ethics opinion: 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 1, Attorney Serving Dual Role of Guardian ad Litem and Advocate. The opinion can be found on the State Bar’s website. In addition to adopting this opinion, upon favorable votes from both the Ethics Committee and the Executive Committee, the council adopted and approved for transmission to the Supreme Court proposed amendments to Rule 1.6 and Rule 1.9 on a lawyer’s professional responsibilities relative to confidential client information. These proposed rule amendments were published during the first quarter. The council also published proposed amendments to Rule 1.19 addressing prohibited sexual conduct with a client. The full text of the proposed amendments can be found in the latest edition of the Journal and on the State Bar’s website.

At its meeting on April 21, 2022, in addition to a report from the subcommittee studying amendments to Rule 1.19 referenced above, the Ethics Committee received a report from the subcommittee studying the potential adoption of anti-discrimination language in the text of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Citing the pending federal litigation challenging various antidiscrimination provisions in other states’ Rules of Professional Conduct, the subcommittee voted to pause its deliberations on the subject until the courts offer additional guidance on the constitutionality of such rules. Additionally, the Ethics Committee considered a total of seven ethics inquiries, including the opinion adopted by the council referenced above. One new inquiry concerning a lawyer’s ability to call a client-retained public adjuster as an expert witness was sent to subcommittee for further study. The committee withdrew one pending inquiry – Proposed 2021 FEO 5, Lawyer Participation in “Google Screened” Pay-Per-Lead Advertising Program – and instead issued guidance on the issue via the ethics article published in the latest edition of the Journal. The committee also approved the publication of three new proposed opinions: Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 2, Limited Representation in a Criminal Matter; Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 3, Inclusion on Allied Professional’s List of Recommended Lawyers; and Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 4, Billing Considerations for Overlapping Legal Services. The proposed opinions are published in the latest edition of the Journal and on the State Bar’s website.

The Ethics Committee welcomes comments on the proposed formal ethics opinions.  Comments may be submitted by email to ethicscomments@ncbar.gov.

Grievance Committee

During the quarter, the Grievance Committee considered 154 files. The committee dismissed 115 files. Four files were continued. One lawyer was referred to the Lawyer Assistance Program; three lawyers were referred to the Trust Accounting Compliance Program; 12 lawyers received letters of warning; four lawyers received admonitions; four lawyers received reprimands; one lawyers received a censure; and nine lawyers were referred to the Disciplinary Hearing Commission for trial.

 

Rule Amendments

AMENDMENTS PENDING APPROVAL BY THE SUPREME COURT

At its meeting on April 22, 2022, the Council of the North Carolina State Bar voted to adopt the following rule amendments for transmission to the North Carolina Supreme Court for its approval. (For the complete text of the rule amendments, see the Winter 2022 and Spring 2022 editions of the Journal or visit the State Bar website: www.ncbar.gov.)

 

Proposed Amendment to Rulemaking Procedures

27 N.C.A.C.1A, Section .1400, Rulemaking Procedures

Rule .1403, Action by the Council and Review by the North Carolina Supreme Court

The proposed amendment increases the timeframe within which a rule or rule amendment adopted by the Council must be transmitted to the Supreme Court for its review.

Proposed Amendments to the Rule on Petitions for Inactive Status

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

Rule .0901, Transfer to Inactive Status

The proposed amendment gives the secretary of the State Bar the discretion to transfer an active member of the State Bar to inactive status upon the receipt of a completed petition for transfer.  

Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

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

Rule 1.6, Confidentiality of Information

Rule 1.9, Duties to Former Clients                                                                      

A proposed amendment to Rule 1.6 adds a sentence to the comment that clarifies that information acquired during a professional relationship does not encompass information acquired through legal research. The proposed amendments to Rule 1.9 clarify when a lawyer who has formerly represented a client may use or reveal information relating to the former representation.

Proposed Amendments to the Board of Law Examiners’ Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law

Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law in the State of North Carolina Section .0500 – Requirements for Applicants 

Rule .0501, Requirements for General Applicants

Rule .0504, Requirements for Transfer Applicants

The proposed amendments eliminate the North Carolina state-specific exam component for general applicants and for Uniform Bar Examination transfer applicants.  

Proposed Amendments Published for Comment

Also at its April meeting, the council voted to publish for comment the following proposed rule amendments: 

Proposed Amendments to the Rules Governing the Continuing Legal Education Program

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

  • Rules .1501 to .1527

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

  • Rules .1601 to .1606

The proposed amendments reimagine the procedures and processes, including fees, for regulating compliance with mandatory CLE.

Proposed Amendments to the Rules Governing the Paralegal Certification Program

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

  • Rule .0105, Appointment of Members; When; Removal
  • Rule .0108, Succession
  • Rule .0109, Appointment of Chairperson

The proposed amendments revise administrative requirements for the Board of Paralegal Certification and permit a member of the board who is a certified paralegal to serve as chair. 

Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct

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

  • Rule 1.19, Sexual Relations with Clients Prohibited

The proposed amendments specify that the prohibitions in the rule apply to sexual conduct including sexually explicit communications with a client or others involved in a legal matter.

Other Actions

Upon the recommendation of the Issues Committee and the Executive Committee, the council adopted a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement to be published on the State Bar’s website in the “About Us” section and in the Lawyer’s Handbook, the Journal, and on social media. The council also approved other DEI initiatives including analyzing the State Bar’s policies, procedures, and practices to assess DEI enhancement opportunities; seeking demographic information from State Bar members during the annual registration/dues cycle; and ensuring all persons, including English-language learners, have access to the State Bar’s public protection programs.

Filed Under: General News

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