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Friday, September 2, 2022

Appointments

The State Bar Council made the following appointments:

Board of Legal Specialization (3-year terms) – The council reappointed Matthew J. Ladenheim (specialist) to a three-year term. The councilor appointed Julie Beavers (public member) and John Bircher (specialist) to three-year terms. The council appointed current vice-chair, Jan E. Pritchett, as chair of the board, and Matthew J. Ladenheim as vice-chair, both for one-year terms.

IOLTA (3-year terms) – The council appointed Alexander C. Dale to a three-year term. The council reappointed Shelby D. Benton and Heather W. Culp to three-year terms. The council appointed current vice-chair, Shelby D. Benton, as chair of the board, and appointed Heather W. Culp as vice-chair, both for one-year terms.

General Statutes Commission (2-year terms) – State Bar President Darrin Jordan appointed Joseph J. Kalo IV to a two-year term.

North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission (3-year terms) – State Bar President Darrin Jordan appointed Alice C. Stubbs to a three-year term.

Recommendations for Appointments Sought

Anyone interested in being appointed to serve on any of the State Bar’s boards, commissions, or committees may email lheidbrink@ncbar.gov to express that interest, being sure to attach a current resume. Submissions by September 30, 2022, will be included in agenda materials for the October meeting of the council. The council will make the following appointments at its October 2022 meeting:

Board of Continuing Legal Education (three appointments; three-year terms)—There are three appointments to be made. Rebecca Eggers-Gryder, Elizabeth Keever, and Marissa S. Campbell are not eligible for reappointment.

The Board of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) is a nine-member board composed of North Carolina licensed attorneys. The board establishes policy related to the execution of CLE program’s mission and is responsible for oversight of the operation of the program. The board meets four times a year.

Board of Law Examiners (five appointments; three-year terms)—There are five appointments to be made. Shelly Blake Curran, Judge Sherri W. Elliot, Michael J. Greene, and D. Clark Smith are all eligible for reappointment. Kimberly A. Herrick is not eligible for reappointment.

The board examines applicants and establishes rules and regulations for admission to the North Carolina State Bar. The board’s objective is to ensure that all persons seeking admission to practice law in North Carolina possess the requisite competency and qualifications of character and fitness. Board members review bar examination questions, conduct character and fitness and comity hearings, supervise the bar examinations, and grade the examinations. A board member donates an average of 35-45 days to service each year.

Board of Paralegal Certification (three appointments; three-year terms)—There are three appointments to be made. Warren Hodges (lawyer member), Bryan C. Scott (lawyer member), and Yolanda Smith (paralegal member) are not eligible for reappointment. The rules governing the Board of Paralegal Certification require a paralegal member who is appointed for an initial term to be selected by the council from two nominees determined by a vote of all active certified paralegals in an election conducted by the board.

The Board of Paralegal Certification is a nine-member board composed of five North Carolina licensed attorneys (one of whom must be a paralegal educator) and four North Carolina certified paralegals. The board establishes policy related to the execution of the paralegal certification program and is responsible for the oversight of the operation of the program. The paralegal certification program assists in the delivery of competent representation to the public by identifying individuals who are qualified by education and training and have demonstrated knowledge, skill, and proficiency to perform substantive legal work under the direction and supervision of a licensed lawyer. The board meets approximately four times a year.

Client Security Fund Board of Trustees (one appointment; five-year terms)—There is one appointment to be made. John M. Burns (public member) is not eligible for reappointment.

The Client Security Fund was established by the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1984 to reimburse clients who have suffered financial loss as the result of dishonest conduct of lawyers engaged in the private practice of law in North Carolina. The fund is administered by a board of trustees composed of four North Carolina lawyers and one public member. The board meets approximately four times a year.

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 third quarter of 2022 are District 30, composed of Union County, and District 35, composed of Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey Counties.

Ethics Committee

At its meeting on July 22, 2022, the State Bar Council adopted two ethics opinions: 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 2, Limited Representation in a Criminal Matter Opinion, and 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 3, Inclusion on Allied Professional’s List of Recommended Lawyers. In addition to adopting these opinions, 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 1.19 addressing prohibited sexual conduct with a client that were published during the last quarter. The council also approved the publication for comment of proposed amendments to Rule 1.15 including the addition of definitions for ledgers used to maintain a lawyer’s trust account. The full text of the proposed amendments can be found in the Fall 2022 Journal and on the State Bar’s website.

At its meeting on July 21, 2022, the Ethics Committee considered two inquiries that were sent to a subcommittee for further study, including the recently published Proposed 2022 FEO 4, Billing Considerations for Overlapping Legal Services, and a new inquiry addressing a lawyer’s professional responsibility when selling a law practice and handling aged client files. The committee also approved the publication of Proposed 2022 Formal Ethics Opinion 5, Client Paying Public Adjuster/Witness a Contingency Fee. The proposed opinion is published in the Fall 2022 Journal and on the State Bar’s website.

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

Grievance Committee

During the second quarter, the Grievance Committee considered 217 files. The committee dismissed 155 files. One file was continued. Seven lawyers were referred to the Trust Accounting Compliance Program, three lawyers received reciprocal discipline, nine lawyers received letters of caution, 13 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 PENDING APPROVAL BY THE SUPREME COURT 

At its meeting on July 22, 2022, the North Carolina State Bar Council voted to adopt the following rule amendments for transmission to the North Carolina Supreme Court for its approval.

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.                  

PROPOSED RULE AMENDMENTS FOR PUBLICATION

Also at its July meeting, the council voted to publish for comment the following proposed rule amendments (click here to read the propsed amendments):

Proposed Amendments to the Discipline and Disability Rules

27 N.C.A.C. 1B, Section .0100, Discipline and Disability Rules

  • Rule .0113, Proceedings Before the Grievance Committee
  • Rule .0119, Effect of a Finding of Guilt in any Criminal Case

The proposed amendments to Rule .0113 establish the procedures for a review of public discipline issued to a respondent by the Grievance Committee. The proposed amendments to Rule .0119 specify what the State Bar must do when a criminal conviction relevant to a disciplinary matter has been expunged, overturned, or otherwise eliminated.

Proposed Amendments to the Rules for Administrative Reinstatement

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

  • Rule .0902, Reinstatement from Inactive Status

The proposed amendments permit a member of the federal judiciary who is an inactive member of the State Bar to use each year (or portion thereof) of service on the federal judiciary to offset each year of inactive status for the purpose of determining whether the judicial official must sit for and pass the bar exam to be reinstated to active status.

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. After initial publication during the second quarter, the Board of Continuing Education made additional changes to the proposed amendments and requested republication.

Proposed Amendments to the Trust Accounting Rule

27 N.C.A.C. 2, The Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.15, Safekeeping Property

  • Rule 1.15-1, Definitions
  • Rule 1.15-2, General Rules
  • Rule 1.15-3, Records and Accountings

The proposed amendments add definitions for four different types of ledgers to Rule 1.15-1 and re-order the subparagraphs in Rules 1.15-2 and 1.15-3 to make the progression of requirements more logical.

Proposed Technical Correction to Rule of Professional Conduct 4.1

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

  • Rule 4.1, Truthfulness in Statements to Others

A technical correction to Rule 4.1, Comment [2], will replace a reference to “tortuous misrepresentations” with “tortious misrepresentations. 

Filed Under: General News

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