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Wednesday, February 14, 2024


The following new councilors were recognized and welcomed:

  • Judge Jeffrey B. Foster (District 3)
  • Evin Grant (District 10)
  • Bobby Khan (District 28)
  • Matthew Rothbeind (District 29)
  • Judge Wayne L. Michael (District 33)


The council approved the following financial records and documents:

  • 2023 Year-End Financial Statements
  • 2024 State Bar Budget
  • 2024 Continuing Legal Education Budget
  • 2024 IOLTA Budget
  • 2024 Lawyer Assistance Program Budget
  • 2024 Legal Specialization Program Budget
  • 2023 Paralegal Certification Program Budget


The council made the following appointments:

Lawyer Assistance Program Board (three-year terms) – Shelli Buckner (LAP volunteer member) and Timothy Carroll (clinician member) were appointed to second three-year terms. Eben T. Rawls (councilor member) was not eligible for reappointment. Craig Lynch (councilor member) was appointed to a three-year term. Warren T. Savage IV, was appointed to a one-year term as chair of the board and Crawford Cleveland was appointed to a one-year term as vice-chair of the board.

NC State Bar Foundation Board (four-year terms) – Anthony diSanti and James K. Dorsett were not eligible for reappointment. Past presidents Ronald Baker and Margaret Hunt were appointed to four-year terms.

NC LEAF Board (one-year terms) – William R. Purcell and James R. Grant were reappointed to one-year terms.

Board of Law Examiners – Pursuant to the request of the Board of Law Examiners, D. Clark Smith Jr., was designated as an emeritus member of the board.


Anyone interested in being appointed to serve on a State Bar board, commission, or committee should email Lanice Heidbrink by April 8, 2024, to express that interest (being sure to attach a current resume). The council will make the following appointments at its meeting in April:

Disciplinary Hearing Commission (three-year terms) – There are three appointments to be made. Maya Engle and Shannon Joseph are not eligible for reappointment. William Oden is eligible for reappointment.


Pursuant to a change in the policy of the State Bar Council which was approved at its October 2023 annual meeting, lawyers are now randomly selected for procedural audits from a list of all active members of the North Carolina State Bar who practice in North Carolina. Audits for the first quarter of 2024 will be conducted in Durham, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange, and Wake Counties.


At its meeting on January 19, 2024, the State Bar Council adopted 2023 Formal Ethics Opinion 4, Use of a Lawyer’s Trade Name for Keyword Advertisements in an Internet Search Engine. The proposed opinion rules that the intentional selection of another lawyer’s unique firm trade name in a keyword advertisement campaign is prohibited, but that prohibition does not apply when the trade name is also a common search term.

Ethics Committee Actions

At its meeting on January 18, 2024, the Ethics Committee considered five inquiries. Four inquiries were sent or returned to subcommittee for further study, including an inquiry addressing a lawyer’s ability to obligate a client’s estate to pay the lawyer for defending the lawyer’s work in drafting and executing the client’s will, and an inquiry exploring a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality upon inheriting confidential client information. The committee also returned Proposed 2023 Formal Ethics Opinion 3, Installation of Third Party’s Self-Service Kiosk in Lawyer’s Office and Inclusion of Lawyer in Third Party’s Advertising Efforts, to subcommittee to consider comments received after publication last quarter. One new proposed formal ethics opinion—Proposed 2024 Formal Ethics Opinion 1, Use of Artificial Intelligence in a Law Practice—was published this quarter. Comments on the proposed opinions may be sent to


During the quarter, the Grievance Committee considered 466 files. The committee dismissed 435 files. Five files were dismissed and retained. One file was continued. Five lawyers were referred to the Trust Accounting Compliance Program; one lawyer was referred to the Lawyer Assistance Program; three lawyers received letters of caution; four lawyers received letters of warning; one lawyer received an admonition; five lawyers received reprimands; one lawyer received a censure; and three lawyers were referred to the Disciplinary Hearing Commission for trial.


Amendments Pending Supreme Court Approval

At its meeting on January 19, 2024, the council adopted, subject to the Supreme Court’s approval, the amendments described below. The rule amendments were published for comment after the October 2023 Annual Meeting. No adverse comments were received.

Amendments to the Rules Governing the Authorized Practice Committee

27 N.C.A.C. 01D, Section .0200, Procedures for the Authorized Practice Committee

  • Rule .0201, General Provisions
  • Rule .0202, Procedure
  • Rule .0203, Definitions
  • Rule .0204, State Bar Council - Powers and Duties
    • Rule .0205, Chairperson of the Authorized Practice Committee - Powers and Duties
    • Rule .0206, Authorized Practice Committee - Powers and Duties
    • Rule .0207, Counsel - Powers and Duties
    • Rule .0208, Suing for Injunctive Relief

The amendments clarify the rules governing the Authorized Practice Committee and ensure that the rules reflect the current procedures of the committee.

Amendments to the Procedures for Fee Dispute Resolution

27 N.C.A.C. 01D, Procedures for Fee Dispute Resolution

  • Rule .0708, Settlement Conference Procedure

The amendments permit multiple methods for service of process of a letter of notice on a fee dispute respondent.

Proposed Amendments Published for Comment

There were no proposed rule amendments for publication this quarter.

Filed Under: General News

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