From Anna Hamrick: I am very honored and excited to begin my work as your State Bar Councilor. Below, I would like to give you some background on the State Bar Council and my role as your representative.
In 1933 the General Assembly created the North Carolina State Bar. It is the governing agency charged with regulating the professional conduct of licensed lawyers and State Bar certified paralegals. A main goal of its regulation is to protect both the public and our system of justice by ensuring only competent persons engage in the practice of law. The daily operations of the State Bar are carried out by a staff of 86 lawyers and non-lawyers, led by executive director Tom Lunsford. The North Carolina State Bar Council is the governing body for the North Carolina State Bar. The Bar Council is comprised of 61 attorneys who are elected as councilors from each’s judicial district; three laypersons who are public members appointed by the Governor; and four elected officers.
The State Bar’s regulatory activities also include supporting and promoting the abilities of lawyers and paralegals; ratifying the code of ethics for lawyers; assisting attorneys on following the code of ethics; fee dispute resolution; preventing unlicensed legal practice; and compensating victims of lawyer theft. The State Bar currently regulates approximately 20,000 lawyers.
My term as Bar Councilor for the 28th Judicial District began January 1, 2016. A term is three years in length, and a councilor may serve up the three successive terms, subject to re-election by the judicial district.
The current State Bar president is Western North Carolinian, Margaret Hunt, of Brevard. The Bar Council meets quarterly, and accomplishes much of its work through committees. The main standing committees are Ethics, Grievance, Authorized Practice, Finance and Audit, Administrative, Issues and Executive. I am currently assigned to the Grievance Committee and the Administrative committee.
The Administrative Committee is responsible for tasks such as reviewing petitions for membership status transfers (e.g. active to inactive; suspended to active); providing oversight for the collection of dues and the Client Security Fund assessment; reviewing suspensions for CLE noncompliance; reviewing requests for waivers of fees; and providing oversight of the judicial bars.
The Grievance Committee is comprised of three subcommittees. I am assigned to Subcommittee One. The State Bar’s legal department, known as the Office of Counsel, serves as counsel to the Grievance Committee. The committee acts upon alleged violations of the NCSB Rules of Professional Conduct. Each committee reviews reports and supporting documents of the State Bar Counsel, and then recommends appropriate resolutions to the full Grievance Committee. The full committee then votes on the recommendations.
Also among the Council’s standing committees are six boards which administer different programs. These are the IOLTA Board of Trustees, the Client Security Fund Board, the Board of Legal Specialization, the Board of Continuing Legal Education, the Paralegal Certification Board, and the Lawyers Assistance Program Board. The Council also appoints the members of two other agencies which exist independent of the Council; the Board of Law Examiners which regulates admission to the Bar, and the Disciplinary Hearing Commission, which hears disciplinary cases.
The State Bar headquarters are in downtown Raleigh, and I know you would be welcome to come by anytime for a tour of the new facilities. The staff there is very eager to help and be of service to its members. As your State Bar Councilor, I want to be available to you to receive any comments or concerns you may have regarding the Bar and its activities. My cell is (828) 707-4249, my work number is 253-0336, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please get in touch anytime!