Update from State Bar Councilor Anna Hamrick

Dear Friends and Colleagues of the 28th Judicial District Bar –

I hope you are well.  The State Bar Council held the quarterly meeting last week in Raleigh, and I wanted to give you some highlights.  You will receive the more extensive report directly from the Bar in the near future.

In the Executive Committee:

  1. The big news is that Alice Mine has named Peter Bolac and Brian Oten to assume new executive positions.  Alice will take over as the executive director of the Bar upon Tom Lunsford’s retirement.  Brian will take over many of Alice’s committees, boards and commissions effective July.  Effective October 1, Peter will become Assistant Director with new management responsibilities added to his communications and legislative efforts.  I think these are both great new roles for Brian and Peter, and the Bar will be well served by them.
  2. The Communications Committee is gearing up through our subcommittees.  Specific measures are still in the works, but the goal is to increase technological advances and engagement.
  3. The Bar is pleased to promote the Supreme Court’s visit to Asheville, and the free CLE on the afternoon of May 16.

Our Ethics Committee continues to grapple with the impact of technology on the delivery of legal services.  Regulation of the Internet is a daunting task, and the Committee continues to consider the ways it can most effectively protect the public and the profession.

Issues Committee highlights include:

(1) review of Rule 5.6 (which prohibits placing limitations on the right of lawyers to practice law either in an employment contract or as part of a settlement). The consensus was that we should not do a study of that rule, that it seems to be working well.

(2) there is some exploration of a Supreme Court Museum.

The Grievance workload continues to be steady.  Two notable items are:

  1. The State Bar continues to see scams and attempted scams of wired funds by attorneys, especially in the real estate practice.  This issue has been ongoing for several years now, and discipline for attorneys who fall into the trap can be significant.
  2. President John Silverstein created an ad hoc Disciplinary Review Committee to scrutinize the process the State Bar uses to investigate and adjudicate grievance cases.  President Silverstein expects the committee to complete its work by October and to bring any recommendations for changes or improvements to the full Council at that time.

I would like to mention that if any of you have someone you may want to nominate for the Distinguish Service Award, we would love to hear from you. Suzanne Lever from the Bar has an article coming out in the next issue of the State Bar Journal detailing this award.

Just an FYI – at each quarterly meeting the State Bar publishes a list of lawyers who may have accidentally overlooked paying their State Bar dues, their local bar dues, returning their CLE form, completing their CLE hours, or paying CLE their fees. The list is distributed to the Bar councilors, and we each call the lawyers in our district to give a gentle reminder that something may be outstanding.  The goal is to get these items taken care of to avoid the Bar does having to issue a show cause or suspension.  Our Bar generally has 5-10 people I have the honor of calling.  Even though I know I may call you with annoying news, I really enjoy the opportunity to speak to those I call.  The feeling is probably not mutual.  Just one reminder – please be sure the Bar has your current contact info, as there have been persons on the list with outdated contact info, and even when I Google, I sometimes come up with nothing.  That can lead to a suspension, which the lawyer may never find out about (due to aforementioned lack of contact info) and a cascade of time-consuming bureaucratic tasks for the lawyer.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  My direct line at work is 575-1344, and my cell is 707-4249.  Thank you, and take care!

Anna Hamrick
State Bar Councilor & Attorney