Join Me on an Odyssey to E-Filing, Won’t You?

By Matthew A. Freeze

North Carolina’s Superior and District courts are undergoing an operational sea change: electronic filing. For those of us who practice before federal courts and state appellate courts, electronic filing will be nothing new. Federal courts have used PACER since 1988[1] and North Carolina’s appellate courts have used electronic filing since 1998.[2] But for many of our colleagues, the Administrative Office of the Courts’ new journey into electronic filing will be a great departure from our standard practice at the state level and we, as practitioners, have a great deal to learn. To borrow from Homer, even an attorney learns something once it hits him.[3] But this is not something which we must be hit about the head with to accept. It is something we should embrace, as it will strengthen our practice and benefit all involved.

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The NCBA Professional Vitality Committee creates sourced articles centered on reducing inherent stress and enhancing vitality in the lives of legal professionals and offers those resources as a benefit for members of the North Carolina Bar Association.

By Michele Morris

In the morning, immediately upon waking, my mind screaming at me: “Get up. Get out of bed. You can do it. You can do this. Get up.” Not exactly high motivation. But I would indeed get up and sit in front of my computer, alone, in my apartment, drinking my first cup of coffee. I still had a small number of paying clients and an appellate brief due date looming. Even though writing it felt like pushing a rock up Mount Everest, I wrote.

It was the fall of 2019. I had relocated from Ohio to North Carolina in 2017 thinking that I could find work and seamlessly transition from a solo practice in Northeast Ohio to W-2 employment in Western North Carolina. After all, I am a seasoned litigator. My skills are easily transferrable, right? Um, maybe not. My income plummeted. I felt frightened and alone. Little did I know then that there was a much greater challenge lurking right around the corner: COVID-19.

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A Note To My Younger Self

The NCBA Professional Vitality Committee creates sourced articles centered on reducing inherent stress and enhancing vitality in the lives of legal professionals and offers those resources as a benefit for members of the North Carolina Bar Association.

By Coleman Cowan

Life is a journey. We all learn from our experiences. And if we’re paying attention, we become better people and lawyers not only from our successes but also from our failures. When I first started practicing, I made an effort to soak up as much knowledge and insight as I could from older, more experienced lawyers. Now that I’m one of them, I’ve taken on mentoring roles to help young lawyers just beginning to practice. If I’m honest, more time has passed than I would like to admit, but I still remember what it was like to be young, inexperienced, and fighting for my place at the table.

What appears below is a note to my younger self, with a bit of knowledge and experience I gained since I started practicing law more than 25 years ago. The idea was to help young lawyers – and maybe some not so young – learn from the experience of others, and perhaps come to terms a bit with the stress and pressure of being a new lawyer finding your way in an adversarial profession, whether in a transactional or a litigation practice.

A complete list of guidance would be endless, and there are likely as many good pieces of advice as there are practicing lawyers in the state. What appears below is in part unique to my experience, but also broad enough that others might benefit.

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2021 Legal Legends of Color Award Honorees


By Gwendolyn W. Lewis

Impact breeds more impact. For six years now, the Legal Legends of Color Awards have highlighted the lives and careers of some of the most impactful attorneys of color in our state. Their contributions, lives, careers, and stories have impacted not only the clients and communities they have served or still serve, but also the attorneys who have followed in their footsteps. Many of those attorneys have now become legends themselves. The impact of a Legend is endless, and this year, with record registration numbers totaling two hundred and fifty-one, we were honored to elevate through video and virtual presentations the stories of a new class of legends. At the 123rd North Carolina Bar Association Annual Meeting and the sixth annual Legal Legends of Color Awards Celebration, we welcomed the following honorees into a distinguished and growing list of Legal Legends of Color:

  • Professor James E. Coleman Jr.
  • Judge Wanda Bryant
  • Attorney Karen Bethea-Shields
  • Attorney Julian Pierce (posthumously)
  • Judge Elreta Melton Alexander (posthumously)

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Network Segmentation – Perhaps the Only Piece of Good News From the Colonial Pipeline Hack

By Eva Lorenz


Now that the situation at the pump seems to have recovered and returned to normal, it is time to figure out what actually happened in the Colonial pipeline attack and what lessons, if any, we can learn from yet another high profile cyberattack involving ransomware.

First, a few introductory words and some background on ransomware: ransomware is a common form of cyberattack in our time, and it involves attackers deploying code onto the victim’s network that results in encrypting files and folders throughout the network. According to the FBI, the best way to contain the attack is to block the code from moving across the network. For recovery from the attack, companies often rely on sound backup practices that allow them to restore encrypted files and folders without losing too much data. Of course, victims of ransomware attacks can also pay ransom, but that practice is still discouraged by the FBI and in some cases actually forbidden since the groups behind the attack are deemed sanctioned foreign entities.

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And the Winner is . . .


By Joshua McIntyre

I’ve been to six North Carolina Bar Association Annual Meetings, and we’ve had some amazing activities that attracted a lot of members. There have been historic riverboat tours along the Cape Fear, tubing expeditions down the French Broad, Land Rover cruises at Biltmore and private showcases of the Hendrick Motorsports Museum. But in the end, there is one activity that always brings the most excitement along with a flood of participants every time – the door prizes!

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May is NCBA Member Appreciation Month!


By Alejandra Villegas

This year, we will continue with the tradition of celebrating our members during the month of May! We have scheduled free events and workshops during the entire month to thank you for being a member. The events will include Wellness Wednesdays, Winning Wednesdays, and Free Fridays.

On Wellness Wednesdays, you will have the chance to learn from a yoga expert all the way from Montenegro who specializes in stress management, mindfulness, and habit change. This will not be your typical yoga class. Anita Steele will teach you how to work on the five layers of your well-being. With her guidance, you will learn techniques that will help you to refresh, recharge and tap into an ideal state of mental well-being.

On Winning Wednesdays, you will be eligible to win a gift basket filled with your favorite North Carolina products. To enter, retweet or share an NCBA social media post that week. One member will be selected and announced on Wednesday, May 12, and an additional winner will be selected on Wednesday, May 26. Be sure to follow us  on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to share your posts.

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The NCBA YLD Announces the Winners of the 2021 Writing Competition


Claire O’Brien

Christina Cress

By Claire O’Brien and Christina Cress

The NCBA YLD is thrilled to announce the winners of our 2021 Writing Competition:

• Cara Ludwig, “Letter to Adelaide.”

• Lashieka Hardin, “Blurred Lines.”

• Alex Hardee, “The Last Resort.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has clarified many significant issues that impact each of us not only as legal professionals, but as members of a global community. These authors gave voice to unique perspectives within that community. Their pieces address the challenges of pandemic parenthood, cry out for social justice, and offer a dream of a future with greater environmental stewardship. We hope these pieces prompt you to reflect on our shared experience of living during this unusual time.

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SolarWinds – What Do We Know and What Can We Learn From It?

By Eva Lorenz and Taylor Ey

SolarWinds made a name for itself as the developer of tools for network monitoring that help small and large companies efficiently run their environment. While not a security-focused company from a product standpoint, the understanding was that the code behind SolarWinds’ tools was protected as intellectual property and that updates were safe to run until it turned out that both of these assumptions were wrong.

How Was the Compromise Detected?

In late 2020, FireEye, a company focused on cybersecurity and internationally involved in helping companies post cyber incident, detected some unusual activity on the FireEye network. FireEye detected it was hacked after the attackers tried to register a device to FireEye’s multi-factor authentication system using stolen credentials. The system then notified the employee, whose credentials were stolen, and alerted the FireEye security team of this new device. This notice triggered an internal investigation to learn who was trying to register this device. FireEye performed in-depth code analysis and determined that the intrusion originated with a SolarWinds product called Orion. Some analysts believe that attacking FireEye was a mistake by the attackers since it sped up detection of the SolarWinds hack.
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Limited Licensing Proposal – Watch the Presentation to the State Bar on March 23, 2021


Neither the North Carolina Bar Association nor the NCBA Paralegal Division has taken an official position on this issue.

On Jan. 22, 2021, the North Carolina Justice for All Project (NCJ4AP) team submitted a proposal to the North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Supreme Court seeking changes to N.C.G.S. § 84 (Unauthorized Practice of Law) to allow unlicensed law school graduates and qualified paralegals to provide limited legal services to low- and moderate-income North Carolinians. The proposal contemplates completion of certain requirements (e.g., examination, certification, education, experience) prior to licensing.

The documents submitted include the following:

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