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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Isolation

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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