Important Tips for Conducting a Remote Deposition During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Huseby Inc. Litigation Services

Note from the Paralegal Division Technology Committee: Remote depositions have become increasingly common during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many paralegals and attorneys are still trying to find their way through this new remote frontier. As Chair of the Technology Committee, I recently reached out to Huseby Inc. to get their take on best practices for taking a remote deposition. Huseby Inc. is a global leader in court reporting, trial support services, interactive real-time technology and mobile litigation support services.

Huseby responded to our inquiry with best practices for acknowledging remote technology, exhibit presentation, witness coaching, and external communication. This is information you will definitely want to share with your attorney before your next deposition! – Technology Committee
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Rediscovering the Power of Self-Care

By Sara Miller

“Wellness.” “Well-being.” “Mental health.” “Self-care.” With the entirely new way of life that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world, I have noticed that terms like these are being used more than ever before. This focus may be new to some, but the legal industry is no stranger to never-ending conversations regarding the health and well-being of lawyers.

Indeed, prior to the pandemic, I could not think of the term “wellness” outside of the context of my fledgling career as a young attorney. For me, “wellness” referred to the affirmative actions I could take to protect myself from the stresses and strains that can accompany being a lawyer. For example, instead of installing my work email on my phone, I opted to get a second phone provided by my firm, so that I could have a literal physical boundary between my personal life and the office. So, when the pandemic started, references to mental and physical wellness — from social media posts and employer email blasts, to commercials on TV with the message, “It’s OK to not be OK” — largely fell on my figuratively deaf ears. As a young lawyer, I sometimes feel inundated by sources from both inside and outside the legal field that tell me I must focus on wellness and mental health, or else I will face dire consequences. As a result, when the self-care messaging increased in the wake of COVID-19, I felt that I was already an expert in practicing wellness. I did not believe that this bizarre time brought on by the pandemic would be any more of a challenge to my wellness than the legal industry already poses to it.

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Webinar: Practical Tips and Considerations for Webex Hearings

By Barry Jennings

On October 22, 2020, the NCBA Workers’ Compensation Section is hosting a free webinar (not approved for CLE credit) featuring Deputy Commissioner Kevin Howell of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Deputy Commissioner Howell will be presenting “Practical Tips and Considerations for Webex Hearings.” Due to COVID-19, the majority of NCIC hearings are being held via video conference on the Webex platform. All are invited to learn from Deputy Commissioner Howell’s experiences with the platform and be better able to prepare their case and clients for hearings to come. There will be a questions and answer portion at the end of webinar. Please be sure to sign up here. We look forward to your participation and engagement!

Worried about Hackers? Take Proactive Measures by Hiring Someone to Test Your Network

By Eva Lorenz 

You may be an in-house attorney at an organization subject to specific compliance requirements or you may work at a law firm and handle sensitive client information, including information subject to laws such as the N.C. Identity Theft Protection Act. In either case, you need to show your business partners that data managed by your organization is protected. You, as an attorney in the room, can help your organization or law firm reduce the risk of a high-profile breach or ransomware attack. Read on to learn about technical approaches to address these concerns.

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OAH Updates: Response to COVID-19

In mid-September, Chief Administrative Law Judge Julian Mann issued updates regarding OAH’s response to COVID-19. The guidance provides background and updates regarding interactions with OAH staff with regard to hearings, rules, the Rules Review Commission, the Civil Rights Division, and the Human Relations Commissions. The updates may be viewed on the OAH website.

YLD e-Blast: September 2020

By Christina Cress


October 2, 2020 | Panel Discussion: “What I Wish I Had Known in Law School” | Zoom | 12:00 p.m.

October 19, 2020 | YLD Professionalism for New Attorneys Social | Zoom | 5:00 p.m.


Law Student Outreach Committee: The Law Student Outreach Committee of the Young Lawyers Division has temporarily revamped the Grab a Coffee Program (“GAC Program”) into a new virtual networking opportunity! Instead of meeting in person, attorneys and law students will meet virtually via Zoom or other software agreed upon by the attorney and student. The GAC Program is looking for volunteers who are willing to get together virtually with current law students at a time convenient to both parties. This is a great opportunity to connect with a law student and pass on valuable insight you may have about succeeding in law school, passing the bar exam, or entering the practice of law. This is a one-time only  commitment of 30 minutes of your time and could have a lasting impact on a student! If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this form (law students can sign up here). Volunteers will be notified by email with more information once they are paired with a law student.

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Adapting Our Section and Practices to the New Reality

By Rick Conner 

“There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In January, when I began to think about my plans and goals for my term as Chair of the NCBA Litigation Section, I had no idea that COVID-19 would pull the rug out from under me.

The worldwide pandemic unfortunately means that at least for this year, we can’t continue our popular networking socials, group attendance at sporting events, and in-person CLEs. The NCBA recently indicated that no in-person events may be planned for the remainder of the Bar Year (ending June 30, 2021).

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Secretary of State’s E-Closings Survey: Provide Your Feedback Today

By Brian Byrd

As Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Real Property Section, I am reaching out to you on behalf of the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State’s Electronic Mortgage Closing Advisory Committee (the “E-closing Committee”) to seek your help and participation in the below survey. The purpose and intent is to seek feedback from you on your perception of the current state of adoption of electronic mortgage closings and what you feel may be barriers to adoption.

This survey, of course, is completely voluntary, and we have been assured that it will be kept completely blind, anonymous and confidential. We have also been assured that they will not collect any contact or email information.

With COVID-19 and temporary stay at home mandates, the E-closing Committee feels that, now more than ever, people are looking for alternatives to closings that promote as limited contact as possible. But many are still hesitant to implement a solution. The E-closing Committee hopes you will share your understanding, opinions and concerns through this survey so that the E-closing Committee may better address them. Your participation and input is invaluable as the E-closing Committee is working to ensure that we have appropriate tools in place to enable loans to be closed securely and safely during this pandemic and afterwards.

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Be a Democracy Hero – An Appropriate Role for Attorneys

By Stephen J. White, Section Pro Bono Chair

“The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

          — Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America”

The proper functioning of our nation’s elections — unquestionably vital to our democracy’s health — largely depends on private citizens serving as poll workers. According to a recent article in the Raleigh News & Observer, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, North Carolina is bracing for reduced participation among citizens typically willing to serve as poll workers. With the NC State Board of Elections (“SBE”) reporting an average age of 70 years among poll workers, this demographic clearly intersects with the population most vulnerable to the health impacts of COVID-19.

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Welcome Message from the Real Property Section Chair

By Brian Byrd

I hope this message finds you well. I am honored to be the Chair of the Real Property Section for the 2020-2021 NCBA year. Joining me on this year’s Executive Committee are Vice-Chair Christina Pearsall with Schell Bray PLLC in Greensboro, Secretary-Treasurer Lindsay Thompson with The Van Winkle Law Firm in Asheville, and immediate Past Chair Brian Taylor with White & Allen P.A. in New Bern.

As a Section, we owe Brian Taylor a debt of gratitude for his steady guidance during the past year, particularly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brian coordinated the Section’s response to the unprecedented challenges to our profession wrought by the pandemic, including measures intended to facilitate the provision of legal services despite business and government office closures, social distancing and economic upheaval. With the Section’s support and in concert with advocacy by other stakeholders in the real estate industry, the Good Funds Settlement Act was temporarily amended to allow disbursements prior to recording of the deed, subject to compliance with certain conditions and requirements, when the applicable Register of Deeds is not accepting documents for recording. In addition, with the Section’s support, the General Assembly adopted legislation temporarily allowing notary acknowledgments to be completed remotely by video. I would like to acknowledge and thank Nancy Ferguson for the significant role that she played in guiding the Section’s efforts with respect to both of these measures.

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