GBA-Members-Picnic

GBA 2016 Annual Picnic

GBA 2016 ANNUAL PICNIC

Bring your family (kids too!) for an afternoon
of food, fun, and BASEBALL!!!

Sunday, May 22
Gametime: 4:00

NewBridge Bank Park
Natty’s Hill (next to the Grandstand)

All-You-Can-Eat Picnic Buffet from 3:30 to 5:00 as the
Greensboro Grasshoppers play the Hagerstown Suns.

When reserving, please indicate the number of adults and children,
and please specify children’s ages.

Click HERE to Register Now!

Your admission tickets to the game will be at
a special GBA Will Call table for pick-up upon your arrival,
located by the gigantic baseballs!

Greensboro Bar Association Memorial Resolution Honoring Richard C. Forman

GREENSBORO BAR ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL RESOLUTION HONORING RICHARD C. FORMAN

APRIL 28, 2016

BE IT RESOLVED by the Greensboro Bar Association at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, April 28, 2016 that:

WHEREAS, on January 7, 2016, the Greensboro Bar lost a member of the highest integrity and character with the passing of Richard C. Forman; and

WHEREAS, this Association desires to reflect upon his remarkable career in the law and service to his family and community and, therefore, the minutes shall reflect as follows:

Richard C. Forman (“Dick,” or affectionately known to his employees and partners as “Mr. Forman”) was born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 9, 1929. During his childhood the family moved south to Atlanta, Georgia, and Dick thereafter entered the University of Georgia and graduated from that University a proud “Bull Dog” with his Associate of Business degree in 1950. Dick served in the Air Force during the Korean War and thereafter graduated from Emory Law School with his Juris Doctorate. Dick was an excellent student and was inducted into the Bryan Honorary Legal Society. In 1953 Dick was admitted into the practice of law and began his career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service, serving in the Office of the Chief Counsel in Boston, MA. Dick later relocated to Greensboro, NC, and continued his work with the IRS until 1960 at which time he joined a small Greensboro general practice. In 1962 Dick started his own law firm with two other lawyers and over the next 50 plus years practiced business and tax law with his partners, associates and employees. Dick proudly boasted that in all that time he never stepped foot into a courtroom as that type of work was for lawyers that couldn’t figure out how to avoid the courtroom. Dick continued his practice until the time of his death, representing many of his clients for over 50 years. He was admitted to the North Carolina Bar and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Dick’s contributions to our community and the Bar are many and significant. He is past Chairman of the Greensboro Human Relations Committee and Past President of the Gate City Kiwanis. For decades he was a principal member of the Greensboro Junior Chamber of Commerce (“Greensboro Jaycees”). Dick served until recent years in almost all roles with the Jaycees, including President, the exclusive “Green Coat” club, and Life Member. Dick was also committed to the Greensboro Jewish community,

including but not limited to serving as President of Temple Emanuel, years of service on the Temple’s Board of Directors, and serving as a Board member of the Jewish Foundation.

Throughout his life, Dick remained active with the Greensboro Bar Association, attending meetings to his final month. He served in such positions as Secretary and Treasurer of the GBA, President of the Federal Bar Association, and President of the Estate Planning Counsel. He lectured on law at Guilford College and New York University, and had articles published by the N.C. Bar Association and Prentice Hall. He also served on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Lawyer Effectiveness and Quality of Life Committee as he loved the practice of law and recognized the difficulties and pressures that lawyers of all ages have to maintain a balanced, professional, competent and ethical practice. He supported his colleagues, partners and staff and set an example for all that worked with and for him.

As much as Dick loved the practice of law, he had an even greater degree of love and commitment to his family. In June, 2015 Dick lost the love of his life and wife of 27 years, Barbara Forman. The time was very difficult for Dick but with the love and support of his three children, Rhyan (Robert) Kime, Regan (Oded) Gross and Danny (Melissa) Forman and his step-daughter Lauren Kern, and his eight grandchildren, Brianna, Kaitlyn, Noa, Asher, Robert, Imaly, Declan and Ronan he continued to enjoy life until the very last day.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Greensboro Bar Association adopts this Memorial Resolution in remembrance of the life and work of Richard C. Forman, causing it to be placed in the official records of the Association, and to deliver a copy to his family, to be kept as a memorial to the esteem and high regard with which Richard C. Forman was and will always be held by his friends, partners and colleagues.

Adopted by acclamation the 28th day of April, 2016.

Afi S. Johnson-Parris, President

Greensboro Bar Association, Inc.

GBA-seal

Presented by T. Keith Black

Lawyers Mutual Headshots '11

The Future of Law: Are You Ready?

By Camille Stell and Ginny Allen

North Carolina attorneys are getting a glimpse of what the future holds due to recent events happening right here in our state.  Avvo is offering limited legal services to consumers online.  Legal Zoom filed a 10.5-million-dollar antitrust lawsuit against the North Carolina State Bar which was settled last year.  Part of the consent order that resulted from that lawsuit requires both parties to “mutually support and use best efforts” to pass House Bill 436.  HB436 will further define the “practice of law.”

Companies like Legal Zoom and Avvo have increased their market share through the use of technology to meet the needs of consumers in a different way.  Technology and the internet are empowering consumers with access to information and a new selection of options.  Lawyers are losing out on clients who are opting to “do it themselves.”  Technology has improved the delivery of products and services to consumers who are growing more and more accustomed to personalization and convenience.

Technology is the main driver in the changes and challenges facing lawyers and law firms today.  To address these challenges, a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests incumbent firms continue to invest in sustaining innovations (those which use technology to make the good services better in the eyes of existing customers) while also creating new divisions focused on growth opportunities arising from disruptive technology.

In their book, The Future of the Professions, Richard and Daniel Susskind discuss technologies as falling under one of two categories – automation and innovation.  Many lawyers and firms are beginning to focus on automation within their practices.  They have identified inefficiencies in the back office and are implementing technology to streamline processes.

Innovation, on the other hand, “enables ways of making practical expertise available that simply were not possible without the [technological] systems in question.”   The authors go on to state that automation is the “comfort zone of technological change” for most professionals.  So is automation enough, or will innovation be required?

What Does this Mean for Lawyers and their Firms?

The rapid advancement of technological change is overwhelming.  But now is not the time to employ the “head in the sand” approach.  Along with the change and challenges, there are real opportunities for creative lawyers to embrace technology to create profitable practices and build a following of loyal clients.

But where should you start? 

Focus Your Practice

You can’t be all things to all people on the internet.  While it may seem counterintuitive, a successful practice will continue to require attorneys to focus their services on only one traditional practice area, and in some cases, a subsection of the practice area.

If you were experiencing back pain and needed to see a doctor, would you rather see a doctor who helped patients with back pain, delivered babies, and helped teens with acne, or would you go to the doctor who only saw patients with back trouble?  “Specialization” will only become more and more important for attorneys to remain competitive.

Understand your target client. 

As you focus your practice, you naturally focus on the specific clients you can help.  This is difficult for most attorneys who feel like they must cast a wide net so they don’t lose out on potential clients.

Developing a keen understanding of your ideal client, and the issues they face is growing in importance.  Effectively marketing your practice online requires clarity on who you want to reach, and the development of messaging around the specific problems you help them solve.

You have less than 3 seconds to make a first impression online.  As more prospective clients are researching potential attorneys online, you may be losing out on business you never even knew you were in contention for. 

Evolve into Emerging Practice Areas

One particular way for attorneys to evolve their practices is to focus on emerging areas.  The internet is creating the need for attorneys who are focused on issues around privacy, cyberbullying, net neutrality, and the accessibility of websites to those with disabilities, just to name a few.

One of the simplest ways to identify opportunities is to consider how technology is changing your current clients’ industries.  What are the new challenges they face?  If you don’t know, ask them.    

For example, in 2015, Seyfarth Shaw launched their Social Media Practice.  A Social Media Practice is an extension of several different traditional practice areas including employment law and intellectual property.

Create a “Product”

As a lawyer, you are in sales.  You are selling your knowledge and expertise as a service that helps your clients with a specific problem.  But what if you could package a part of the services you provide as a “product” that you could scale and sell over and over again?  You can and you should.

Even if you aren’t ready to launch an online consulting business, packaging a specific scope of services into a “product” is a good idea.  It provides new clients an opportunity to work with you on a clearly defined project, for a clearly defined price.  It meets potential clients’ growing demands for transparency in legal services.    

As an attorney, it allows you to begin relationships with new clients on a specific project that may very well expand into a larger relationship at a later date.  You can create a system for the delivery of the product you develop so that you can leverage other timekeepers and maximize your margin.

Update Your Hiring Criteria

Instead of looking at the law school a potential hire attended, or the GPA he or she achieved, perhaps take a peek at non-traditional experience or skills as you make hiring decisions.  For instance, has the attorney started his or her own business in the past?  An attorney with an entrepreneurial drive might serve your firm well in exploring different ways to deliver your services.  Does the attorney have a wealth of volunteer experience or a career between undergrad and law school?  She may have strong “people skills” that will help with development of a new client relations program within your firm.   

Be a Part of the Conversation

The most important first step for North Carolina lawyers is to start having more conversations around the challenges and opportunities the future holds for the profession.  It is critical that these conversations extend beyond firm management to include a diverse cross-section of associates, paralegals, legal assistants, and administrative staff.  If you have not yet had a discussion with your key clients on how their industries and businesses are changing, and how you can improve the delivery of your services to help them, now is the time.

Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual. Ginny Allen is a lawyer and the owner of Adept, a digital marketing firm focusing on lawyers. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at camille@lawyersmutualnc.com or Ginny at ginny@adeptfirm.com for an in-house presentations on the Future of Law.

Nicole Patino

Law Offices of Fred T. Hamlet Announce New Associate

The Law Offices of Fred T. Hamlet are pleased to announce the addition of an associate, Nicole Patino.  Ms. Patino is a 2015 graduate of Elon Law School where she was 2014-2015 Notes and Comments Editor of the Elon Law Review.  Prior to attending law school, she received both an undergraduate and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech.  Ms. Patino is a former law clerk with the Law Offices of Fred T. Hamlet.

Nicole Patino

Nicole Patino

The Law Offices of Fred T. Hamlet concentrate in the practice areas of Labor, Employment, Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Discharge, Wage and Hour, ERISA, NLRA, OSHA, Unemployment Hearings, Education Law, and related litigation.  Mr. Hamlet and Ms. Patino also conduct workplace investigations, negotiate severance packages, and review and draft employee handbooks and employment contracts.

TomKane

Is the Lack of Cross-Selling Your Fault?

Is the Lack of Cross-Selling Your Fault?

By Tom Kane

(Reprinted from Tom’s LegalMarketingBlog.com dated February 25, 2016)

Are you to blame for your partners’ failure to cross-sell you to their client contacts?  Not necessarily, but you could be part of the problem. Clients select lawyers they know, like, and trust. Referral sources, including your partners, send you clients for the same reason. Since they know, like, and trust you, they transfer those qualities by recommending you.

Maybe your partner doesn’t know enough about you or your practice, especially in a large firm. And there may be selfish reasons he or she is protecting the client relationship.  In my 30 years in this business, I can assure you that a “bit” of that goes on.  So you must work to enhance the relationships with your partners and to make certain that he or she knows enough about your practice to be comfortable that you won’t displace or hurt the client relationship.

According to Mike O’Horo, in a recent article on Attorney at Work, “cross-selling problems are self-created.” He argues, among other things, that lawyers focus on the product they’re trying to sell, instead of whether the client has a need for such services. The important point is that any attempt to cross-sell should be client-centric (i.e., benefit the client), rather than product-centric (i.e., what service can benefit the lawyer and firm). The client must understand that it has a need for such services and agree that your firm, rather than another, is the best choice for those services.

Cross-selling often fails based upon a client’s unfavorable reaction to the idea.  They may prefer to spread work around, or they are not convinced that the lawyer being recommended is right for the job.  For cross-selling to work, the client must recognize the need for the services, and have faith that the lawyer making the recommendation of another lawyer within the firm  has confidence in the lawyer being recommended.

While it may not be entirely your fault that your partners don’t cross-sell your services, it is critical that you foster relationships with other lawyers within the firm so that you come to mind when cross-selling opportunities arise.

GBA Fundraiser Benefiting Legal Aid of North Carolina

GBA Fundraiser Benefiting Legal Aid of North Carolina

Janet McCauley Blue accepts funds raised for LegalAid presented by co-chairs Kim Gatling and Chelsea Anderson

Janet McCauley Blue accepts funds raised for LegalAid presented by co-chairs Kim Gatling and Chelsea Anderson

On April 16th, the Greensboro Bar Association held a successful fundraiser benefiting our local office of Legal Aid of North Carolina in the SciQuarium of the Greensboro Science Center.  The event was organized by Chelsea Anderson, Kim Gatling, and Ryan Luft. The event was catered by Catering by Bakatsias, and beer and wine was provided by Preyer Brewing Company, Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company, and Rioja! A Wine Bar. There were 80 people in attendance, which included members of the GBA, as well as members of the community that sponsored the event, along with their friends and family.

Preston Nelson won the Proximity Hotel raffle give-away, and Doris Bray won the Durham Hotel raffle give-away. Ed Sharp, Afi Johnson-Parris, and Kelly Burke won the Guess the Wine contest, with prizes generously donated by Medaloni Cellars.

The event was sponsored by Brooks Pierce and Ward Black Law at the Platinum Level; Smith Moore Leatherwood and Lawyers Mutual at the Gold Level, Johnson Peddrick & McDonald at the Silver Level; Benson Brown & Faucher, Clifford Division of Clifford Clendenin & O’Hale, Cunningham & Company Mortgage Brokers, Elon University School of Law, ITG Brands, Jill Wilson and Marc Isaacson, Nexsen Pruet, LLC, and Senn Dunn Insurance at the Bronze Level.

Thanks to the hard work of the committee, ticket sales, sponsorships, several donations, and two generous gifts, one of $2,500 and one of $5,000, the GBA was able to present Janet McAuley-Blue of our local Greensboro Legal Aid office with a check for $18,391.05.  Thank you to those that donated time, money, and purchased tickets to the event – we couldn’t have done it without you.

Co-workers from the Public Defender’s office celebrate with Fred Lind when he received the GBA Distinguished Service award.

Lind Receives GBA Distinguished Service Award

The Greensboro Bar Association established the Distinguished Service Award in 1993 to annually recognize a lawyer for exhibiting a deep devotion to the legal profession and an enduring contribution to the administration of justice and the public good through unselfish service.  This year’s recipient is our Chief Public Defender, Frederick G. Lind.

Fred is a native of Chicago, Illinois.  He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University where he was a standout varsity basketball player under Vic Bubas.  After getting his law degree from DePaul University, he headed south and accepted a job as Assistant Public Defender under the late Wally Harrelson. After 36 years in that position and nearly 350 jury trials, Fred was appointed Chief Public Defender in 2011.

Fred is a former president of the N.C. Association of Public Defenders, former President of the Greensboro Criminal

Defense Lawyers Association, former President of the Board of Directors of One Step Further Sentencing Alternatives Program, former Director of the Greensboro Bar Association and member of its History and Archives Committee, a master of the Guilford Inns of Court, member emeritus of the N.C. Chief Justice’s Committee on Professionalism, recipient of the 2012 Elon Law’s Leadership in the Law Award, the 2013 recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Wade Smith Award, a former Elder in Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church, and a member of the Greensboro Sports Council.

For his deep commitment to indigent defense and our system of criminal justice, for his countless activities for the betterment of our profession and our community, for his faultless ethics and professionalism, and most of all for his kindness and goodness of heart, Fred richly deserves this recognition.

Co-workers from the Public Defender’s office celebrate with Fred Lind when he received the GBA Distinguished Service award.

Co-workers from the Public Defender’s office celebrate with Fred Lind when he received the GBA Distinguished Service award.

Afi Johnson-Parris Headshot

Message from the President – May 2106

I wish you could see me dance.  Know this–I am dancing and smiling as I write this last column. I love to dance. I’m partial to latest line dance and I promise that one day I’ll be the old lady on the dance floor, cane tossed to the side, getting her groove on because I just heard my favorite song.  This dance is a happy dance because I’ve made it to the finish line. I too will wear the Cheshire Cat grin that immediate past president Jim Bryan has sported all year because I will be in the same position very soon.  It’s not so much that I’m happy to be passing the reins of the Association to Ken Keller, but I’m happy that this is my very last column. I’m going to miss everything else, just not this deadline.   

When I started this term, past presidents told me that I would ask members for their help and input and I would receive it. Those words were true.  The members who agreed to chair or staff committees were generous with their time when taking on tasks and making them happen. I received support from many corners of our Association and I am so very grateful for it. At many times I’ve been in awe of what our members have done to advance our Association through their work on various projects this year.

As an Association, our reach can be much farther than we ever expect. Who knows the seeds of promise that we’ve sown with the participants in our Bone Marrow Drive sponsored by the Health and Wellness Committee.  Although Judge Carl Fox, our Orange County colleague in need of a donor, has not found a matching donor, our work could help others with similar needs. Our signature pro bono project, The Second Chance project, added many newly trained advocates to the cause of obtaining criminal record expunctions for Legal Aid clients. Our volunteers have helped to erase barriers to gainful employment and affordable housing for citizens with non-violent convictions or dismissed charges that still stain their record. The Legal Aid Fundraiser Committee’s hard work and the generosity of our members provides financial support to our local Legal Aid Office. These funds help to fill the gaps left by steadily decreasing government support for low-income citizens’ civil legal needs.

I hope our members have enjoyed the opportunities for fellowship and education through our member meetings and CLE courses. Our speaker committee of one, Paul Daniels, has worked hard to make each meeting an opportunity to learn something interesting or to be entertained by our guest speaker. He did a great job. The CLE committee continued their excellent offerings this year and many of us have benefitted from the knowledge gained and the CLE hours earned.

We can all take pride in the work that has been done this year and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead when Ken Keller charts the Association’s course for the 2016-2017 year. With all that we’ve accomplished, there is work that remains undone. With the celebration of Law Day this month, it is a perfect time to reflect on the role of law in our country and its importance to our society. We all play a part in that vital construct that makes this country great. I feel blessed and humbled to just be a part of it all.

Just like the 85 other presidents that have gone before me, my season has ended and the year flew by. As I reflect on my term, I’m wistful hoping that I made a difference and lived up to the promises that I made and the promise that others saw in me when I was nominated for this position. For as much growth as I’ve experienced this year, I feel like I’m right back where I started. I still love being a lawyer and being the president of this Association has only made that love stronger. This has been a great opportunity to serve this profession and have fun all the while. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Afi Johnson-Parris ajp@wardblacklaw.com practices Family Law and Veterans Disability with Ward Black Law

New GBA Foundation Investment Advisory Committee Seeking New Members

The Greensboro Bar Association Foundation is forming a new investment advisory committee to set the investment policies and objectives for the Foundation and to liaison with our investment manager.  Our goal is to grow our current investment fund in order to increase our involvement in charitable projects and the number of grants we are able to make as a Foundation.

If you have an interest in serving on this committee, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you. Please contact Abigail Peoples at Abigail@apeopleslaw.com or at 336-275-6003.