The Greensboro Bar Association is comprised of five sections. Each section is authorized by the Executive Board and has general supervision of its affairs, the power to fix its own time and place of meeting, and to adopt rules for its own government and course of action, including the election of officers and the appointment of such committees as it may deem advisable.
Established 1989 in cooperation with the High Point Bar Association to address matters of interest to attorneys practicing domestic or family law in Guilford County. The section meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month from September to May. Meetings commence at 12:30 p.m. and lunch is available. Programs address topics of interest to domestic law practitioners. An annual picnic is held in June. All members of the Greensboro and High Point Bar Associations are welcome to attend. Section dues are $40.00 each calendar year; dues are payable by Jan 31, or within 30 days of joining the section.
Established in 1989 to address matters of interest to attorneys practicing real estate law in Guilford County, including associate memberships by High Point attorneys, meetings of the Real Estate Section are held quarterly in September, November, March and June. Meetings begin with a cocktail hour followed by dinner and a brief program. Dues for the current year are $80. Non-member guests are welcome for a charge of $35. All members in good standing of the Greensboro Bar are eligible to join. High Point lawyers are also eligible to join on a non-voting basis unless they are also members of the Greensboro Bar Association.
Scott C. Gale
For members younger than 36 years of age. Regularly scheduled luncheon meetings and socials, special projects such as the Swearing-In Ceremony and Bridge-the-Gaap program, Ask-A-Lawyer, Child Safety Day, serving meals at Urban Ministry and others, at the discretion of the Section board.
Greensboro Bar Association History
Guilford County was created from parts of Rowan and Orange County in 1771. The Guilford County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, presided over by Judges having the title of Justice of the Peace, conducted civil, criminal and administrative court. The demeanor of the early court as indicated by the entry in the minutes that: “It is ordered that in the future each sheriff attend this court with a wand of tough wood eight feet in length and one inch in diameter and that each constable attend the court with staffs neatly shaved, six and one-half feet in length and one and one-half inches in diameter, painted black on the head for eight inches.”
The Greensboro Bar began with the abandonment of the Guilford Courthouse in the village of Martinsville and the erection of a new courthouse in the newly created town of Greensboro, named for revolutionary hero General Nathanael Greene. It was located near the approximate center of the County at the intersection of Elm and Market Streets. At the May 1809 Term of Court, it was announced that “The New Courthouse in Greensboro, now ready for reception of Court, the Court adjourned from the town of Martinsville to the town of Greensboro to meet at 10:00 tomorrow, Friday, 19, May 1809.”
Prior to the creation of the Greensboro Bar Association there had been friendly association among Greensboro lawyers. In early days, lawyers’ offices were located in one or two story buildings on Court Square around the stately structure of the Guilford Courthouse. Frequently on a summer day a group of lawyers might be found sitting in chairs beneath the high spreading elms that shaded the park area of the Square. Here, one might overhear through an open Courthouse window a voice arguing before a jury. Here, one might hear a lawyer’s conversation about law, literature or philosophy with frequent quotations from the Bible and Shakespeare.
In April 1927, a group of young lawyers who had been practicing more than three years and less than fifteen years were invited to a dinner in the private dining room of the restaurant on the top floor of the Jefferson Standard Building. That dinner led to the organization of the Greensboro Barrister’s Club. Its primary purpose was to bring about a formal organization of a Greensboro Bar Association, and incidentally, to meet for dinner every other week with a member giving a talk on some topic of the law. The first officers were: Robert H. Frazier, President; Robert F. Moseley, Vice-President; and Harry R. Stanley, Secretary.
Not long thereafter, in a meeting at the Greensboro Country Club to which all members of the Greensboro Bar were invited, a resolution to form the present association was enthusiastically adopted. On March 22, 1929, the Greensboro Bar Association was duly organized and it’s Constitution and Bylaws were adopted.
The objects for the Association were as follows:
This Association is established to encourage the assembly of its members at stated periods for the transaction of business conducive to the public good and their own welfare; to co-operate with the legislative, judicial and executive departments of government in securing, administrating and enforcing laws for the common weal; to aid in maintaining the honor and dignity of the profession of law; to promote legal science and the administration of justice; and to cultivate social intercourse among its members.
The Association’s actual activities are less well known. One early Executive Committee considered a report that some members were chasing “the business of banks,” a problem likely resolved by the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Another early committee, of unknown inspiration, formed to investigate the “moral fitness and professional qualities” of Greensboro law license applicants. Occasionally, the Association adopted resolutions regarding proposed or needed legislation, or polled a meeting and reported recommendations about pending judicial appointments. Primarily, however, the Association was a collegial fellowship of practitioners who met monthly, except in summer, for the pleasure of one another’s company and the exchange of ideas.
Horace Heyworth of the High Point Bar, on February 12, 1931, presented a proposal to establish two divisions of the Superior Court in Guilford County – – a Greensboro Division and a High Point Division. At the meeting on February 20, 1931, Thomas Turner sponsored a proposal to set up equal court facilities in both Greensboro and High Point. By subsequent act of the General Assembly the two divisions of Superior Court were set up in Guilford County. Several years later, on September 26, 1945, the Association approved a proposed act to create Guilford County as a separate judicial district.
Lacking the legal capacity to do so, the Association has never attempted to be an enforcement arm with respect to matters of legal regulation. Nevertheless, early records disclose attention paid to ethical transgressions that today appear more amusing than threatening. One older practitioner apparently developed the habit of hanging out in bank lobbies attempting to cage fees out of the ignorant for helping them to cash checks. Then there was the case in the 1950’s of a Greensboro attorney who boarded a train at Lynchburg, was unable to display the ticket he claimed to have lost, was expelled from the train, and sued the Southern Railway and lost—he left town shortly thereafter. Until 1971, schedules setting out suggested fees for various services were promulgated by the Association, but such practice lapsed after it came under scrutiny for its possible price fixing implications. One speculates that the schedules were honored in the breach often enough to provide a defense to such a charge.
The American legal system embodies our nation’s shared values of individual freedom, dignity, the right to due process, and equal protection under the law. As Lawyers, we are guardians for our legal system, and we have an important professional responsibility to recognize, honor, and enhance the rule of law. We are in a privileged position, and therefore, we work under special obligations. To forget or set aside these obligations is to dishonor our profession.
Professionalism encompasses a dedication to excellence in serving clients, a respect for the rule of law, the court and other lawyers, and commitment to seek a just result in all matters undertaken for clients. The practice of law must be service motivated rather than profit inspired. The morals of the marketplace are not sufficient for the practice of law. As a lawyer, I subscribe to the following Creed of Professionalism:
Individual Commitments to Professionalism:
My word is my bond. Integrity is an absolute. Fairness and civility are essential. Financial considerations will never override my professional responsibility.
To my clients, I offer loyalty, competence, diligence, and good judgment. I will represent you as I would want to be represented. I will provide timely information on all matters pertaining to your case. I will be worthy of your trust by providing vigorous advocacy, independent guidance, reasoned counseling, and fair value in services performed for fees paid. I will work to attain the highest level of knowledge and skill in the areas of law in which I practice.
To the public and our profession, I offer service. I will strive to improve the law and our legal system, and to make our legal system more accessible, responsive, and effective for all. I will contribute my time and resources to the Bar, public service, community, and civic activities. I will honor the requirements, the spirit, and the intent of the rules of professional conduct.
To my colleagues in the practice of law, I offer concern for your welfare. As we work together, I will respect your personal and family commitments. I will share my learning and experience so that we may all improve our skills and abilities.
To the courts and to those who assist them, I offer respect, candor, and courtesy. I will strive to do honor to the search for justice. I will serve as an officer of the court, encouraging respect for the law and avoiding the abuse or misuse of the law, its procedures, its participants, and the processes.
To opposing parties and their counsel, I offer honesty, fairness, and courtesy. I will seek truth and strive to make the resolution of our clients’ dispute in a dignified process. I will pursue the most efficient and least costly solutions to problems, avoiding delay, seeking reconciliation, and resolving disputes through negotiation or mediation whenever possible.
[Note: Portions of this Creed were adopted from “A Lawyer’s Creed” by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism for the Supreme Court of Georgia, “The Professional Creed” of the American Inns of Court, an essay by Edward Abbey published by Henry Holt & Company, the writings of Robert L. McMillan, the North Carolina Wake County Creed of Professionalism, and the Lawyer’s Professionalism Creed established by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, Chief Justice Henry Frye, Chairman.]
Bylaws of the GBA
ARTICLE I: Members
Section 1. Membership.
(a) Classes. There shall be three classes of membership in the corporation (i) Regular Members, (ii) Sustaining Members and (iii) law Student Members.
(b) Regular Members. Any person (i) who is licensed to practice law before the highest court of any country or any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia and (ii) who resides, practices, or is employed in Guilford County, North Carolina, shall be eligible as a Regular Member.
(c) Sustaining Members. A lawyer who otherwise qualifies as a Regular Member, and who supports the work of the corporation through the payment of sustaining dues as established by the Executive Board shall be eligible as a Sustaining Member. A Sustaining Member shall have the same responsibilities, rights, and privileges as a Regular Member.
(d) Law Student Members. A law student who is enrolled in any regularly organized and accredited law school or law school applying for accreditation located in Guilford County or a law student who resides in Guilford County and is enrolled in any regularly organized and accredited law school shall be eligible as a Law Student Member. Law Student Members shall not be eligible to hold office in the corporation, shall not be eligible to vote in the corporation, and shall be eligible to enjoy only those privileges as shall be determined from time-to-time by the Executive Board. Once a student graduates or ceases to be in good standing at the law school, he or she shall cease to be eligible for membership of the corporation.
(e) Election. A majority vote of the Executive Board shall elect to membership. A person so elected shall be declared a member upon payment of the annual dues for the first year. Persons approved for membership by December 31 shall pay the full amount of the annual dues, and persons approved for membership after December 31 shall pay a prorated amount of annual dues.
Effective this the 12th day of October, 2006.
Section 2. Fees and Dues.
Annual dues shall be $85.00 for members licensed to practice law fewer than three years and Public Service attorneys to include staff and assistant attorneys who work with the Offices of the Attorney General, City Attorney, County Attorney, District Attorney, Federal Public Defender, Legal Aid and State Public Defender, $130.00 for members licensed to practice law three years or more, and $165.00 for voluntary sustaining members. Annual dues shall be payable on the first day of the fiscal year, which shall be June 1. The treasurer shall notify members three months in arrears, and those whose dues are not paid within thirty days thereafter shall be automatically suspended for the current year, but shall be reinstated to membership upon payment of the then current annual dues and a reinstatement fee of $25.00. Members attaining seventy years of age shall be excused from the payment of annual dues for the fiscal year immediately following the fiscal year in which such member attained seventy years of age and all subsequent years. However, such members may choose to be voluntary sustaining members for any year by paying $40.00, which shall be payable on June 1.
Effective this 14th day of June, 2016
Section 3. Changing Dues.
The annual dues may be changed from time to time by the Executive Board after notifying each member of the corporation of the meeting of the Executive Board at which the proposed change will be considered.
ARTICLE II: Officers
Section 1. Number.
The officers of the corporation shall be a President, a President-Elect, an immediate Past President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and nine Directors. These officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the corporation.
Section 2. Nominating Committee.
No later than February 15, the President shall appoint a Nominating Committee of not fewer than three members. It shall be the duty of this committee to nominate candidates for the offices to be filled at the Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall report at the regular March meeting. Before the election at the Annual Meeting, additional nominations from the floor shall be permitted.
Section 3. Election.
The President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected by ballot to serve for one year or until their successors are elected, and their term of office shall begin with the fiscal year. Directors shall be elected by ballot to serve for three year staggered terms (so that three Directors are elected at each Annual Meeting) or until their successors are elected, and their term of office shall begin with the fiscal year. If only one person is nominated for an office, the President can declare that the nominee is elected by acclamation.
Section 4. Vacancies.
Any vacancy in any office or position of the Executive Board other than President or President-Elect shall be filled by appointment of the Executive Board for the unexpired term. In case of a vacancy in the office of President, the President-Elect shall serve as President for the duration of such vacancy and then serve the term for which elected, and in case of a vacancy in the office of the President-Elect, a meeting of the corporation shall be held to fill said vacancy for the unexpired term.
ARTICLE III: Meetings
Section 1. Monthly Meetings.
The regular meetings of the corporation shall be held on the third Thursday of each month from September through May unless otherwise ordered by the President or the Executive Board. All meetings shall be held at such place and at such hour as may be designated by the President or the Executive Board.
Section 2. Annual Meeting.
The regular meeting on the third Thursday of April shall be known as the Annual Meeting and shall be for the purpose of electing officers, receiving reports of officers and committees, and for any other business that may arise.
Section 3. Notice of Meetings.
No notice of the Annual Meeting or regular monthly meetings shall be required, but the President, Executive Board, or the Secretary may cause such notice to be given as may be deemed appropriate.
Section 4. Special Meetings.
Special meetings may be called by the President or the Executive Board and shall be called upon the written request of twenty members of the corporation. The purpose of the meeting shall be stated in the call. Except in cases of emergency, at least seven days’ notice shall be given.
Section 5. Quorum.
Fifty members of the corporation shall constitute a quorum.
ARTICLE IV: Executive Board
Section 1. Composition.
The officers of the corporation, including the Directors, shall constitute the Executive Board. The President of the Young Lawyers Division of the corporation shall be an ex-officio member of the Executive Board.
Section 2. Duties.
The Executive Board shall have general supervision of the corporation, fix the hour and place of meetings, make recommendations to the corporation, appropriate corporation funds for ordinary expenses, and shall perform such other duties as are specified in these Bylaws.
Section 3. Meetings.
The Executive Board shall establish a regular schedule for its meetings, and such meetings may be held without notice. Special meetings of the Executive Board may be called by the President and shall be called upon the written request of three members of the Executive Board. Except in cases of emergency, at least seven days’ notice of any special meeting shall be given.
Section 4. Quorum.
Six members of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum.
Section 5. Action Without Meeting.
Action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of the Executive Board may be taken without a meeting if the action is taken by all members of the Executive Board. The action must be evidenced by one or more unrevoked written consents signed by each member of the Executive Board before or after such action, describing the action taken, and included in the minutes or filed with the records of the Association. Such written consents may be in electronic form and delivered by electronic means.
[effective February 18, 2010]
ARTICLE V: Sections
Section 1. Organization.
The Executive Board may authorize the organization, division, combination, or dissolution of sections.
Section 2. Sections Governance.
Each section authorized by the Executive Board shall have general supervision of its affairs, the power to fix its own time and place of meeting, to establish or increase any dues with approval of the Executive Board, and to adopt rules for its own government and course of action, including the election of officers and the appointment of such committees as it may deem advisable, not inconsistent with the Charter of the corporation and these Bylaws. Each section shall designate a Chairman and a Treasurer, each of whom shall serve a one-year term which coincides with the term of office of officers of the corporation.
Section 3. Scope of Authority.
All activities of sections shall be subject to the control of the Executive Board and conducted in accordance with such policies, rules, and regulations as may be promulgated by the Executive Board.
Section 4. Actions.
No action, report, resolution or recommendation of any section shall be published or presented as the action or position of the corporation unless specifically approved by the Executive Board.
Section 5. Ex-Officio Members.
The President and President-Elect of the corporation shall be ex-officio members of all sections.
ARTICLE VI: Committees
Appointment. Such committees shall be appointed by the President as the corporation or the Executive Board shall from time to time deem necessary to carry on the work of the corporation. The chairpersons of committees shall be invited to attend meetings of the Executive Board and advise the Executive Board as the need arises. The President shall be ex-officio a member of all committees except the Nominating Committee.
ARTICLE VII: Parliamentary Authority
Section 1. Rules.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the corporation in all cases to which they areapplicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws and any special rules of order the corporation may adopt.
Section 2. Prohibited Activities.
No member, officer, director, employee or representative of this corporation shall take any action or carry on any activity by or on behalf of the corporation not permitted to be taken or carried on by an organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, and the regulations thereunder, as now existing or as hereafter in effect.
ARTICLE VIII: Amendment of Bylaws
Amendment. These Bylaws may be amended at any regular or special meeting of the corporation by a majority vote, provided that the amendment has been approved by the Executive Board.
AS ADOPTED 04/2004
AS AMENDED 10/2006
AS AMENDED 10/2007
AS AMENDED 02/2010
Location: 122 North Elm Street, Suite 805, Greensboro 27401
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1825, Greensboro 27402
It is the Greensboro Bar Association’s mission to serve the Greensboro community and the Association members, by fostering excellence in legal representation of clients. Any licensed lawyer, living and/or practicing in Greensboro, is eligible for regular membership; current law school students, who reside in and/or attend school in Greensboro are eligible for student membership while attending law school.
It is manditory that every practicing attorney be a member of a state judicial district bar. Membership in the 18th Judicial District Bar is determined by the North Carolina State Bar and generally corresponds to the member’s location of practice. Any change in contact information MUST be reported to the North Carolina State Bar. The administration of the 18th JD is run from the office of the Greensboro Bar Association.
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