Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP Attorneys Recognized by Benchmark Litigation 2017

Three Greensboro lawyers from Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP were recently selected for inclusion in the tenth edition of Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation 2017. The guide’s results are the culmination of a six-month research period that included extensive interviews with the nation’s leading private practice lawyers and in-house counsel. Benchmark Litigation is the only publication on the market to focus exclusively on litigation in the United States.

“We are very pleased with our continued recognition in Benchmark Litigation,” said Julie Earp, managing partner. “Our firm has a long history of providing litigation services of the caliber our clients deserve and expect. And we applaud this recognition of these attorneys.”

The Smith Moore Leatherwood attorneys and the areas in which they were recognized are:

Erik Albright, Local Litigation Star

Rick Coughlin, Future Star

Maureen Demarest Murray, Local Litigation Star

Kenneth R. Keller, President, Greensboro Bar Association

Message from the President, Dec 2016

Hopefully by the time you read this, you will already have donated (or pledged a donation) and completed a volunteer form for our eighth Habitat for Humanity House.  On the chance that you have not done so, both the 2017 Contribution Form and the 2017 Volunteer Form are available on the Greensboro Bar Association website.  We also offer the option of donating online.  Although your payment can be made either this year or by February 28, 2017, we need to obtain donations and commitments as soon as possible.

Donations are tax deductible and can be made to the Greensboro Bar Association Foundation, Inc., marked for the Habitat for Humanity House.   You have the option of making a donation in honor of or in memory of persons you designate and Diane will arrange to send notice of the recognition as you specify.

Please also complete and submit your volunteer form.  You do NOT need prior construction experience.  In fact, you may wish to sign up for an unfamiliar task in order to obtain a new skill.  In addition to volunteers for construction, we also need volunteers to help schedule work crews and volunteers to act as liaison with the homebuyer and their family.

We plan to begin construction on Saturday, April 1, 2017.  Typically we work on Saturdays and construction takes 18 weeks.  However, if there is sufficient interest (typically 18 or so volunteers for outside tasks or 8 to 10 for inside tasks), we can schedule workdays on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or possibly Fridays in addition to Saturdays.  Please indicate on your volunteer form if you can work during the week.

GBA Members Rick Christy and others lend a hand for Habitat for Humanity

GBA Members Rick Christy and others lend a helping hand to Habitat for Humanity

On a totally unrelated topic, please plan to attend our Holiday Celebration at 5:30 p.m. on December 14, 2016 at Elon Law School.  Gwen Lewis is coordinating a great evening, with beverages, hors d’oeuvres, music, and the opportunity to participate in wrapping books for donation to Jones Elementary.  If you would like to donate funds to help with this project, please send your donations to Diane made to the order of the Greensboro Bar Association Foundation and marked “Jones Elementary.”

Thanks (and best wishes for the Holiday Season!)

habitat-043

Habitat House 2017 Volunteers & Contributions Needed

Efforts to build our eighth Habitat for Humanity House are underway and we are asking for your support through financial contributions and volunteer hours. Please complete the 2017 Habitat Contribution Form the 2017 Habitat Volunteer Form now. We also offer the option of donating online at Habitat House Online Donations.  Although your payment can be made either this year or by February 28, 2017, we need to obtain donations and commitments as soon as possible.

Donations are tax deductible and can be made to the Greensboro Bar Association Foundation, Inc., marked for the Habitat for Humanity House.   You have the option of making a donation in honor of or in memory of persons you specify.

Please also complete and submit your volunteer form.  You do NOT need prior construction experience.  In fact, you may wish to sign up for an unfamiliar task in order to obtain a new skill.  In addition to volunteers for construction, we also need volunteers to help schedule work crews and volunteers to act as liaison with the homebuyer and their family.

 

We plan to begin construction on Saturday, April 1, 2017.  Typically we work on Saturdays and construction takes 18 weeks.  However, if there is sufficient interest (typically 18 or so volunteers for outside tasks or 8 to 10 for inside tasks), we can schedule workdays on Wednesdays or Thursdays in addition to Saturdays.  Please indicate on your volunteer form if you can work during the week.

Habitat House Online Donations

Young Lawyers Section: Connections, Nov 2016

YLS has been busy over the past month welcoming all of our newly admitted attorneys and getting back into the swing of things. Here’s a list of what we’ve been up to and what’s to come.

Book Buddies

YLS is continuing to serve Hampton Elementary through its Book Buddies Program.  The program pairs lawyers with classrooms at Hampton Elementary to read aloud to the class for thirty minutes to an hour.  The great thing about the program is that it’s flexible—once you’re paired with a classroom, you work with the teacher to schedule mutually agreeable reading times. Our goal is to fully staff Hampton’s pre-K through second-grade classes and we are still short a few volunteers. If you are interested in signing up, please click here.
http://www.greensboroyls.org/book-buddies

Swearing-In Ceremony/Bridge the Gap Program

YLS hosted its annual Bridge the Gap Program and Swearing-In Ceremony on Friday, October 14th.  We welcomed 17 newly admitted attorneys. Thank you to all of the judges, members of the GBA, YLS board members, and newly admitted attorneys that made this day a success.

Website

YLS has a new website! Check us out at www.greensboroyls.org. We will post information about upcoming events and ways to get involved.  You can also follow us on Facebook (Greensboro Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section).

Newly licensed NC attorneys take the Oath of Office at the Swearing-In Ceremony held at the Old Courthouse on October 14, 2016.

Newly licensed NC attorneys take the Oath of Office at the Swearing-In Ceremony held at the Old Courthouse on October 14, 2016.

 

Judge Patrice Hinnant admits Josh Harper to the practice of law in North Carolina.

Judge Patrice Hinnant admits Josh Harper to the practice of law in North Carolina.

Bob Cone Receives John B. Mcmillan Distinguished Service Award From State Bar

Tuggle Duggins P.A. partner Robert C. Cone was recently honored by the North Carolina State Bar with its John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award.   The award, which was presented to Cone by State Bar President Margaret Hunt at the meeting of the Greensboro Bar Association held October 20, 2016, recognizes North Carolina lawyers who have demonstrated exemplary service to the legal profession.

“There is no one more deserving of this award”, said Nathan Duggins, managing partner of Tuggle Duggins. “We stand in awe of all that Bob has contributed to Greensboro and to the state in general, through his selfless work on behalf of others, all while maintaining a busy and successful law practice.”

Bob Cone

Bob Cone

Below are the full remarks delivered by Margaret Hunt at the GBA meeting:

Robert Cone is a life-long resident of Greensboro and was a Morehead-Cain Scholar at Chapel Hill where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in 1974 and his law degree in 1978.  He is married to the former Sally Boyette and they are the proud parents of two children.

He has been a litigator for over 35 years and is a member of the Tuggle Duggins Law Firm.  Bob has represented clients in all North Carolina state and federal trial courts and has argued cases on appeal in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court and the 4th Circuit.  He is also a certified mediator in North Carolina state and federal courts.

His contributions to our profession are many including:

His service as a State Bar Councilor from this District where he was a member of various State Bar committees including the Grievance, Legislative and Executive Committees.

Bob helped to organize and lead the Guilford Inn of Court that promotes ethics, civility and excellence within the Bar and served as treasurer and Master of the Bench.

His pro bono services include volunteering with the Lawyers on Line Legal Service Program and as co-founder of the Herb Falk Society of the Greensboro Bar Association that promotes pro bono work by its members.

Bob has chaired the UNC Law Foundation, served as a Preceptor at Elon Law School, served as a member of the Greensboro Bar Association’s Board of Directors and as president, and chaired the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee of the GBA.

Bob’s service to his community is also exemplary and includes his services as:

  • Chair of the Greensboro Public Library Foundation Board.
  • Board member and vice-chair of the
    Greensboro Urban Ministry.
  • Member and president of the Rotary Club of Greensboro.
  • Trustee of the Greensboro Jewish Federation
    and Chair of its Men’s Campaign.
  • Trustee of the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro.
  • Trustee of Temple Emanuel, Inc.
  • Chair of the North Carolina Regional Advisory Board
    of the Anti-Defamation League.
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the UNCG Program for Conflict and Resolution.

He was the recipient of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America for his work in promoting diversity and bringing scouting to lower-income neighborhoods in Greensboro and of the Centennial Award that is presented jointly by the Greensboro Bar Association and the NCBA for exemplary community services.

Bob has also contributed countless hours to Cone Health, a private, not-for-profit health care delivery system in Greensboro, having served on the Board of Trustees for 20 years and as Chair of the Foundation where he worked tirelessly to assure that the marginalized, underserved and others had access to appropriate health care.

Throughout his career Bob has used that unique body of knowledge and skills we all have as lawyers to help his clients resolve legal problems, to help in the self-regulation and improvement of the legal profession, to actively mentor young lawyers, to serve as a role model for all lawyers, and to be actively engaged in the civic and philanthropic life of his community.  The State Bar is honoring Bob not just for all that he has done, but also for the manner in which he has accomplished so much.  The words written by Susan Shumaker, President of the Cone Health Foundation, in describing Bob’s service to that Foundation are also true of all of his legal and civic endeavors.  She wrote, “Bob’s gentle nature, wisdom, vision, kindness, keen intellect, knowledge, humor and persistence informs his work.”  Bob is truly the personification of the citizen lawyer who has brought credit to our profession and we can all honor Bob by simply following his example.

It is an honor for me to present to Bob, on behalf of the State Bar, the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of exemplary service to his clients, his profession and his community.

Bob Cone’s family was in attendance at the October member meeting for his receipt of the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award.  Pictured from Left to Right: Sam, Sally, Bob, and Laurie Cone.

Bob Cone’s family was in attendance at the October member meeting for his receipt of the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award. Pictured from Left to Right: Sam, Sally, Bob, and Laurie Cone.

Message from the President, Nov 2016

November will be a busy month with a Special Session of the Court of Appeals here in Greensboro, commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the District Court Division of the General Court of Justice, re-establishment of our local Fee Dispute Resolution Committee, and commencement of our Habitat for Humanity House project.

On November 30, together with the High Point Bar, we will host a Special Session of the North Carolina Court of Appeals to recognize our own recently appointed Judge Wendy Enochs. Members of the Bars, law students, and the general public are invited to attend. The session will be held in the old Superior Court Room (present Commissioners Room) of the Old Courthouse, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The three Judge Panel will hear formal arguments on two cases. Following arguments, the panel will take questions from those in attendance. There will be a social at 4:30 p.m.

The November 17 member meeting will be a joint meeting with the High Point Bar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the District Court Division. Chief District Court Judge Jarrell and colleagues from the District Court Bench will present a program including valuable information to help us practice in their various courts.

I am pleased to report that we received a huge response to our request for volunteers to serve on the 18th Judicial District Bar Fee Dispute Resolution Committee. Typically, clients contact the State Bar on fee disputes either incident to a perceived grievance or after they receive from their attorney the written notice required by Rule 1.5(f) of the Revised Rules of Professional Conduct prior to initiating legal proceedings to collect a fee. If the State Bar feels the matter is appropriate for the Fee Dispute Resolution Process, the client’s petition is forwarded to our local chair for further handling. Jeff Oleynik (336.271.3182; joleynik@brookspierce.com) has agreed to chair the committee. Although fee disputes can be handled at either the State Bar or local level, a significant difference is that on the local level (in addition to free mediation), our committee is authorized to offer binding arbitration as an option if both parties agree.

Finally, we will be requesting financial contributions and commitments to help build our eighth Habitat for Humanity House. Bill Cooke (336.272.4514; wocjr@bellsouth.net) and Nancy Ferguson (336.665.1314; nancy.ferguson@ctt.com) have graciously agreed to co-chair these efforts. If you are willing to contribute, volunteer, handle sign-ups for your office or help solicit others to contribute and/or volunteer, please contact either Bill or Nancy. This is a great project that allows us a unique opportunity to develop relationships with members of our Bar who we would not otherwise work with, while at the same time benefiting the purchaser of the home and the community.

URGENT: Volunteer Attorneys Needed to Assist Hurricane Matthew Survivors

The North Carolina Bar Association, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division are partnering to provide free legal services to low-income survivors of Hurricane Matthew.

Volunteer pro bono attorneys are needed to address the legal needs of the survivors.

The types of legal assistance available to survivors include:

  • Assistance with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims;
  • Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
  • Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
  • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster;
  • Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and
  • Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

To serve as a volunteer attorney, email both Cabell Clay (cabellclay@mvalaw.com) and Rachel Blunk (RMB@sharpless-stavola.com) with your name, email, phone number, and the areas of law with which you are willing to assist (i.e. insurance claims, property issues, landlord-tenant issues, general, etc.)

It is anticipated that the largest needs will relate to insurance, landlord-tenant and FEMA issues. Volunteer attorneys with experience in these areas are especially needed.

A special toll-free telephone number has been established at North Carolina Bar Association to receive requests for legal help. Storm victims needing help with legal problems may call the NCBA, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1-800-662-7407. All calls are screened, and then referred to volunteer attorneys who agree to offer a telephone consultation, providing free legal advice for disaster-related problems.

The Disaster Legal Services Hotline was activated Monday, Oct. 10, by the declaration of a federal disaster by President Obama for the following North Carolina counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt and Robeson. Additional designations, the declaration order stated, may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Volunteer lawyers must agree not to accept fee generating cases from the disaster victims they help. Volunteer lawyers will answer most legal questions by telephone. Training resources will be available. Callers who need representation in court or who have issues requiring fee-generating services should be referred to the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-662-7660 or www.NCFindALawyer.org.

New Members, Approved on October 12, 2016

Rosetta Davidson
City of Greensboro
Endorsed by Jennifer P. Schneier

William F. Fong
Hensel Law, PLLC
Endorsed by Craig P. Hensel

William Andrew Kelly
City of Greensboro
Endorsed by Jennifer P. Schneier

Scottie Forbes Lee
North Carolina Business Court
Endorsed by James L. Gale

Christopher Joseph Rosette
Tuggle Duggins, P.A
Endorsed by J. Nathan Duggins, III

Steve Robertson

In Praise of One Gentleman of the Greensboro Bar

by  Steve Robertson

Greetings from one of your local State Bar Councilors.  I write today after our monthly meeting where Bob Cone was presented with the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award. I came to the practice of law a little later than most of my colleagues, so I have had experience in some other occupations. No matter where I’ve worked, I can think back fondly on those who gave me the benefit of their wisdom and experience and extended some compassion to me when I was uninitiated. I have always been fortunate to have had mentors or role models – those I admire most – who are one step ahead in experience, service to others, and success in the profession.

When I moved to Greensboro, I joined Temple Emanuel. My kids were raised there. I don’t remember exactly when I met Bob Cone, but we had children of similar ages.  In 2001, soon after I started practicing law, we had a small case together. We became friends, in some measure, because Bob and Sally were fans of my son Eric’s musical performances. They seldom missed one of his Greensboro shows. Our path’s crossed when Bob mediated a fee dispute between a client and me in his capacity as Bar Councilor. I settled for half the fee I was owed. In all my dealings with Bob, I admired his deliberate style and patience.

We next spent some time together, professionally, in what Bob and I refer to fondly as the “clown mediation.” I showed up for a mediation at Bob’s office where a clown, who was a friend of the opposing party, appeared. I objected to the non-party clown being in the room or involved in any way. Bob talked me down from the objection, and to this day, I would say that the successful conclusion he brought about as a skilled mediator would not have been possible without the clown’s presence and input.

I am pleased and honored to join Barbara Christie as one of your two Bar Councilors. As Barbara said at the recent public meeting of the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, the lawyers who volunteer as councilors have one thing in common – we all care deeply about the profession and its well-being. I learned these values from all of the great mentors and leaders that are a part of our Greensboro Bar, and especially from Bob. I owe Bob a great debt of gratitude for encouraging me to get involved in this gratifying work. I am honored to have been chosen as his successor on the Council.

Steve Robertson has practiced in Greensboro for 16 years. He is a Board Certified Family Law attorney with the Higgins Benjamin firm.