Attendees Share Best Advice

During the GBA meeting on Sept. 15, the Membership Committee posed a question as part of an icebreaker activity.  Attendees were asked to share their best advice received pertaining to the practice of law.  Below are some of their responses:

  • Always do the right thing.
  • Remember that the most valuable thing you have as an attorney is your credibility.
  • Be candid and transparent.
  • See your clients in jail as much as you possibly can.  You may be the only one they see.
  • Don’t comment too much from the bench.
  • If you mess up, fess up!
  • Slow & steady.
  • When dealing with parties before you in court, remember that human beings are fallible,
    and they are there because they screwed up–but they remain human beings that should be treated with dignity.
  • Make sure to be involved in activities unrelated to the law that you have a passion for and do the best you can with it–you need balance!
  • In doing trial work, use the restroom at every break–you don’t know when the next recess will be called.
  • Return calls the same day.
  • You have two ears and one mouth–listen often.
  • Don’t take thing personally in litigation. It is business.
  • Take your reputation and work seriously when
    you work with a group that took years to build
    its reputation.
  • Your word is your bond.
  • Don’t cry over spilled milk;
    it could have been whiskey.
  • Be patient and don’t panic.
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • As a lawyer you won’t get wealthy, but you’ll
    enjoy yourself, eat well & enjoy the camaraderie
    of good people.
  • If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.
  • Get paid up front.
  • If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything.
  • If all parties are unhappy, then you’ve reached
    a good settlement.
  • Upon graduating from high school, my great uncle sent me a long letter of advice
    which included not needing to know everything and not to be dismayed at not mastering all dance steps.
  • Get a good night’s sleep; the quality of your life
    is 10% what happens to you and 90% your attitude!
  • Pick up the phone and call.

National Pro Bono Week Celebration

Last year, more than half of the individuals who applied for assistance from a North Carolina legal aid organization could not be served.  National data echoes the same trend – too many of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues are in need of legal help but cannot afford a lawyer.

The National Pro Bono Week Celebration brings attention to the ever-growing need for pro bono services and recognizes the valuable contributions of lawyers who volunteer their legal services to individuals in need.  Members of the North Carolina legal community are putting the spotlight on pro bono work from October 23-29, 2016 as part of this National Celebration.   

During Pro Bono Week, North Carolina legal aid programs, bar associations, law firms, law schools, pro bono programs, and others will celebrate pro bono by recognizing volunteers, offering training, providing pro bono legal services at clinics, hosting events to raise money for legal aid, and raising awareness of the need for pro bono.

And the need is great. There is only one legal aid attorney for every 13,170 low-income people in North Carolina.  There is one private attorney for every 562 North Carolinians.  Last year, lawyers across North Carolina gave more than 27,000 hours to help legal aid organizations provide critical assistance to low-income North Carolinians struggling with civil legal problems ranging from domestic violence to foreclosure.  The total value of the pro bono volunteer contributions exceeded
$5.4 million in 2015.

For more information about events in your area, visit  For more information about how to volunteer for a pro bono project in your area, visit and

New Members Approved on September 14, 2016

Erin C.V. Bailey
Tuggle Duggins P.A.
Endorsed by Michael J. Wenig

Vanessa Beltran-Ortiz
Egerton & Associates
Endorsed Wendy Nolan

Ryan Hamilton Blackledge
Cone Health
Endorsed by Robert B. Carter

William Michael Boyer
Carolina Craft Legal
Endorsed by Elizabeth Long

Jerry Lee Eagle
Endorsed by Frank Sutherland

R. Robert El-Jaouhari
Adams & Winfree
Endorsed by Charles H. Winfree

Elliot Engstrom
Elon University School of Law
Endorsed by Enrique Armijo

Camala C. Francis
Crumley Roberts
Endorsed by Eric A. Richardson

Daniel R. Francis
Crumley Roberts
Endorsed by Eric A. Richardson

Leila Alyce Hicks
Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc.
Endorsed by Alicia C. Edwards

Brian Patrick Hogan
Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc.
Endorsed by Miriam Heard

Michael D. Jefferson
Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP
Endorsed by Neale T. Johnson

Jonathan L. Jenkins
Schell Bray PLLC
Endorsed by Thomas C. Watkins

Ellis Wilson Martin
Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP
Endorsed by Whit D. Pierce

Marcus Allen Shields
Guilford County
Public Defender’s Office

Endorsed by David E. Clark

Robert Michael Wells, Jr.
Wells Law, PLLC
Endorsed by Jillian E. Brevorka

Rebekah Wolfe
Ward Black Law
Endorsed by Janet Ward Black

Galina “Allie” Petrova

Petrova Law Opens

Galina “Allie” Petrova

Galina “Allie” Petrova

Galina “Allie” Petrova is pleased to announce the opening of her law office.  The firm’s core practice areas are tax planning, tax controversy and business law.  Allie helps business owners navigate through lifecycle events involving formation, financing, operations and exit.

Allie earned her J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center and her undergraduate degree from Greensboro College.  Before launching her practice, she practiced corporate law in Greensboro.  Prior to returning home to Greensboro, Allie advised clients on M&A tax matters in New York City.  To her law practice, she brings practical business experience in corporate treasury and financial reporting.  She is actively engaged in the Tax Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Allie can be reached at 336.310.1210 or


Swearing-In & Bridge The Gap Oct. 14

Attention all newly licensed attorneys. The Young Lawyers Section of the Greensboro Bar Association is sponsoring a Swearing-In Ceremony for the admission of newly licensed attorneys to the state and federal courts on Friday, October 14, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room located on the second floor of the Old Courthouse (301 W. Market Street). This ceremony is also open to newly licensed attorneys (who have already been admitted to state and/or federal court) who simply want to participate in the ceremony and be introduced to the Greensboro Bar Association.

A reception serving complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, will be held in honor of all newly sworn-in attorneys immediately following the ceremony at Churchill’s on Elm.

In addition to the Swearing-In Ceremony and reception, the Young Lawyers Section of the Greensboro Bar Association has also organized an optional event on October 14th known as Bridge The Gap, which gives new attorneys in Guilford County an opportunity to become familiar with the local court systems by touring the Federal, State, and Bankruptcy Courts. This program starts at 9:00 a.m. on October 14th at the U.S. Federal Courthouse. Newly licensed attorneys are invited and encouraged to attend.

Click on 2016-17 Swearing-In Packet for the application and more information.

If you have any questions about the Swearing-In Ceremony, the reception, and/or Bridge The Gap, please contact Lisa Arthur, President of the Young Lawyers Section, at 336-378-5318 or Lisa Arthur.

Joint Meeting of 18 & 18-H Judicial District Bars Scheduled for September 29

A SPECIAL JOINT MEETING OF THE 18th and 18-H JUDICIAL DISTRICT BARS will be held on September 29, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room (the Old Superior Court Room) at the Old Guilford County Courthouse at 301 West Market Street in Greensboro, NC, to 1) amend the Bylaws of the 18th Judicial District (click on Bylaws with Proposed Amendments to review proposed revisions); and 2) select nominees to submit to the Governor to fill the District Court judicial vacancy occasioned by the July 31, 2016 retirement of the Honorable District Court Judge Wendy Enochs. Member check-in and distribution of ballots will begin at 3:00 p.m.

Notice of Joint Meeting of 18th & 18-H Judicial District Bars

Bylaws with Proposed Amendments

View List of Candidates and Profiles

Kenneth R. Keller, President, Greensboro Bar Association

Message from the President, Sept 2016

With service and Bar initiatives and selection of nominees for District Court judgeships, we have a full agenda for 2016-17.  On local service and Bar initiatives, we are continuing our successful book project at Jones Elementary, local CLE/Colloquium offerings, annual fundraiser for Legal Aid, Herb Falk Society, Holiday Party at Elon, Second Chance Expungement project, and a day of service with multiple projects.  As the year progresses, we will feature details on each in this newsletter.

On statewide Bar initiatives, our first speaker will be Will Robinson, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice.  Chief Justice Mark Martin convened the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ) in September of 2015 and charged its members to evaluate the North Carolina judicial system and provide recommendations for strengthening our courts. Commission members were drawn statewide from business, academia, the bar, the non-profit sector, the Legislature, and the Judicial Branch to ensure a well-rounded evaluation of the judicial system.  Each of the members serves on one of five NCCALJ committees studying the areas of civil justice, criminal investigation and adjudication, legal professionalism, public trust and confidence, and technology.

Presently, public hearings are being conducted throughout the state to obtain feedback from the public.  On August 3, 2016, over 100 people attended the hearing held at GTCC.  Overwhelmingly, comments were in favor of raising the jurisdictional age for non-violent juvenile criminal offenses and changing the process by which judges are selected.  The Committee will be taking comments through August 31, 2016 (information and forms are at and we encourage you to comment.

On the 18th Judicial District Bar front, we will be sending out notices in the near future announcing a joint 18th Judicial District/18H Judicial District Bar meeting to select 5 nominees for the District Court Judge position that has become vacant with the resignation of Judge Enochs.  As part of the meeting, we anticipate that we will also be submitting proposed amendments to both the 18th Judicial District Bylaws and the Bylaws for High Point’s 18H Judicial District to harmonize the Bylaws for both districts, allow notice by e-mail, and comply with section 7A-142 requirements for the selection process.

Your Board of Directors and Committee Chairs are already actively at work and, with your involvement, look forward to a productive year!

Legal Aid CLE – September 1

Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Advocates for Children’s Services is getting ready for the school year and is putting on a CLE that will be free for those who are currently and are interested in volunteering with Legal Aid. The cost is $75 otherwise. Education rights of children is an important topic and we are looking forward working with everyone who would like to volunteer. The training will focus on school discipline, special education, enrollment, and bullying issues.

CLE: The Kids are Alright: Zealously Representing Students in Education Matters

Thursday, September 1, 2016. 12-1:30 p.m..
1.5 hours of general CLE credit.

Register at:

Tom Kane

Do Your Clients Refer You or Your Firm To Others? Most Don’t!

By Tom Kane (Reprinted from Tom’s dated June 9, 2016)

According to a survey by The BTI Consulting Group, only 40.1% of clients recommend their primary law firm to a peer. As bad as that statistic is, the good news is that it is better by almost 7% over the previous year, and better slightly than five years ago.  According to the survey it “still leaves more than half of all clients wanting.”

As I, and many others have consistently stated, clients hire lawyers they know, like and trust.  Clients consider not only the quality of the legal product, but also how the services are provided.  Referrals from satisfied clients is the “express lane” to more work and new business.

So, what should you do?  A few recommendations include:

Seek feedback (No. 3 on my list of Top Ten Marketing Tips)

Set goals that match those of the client

Invest in understanding the client’s business (a failing I’ve heard from clients over the years)

Don’t wait for the client to ask about succession plans

Educate the clients “in new, high-value topics” (off-the-clock I would add)

The good news is that more and more firms, according to BTI, are doing a better job of systematically adopting practices to “improve client service on a continuing basis.”

Are you and your firm doing the same?

Tom Kane is a member of the Greensboro Bar Association and former NC Assistant Attorney General. He has spent the past 30-plus years as an in-house legal marketer and consultant to law firms throughout the U.S. He is the author of He can be reached at (386) 225-9612.

Brooks Pierce Partner Becomes President of North Carolina Bar Association

Kearns Davis, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, was sworn in as the 122nd president of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) on June 25 at the organization’s annual meeting in Charlotte. Davis is the second Brooks Pierce attorney to serve as president of the NCBA. Aubrey Brooks, one of the firm’s founding partners, led the association from 1916-1917.

“I’m deeply honored by the trust my fellow lawyers have placed in me. I look forward to working with attorneys, judges and citizens across the state to help meet the legal challenges of our time,” Davis said. “Brooks Pierce was built on a foundation of service and leadership in the legal profession and the communities we serve. I’m deeply grateful for my partners’ tremendous support.”

Davis heads Brooks Pierce’s white-collar criminal defense and investigations practice, and handles a wide range of federal and business litigation. He previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, where he was the United States’ lead prosecutor in felony trials for a broad spectrum of federal crimes, and as a law clerk to the late Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has taught trial advocacy at the University of North Carolina School of Law, the Elon University School of Law, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center.

“Since joining Brooks Pierce in 1996, Kearns has demonstrated the Brooks Pierce brand of extraordinary commitment to our clients, exceptional integrity, and mastery of a demanding practice, all while taking on many leadership roles within the North Carolina Bar Association,” said Reid Phillips, the firm’s managing partner. “He is truly dedicated to advancing the legal profession. The North Carolina Bar Association could not have chosen a better lawyer or more accomplished leader to be its next president.”