C. Scott Meyers has joined the business law firm Connors Morgan, PLLC, as Of Counsel. Meyers brings in-depth experience in bankruptcy cases as well as superior litigation skills developed during his tenure at some of the area’s largest law firms. He has led teams representing both local and national clients through complex business litigation issues.
“We are pleased to welcome Scott to our firm,” said Karen McKeithen Schaede, a partner at Connors Morgan. “He brings deep skills in a new area of practice for us – creditors’ rights in bankruptcy – as well as high-level experience litigating in state, federal and business courts.”
Meyers’ areas of expertise also include helping closely-held business entities efficiently resolve their disputes, litigating trade-secret issues and handling departing employee cases involving non-compete clauses.
“Here at Connors Morgan, I look forward to providing that same level of high-quality representation that you would expect from a large firm, scaled to meet the needs of businesses and individuals who do not necessarily need a large team of lawyers working their case,” Meyers said.
Meyers earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Virginia Tech and his law degree from George Mason University, Antonin Scalia School of Law. After law school, Meyers served as law clerk for Judge William L. Osteen Sr. in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Prior to joining Connors Morgan, Meyers practiced at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP, and, most recently, at Ellis & Winters, LLP, in Greensboro. He is admitted to practice in North Carolina and Virginia.
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
The beauty of that quotation resonated at the September 16th dedication of the GBA’s eighth Habitat for Humanity house. Palpable joy and love were felt by all who witnessed the R’Mah family’s emotional words of thanks. Our thanks and congratulations to Bill Cooke, who drove this project from inception to completion, as well as to all GBA members who donated or volunteered on the project.
The spirit of service also shone brightly at last month’s member meeting. Many of our committee chairs spoke about the activities and goals of their respective committees, and encouraged our members to join them. As a result of their efforts, 21 members signed up for new committees! It is not too late to sign up for a committee. If you would like to participate, please complete the sign-up sheet included in this newsletter. Thanks to all who signed up, and we look forward to planting some trees with you in the very near future!
On Friday, October 13th at 3:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room of the Old County Courthouse, our Young Lawyers Section will host the annual swearing-in ceremony for newly licensed attorneys. Judges from both federal and state court will give remarks before swearing-in the attorneys. Please consider attending this uplifting event and supporting Greensboro’s newest lawyers.
Our next member meeting will take place on Thursday, October 19th at 12:30 p.m. in the Empire Room. The meeting will feature an informative presentation on the Middle District of North Carolina’s Civics Initiative. Launched in March 2017 as part of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts’ nationwide civics outreach program for middle and high school students, the Middle District offers many different interactive programs (both at the courthouse and at high schools) including the role of the federal judiciary, the law of sentencing, and the search and seizure law of the Fourth Amendment. To learn more about this educational and important initiative, please come to the meeting and visit www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/node/529.
I hope your fall is off to a great start, and I look forward to seeing you at the swearing-in and the member meeting.
Last month, the Young Lawyers Section partnered with Backpack Beginnings and stuffed 57 backpacks as part of their comfort backpack program. Thank you to all YLS members who were able to join us. On Friday, October 13, 2017, the YLS will be hosting its annual Swearing-In Ceremony along with its Bridge the Gap program. More details can be found below.
Bridge the Gap Program. Our Bridge the Gap Program provides a great opportunity for new lawyers to tour the Federal, State, and Bankruptcy Courts. Other attorneys are also welcome to join us. We will meet at 9:00 am in front of the Federal Courthouse. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Nicole Patino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swearing-in Ceremony. Each year the Young Lawyers Section sponsors a Swearing-In Ceremony for the admission of newly licensed attorneys to the state and federal courts. Our Swearing-In Ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m at the Commissioners’ Meeting Room in the Old Guilford County Courthouse. We would love for members of the GBA to join us and support our newly licensed attorneys. Friends and family are also invited to celebrate the occasion. Cell phones and cameras will be permitted at the event. If you are a newly licensed attorney or you know a newly licensed attorney, please e-mail Kristen Redman at email@example.com to receive the application materials.
Reception. A reception serving complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be held in honor of all newly sworn-in attorneys immediately following the Swearing-In Ceremony at Churchill’s on Elm (213 South Elm Street). We invite you and your guests to attend this reception.
Connect with Us. Do you want more information about upcoming YLS events or how you can get involved? Check out our website at www.greensboroyls.org. E-mail Grant Sigmon (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make sure you are on the listserv. Also follow us on Facebook (Greensboro Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section). If you missed the opportunity to connect with YLS in September, we hope to see you at the Swearing-In Ceremony and/or reception on October 13, 2017!
The NCBA Young Lawyers Division will be holding a Wills for Heroes event in Greensboro, North Carolina on Saturday, October 28, from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (the last appointment will be scheduled at 4:00 pm) at the Elon University School of Law. Volunteer registration and additional event information will be available on the NCBA website in October.
We need as much help as possible! Licensed NC attorneys are needed to draft the Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Powers of Attorney. Paralegals, notaries, and law students are also needed to notarize and witness the execution of documents. No prior estate planning background is required to serve as an attorney or non-attorney volunteer. Please consider volunteering all day, but we appreciate any time that you can volunteer.
Ward Black Law attorney Afi Johnson-Parris recently served as a faculty member at the Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute in Boulder, Colorado sponsored by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) Family Law Section. NITA’s team of professors, judges, and practicing lawyers apply their knowledge, credentials and experience to train and develop legal advocates that will help improve the adversarial judicial system. Johnson-Parris was invited as an expert in the area of family law trial advocacy to teach other lawyers about presenting child custody, equitable distribution, and divorce cases in court.
On the heels of returning from NITA, it was also announced that Johnson-Parris had earned the distinction of being named by U.S. News & World Report to The 2018 Best Lawyers in America© listing in the area of family law. Best Lawyers© has been regarded as one of the most reliable and unbiased sources for legal referrals in the country for more than 30 years. Recipients of the Best Lawyers© distinction have been chosen by other attorneys using confidential, exhaustive peer evaluations.
“I am incredibly honored to be held in such high regard by my peers,” said Afi Johnson-Parris. “It is also humbling to be recognized as a leader in my field and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to invest in the careers of fellow legal advocates.”
In 2013, Afi Johnson-Parris joined forces with Ward Black Law combining her existing family law practice with the opportunity to also pursue her passion for helping veterans through a veterans disability practice. A North Carolina Board Certified Family Law Specialist, Johnson-Parris was recently named the 2017 Legal Elite Winner for family law by Business North Carolina magazine. Johnson- Parris is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to attending law school, she attended the University of Miami on a ROTC scholarship and later served as an officer in the Air Force. During her service, she continued in her pursuit of education, earning an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix- Southern Colorado Campus.
At a dedication ceremony on Saturday, September 16, we celebrated the completion of the Greensboro Bar’s Habitat House No. 8 with our homeowner family, the R’mahs. It was a joyous occasion highlighted by a moving expression of appreciation from Tona, the father, who described his family’s flight from Vietnam to escape persecution. They escaped to a refugee camp in Cambodia and eventually found their way to Greensboro and to Habitat. Tona struggled to find his words in English and was so overcome that he had to speak in his native tongue to fully express his feelings. We have developed an especially strong relationship with this family as we have worked on the site with them to build this house. They will now own the house and will pay back the cost to Habitat through their monthly mortgage payments.
We have previously conveyed our thanks to all of you who contributed so generously to raise the $50,000 that was required for this project. We now need to thank all of you who contributed your time and effort to make the project a success:
Ken Keller, who gave his full support to the project, worked on the site, and contributed generously to the cost.
The following law firms who organized work crews: Oxner Permar, Schell Bray, Nexsen Pruet and Brooks Pierce.
The Federal Court Unity Committee, led by Sarah Roane, who took on two of the workdays.
The District Court judges, led by Judge Vincent, who contributed money and a workcrew to this house, as they have on our previous Habitat projects.
The UNCG Student Veteran’s Association, led by Tyler Freeman, who partnered with us on the work site. We hope to continue our partnership together.
Justice Paul Newby, who once again gave his support to our work and who worked on the first workday.
Nancy Ferguson, who once again provided leadership for the project.
Diane Lowe, who kept us organized and on task throughout the fundraising and building effort.
And, of course, all of the many volunteers who worked on the site, some multiple times, to build a first class home and share the effort with our partner family.
Our Habitat projects have become a part of the rich tradition of the Greensboro Bar Association, now going back 25 years to our first Habitat house in 1991. Our long-standing and on-going commitment to Habitat has made us unique among the Bar Associations in this country and is a testament to our commitment to serve the needs of low-income families in our community.
Now we need to be looking ahead to House No. 9.
Many thanks to you all,
Volunteers are needed to serve food to the less fortunate at the Urban Ministry’s Potter’s House. Shifts are from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community in the company of fellow members of the bar. We need help on the following Sundays:
Oct. 15, Nov. 19, and Dec. 17
Please email Melissa Duncan at email@example.com if you are able to help and write POTTER’S HOUSE in the subject line.
Asheville lawyer, Tom Grella, is the author of the ABA publication, Lessons in Leadership: Essential Skills for Lawyers.
In Tom’s book, he states, “not only are lawyers difficult to manage, they are even more difficult to lead.” Tom served for 12 years as the managing partner for his firm, McGuire Wood & Bissette in Asheville, as well as serving as the Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. I expect that Tom knows quite a bit about the difficulties of leading lawyers. Yet, Tom finds leadership to be deeply fulfilling, though something that is always a work in progress.
Tom opens his book with a John Maxwell quote, “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” For people who have followed “leaders” who lead by force, rule or intimidation, this is a welcome definition. How can you be a leader by influence?
Respect. Do not rely on your title as “leader” to earn you the ability to lead. Being an effective leader does not happen when the new leadership term begins. Rather, respect is a journey we take together. I see you in action, I hear that your words match your actions and over time, I trust you. You have earned my respect.
Trust. A leader creates an atmosphere where mutual trust resides. It takes time to develop trust yet trust can be squandered in an instant. Trust grows when our actions speak louder than our words. An effective leader does much more than make an impassioned inaugural address when stepping up to lead the committee or the organization.
Be positive. Being positive is not the default attitude for everyone. Those with a negative outlook on life or a negative view of their organization are going to have to work hard to overcome negativity. Negativity will weaken company morale, it will defeat your managers and it will beat down your employees. We have the ability to improve our attitude and to increase our positivity quotient. But first you must realize that negativity is going to hurt your leadership ability and you have to make efforts to work around it.
Be authentic. Tom says, “Allow followers to be honest with you, and be honest with them. Such honesty is difficult in a law firm, largely because of the very flat organizational structure, with licensed lawyers on the top level and everyone else beneath. Empowerment is about giving someone else the power not only to take action but also to speak up honestly without the fear of negative consequence. Authenticity needs to be understood as a two-way street.”
Vision. A leader’s job is to motivate the members to create organizational purpose. Or vision. Your law firm should have a vision. Your bar organization should have a vision. An effective leader guides all members towards that vision rather than having members off on disparate journeys. Tom quotes Andy Stanley, “Vision is a preferred future. A destination. Vision demands change. A vision requires an individual who has the courage to act out an idea.”
Courage. A leader will make difficult decisions. A leader will look for the path less traveled. A leader will look to the future rather than reviewing the past. Tom uses the example of dealing with difficult situations head-on as courageous, rather than implementing policies as an easy way out. Every law firm leader I know has chosen the option of expanding the dress code, rather than having difficult conversations with individuals about using good judgment in choosing professional dress. Be courageous and your members will follow you.
“We need better leaders” is a common refrain for every ill facing us from politics to religion to business. How can you improve your leadership skills this year?
- Find a mentor. Look for a firm leader or a bar leader and ask for guidance.
- Be a student. Listen to podcasts, one of my favorite ways of learning. Search for leadership topics on your app or Google.
- Read. Lawyers Mutual’s Lending Library, a free service available to our insureds, includes Tom’s book on leadership, as well as “Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law”.
- Visit our website, www.lawyersmutualnc.com, to view books and checkout procedures.
Visit the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro or online at www.ccl.org, for articles and classes.
Good luck in becoming the leader that others desire to follow.
Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual. Continue this conversation with Camille at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.662.8843.
NC South Asian Bar Association Event
NC SABA 919-302-7627
Marbles Kids Museum,
Oak City Homelessness Shelter,
Brewery Bhavana – Raleigh, NC
Saturday October 14, 9:45 AM to 2:30 PM
Join the North Carolina South Asian Bar Association for its first event! Learn more about the organization, participate in a great service activity, and have lunch with your fellow attorneys! Please contact Dharmi Tailor at email@example.com or 919-302-7627 for more details.