GBA’s Mix And Mingle Brings In New Members

On Wednesday, November 9th, the Greensboro Bar Association’s Membership Committee hosted a Happy Hour Social at Joymonger’s Brewery in downtown Greensboro. The event was planned in an effort to increase membership, while also offering an additional opportunity for Greensboro Bar Association Members to gather, socialize and network. In addition to the craft beers that were available, the GBA provided delicious appetizers prepared by the Baconessence Food Truck. The beers and food received favorable reviews by those who attended. In addition to the great food, beverages and fellowship, the evening was very successful as the membership committee signed up six new GBA members.

Stay tuned! The Greensboro Bar Association Membership Committee will be hosting a similar event in the spring.


Tom Kane

Kane: Networking During the Holidays

Networking During the Holidays

By Tom Kane (Reposted from Tom’s dated December 18, 2007)

With the crush of year-end and the busyness of the holidays, I decided to post an encore of a holiday post I did in 2007 on reaching out to clients and referral sources by telephone during the holidays.  Personal attention is better than (but not to the exclusion of) holiday cards. Here it is:

Work Your Network During the Holidays

It’s a good idea to touch base with contacts within your network during the holidays. It’s even better than sending holiday cards. Pick up the phone and reach out to everyone you know (okay, if you are THAT popular, not everyone) and wish them a happy holiday season. It especially makes sense to at least speak to every referral source and client, including those you haven’t done work for lately or received a recent referral.

And talking about networking, I thought I would call your attention to a post I did in December 2005 entitled “Ignore Your Friends At the ‘Business’ Holiday Party.”  The premise of that post was that you can get together with your friends anytime, so use business-related holiday parties as productive networking and business development opportunities that you can cultivate further during the next year.  Give that post a look if you are interested in reading more of my thoughts on that subject.

Again, Happy Holiday(ing) everyone!

Opportunity: Contract GAL Attorney Advocate

Contract GAL Attorney Advocate

SALARY: Contract will be for a monthly flat rate, based on annual caseload. Currently the rate will be $2,823.50 per month, for 1-1-2017 – 6-15-2017.  This contract can be renewed for the upcoming fiscal year, July 1, 2017-June 15, 2018.

LOCATION: Judicial District 15A (Alamance County)

POSITION TYPE: Contractor – no benefits
(Beginning date: January 1, 2017)

DESCRIPTION OF WORK: The statewide Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) provides legal representation of abused, neglected and/or dependent children in juvenile court proceedings. This advocacy is through trained volunteers, staff, and attorneys.  The Attorney Advocate is mandated by statute to protect the legal interests of children and represent their best interests in these proceedings.  The Attorney Advocate also counsels and meets with the GAL volunteers and staff on a weekly basis regarding the legal interests of child clients to promote their safety, well-being, and permanency.  The Attorney Advocate is expected to be in court for all DSS court sessions in Alamance County.

TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must have a Juris Doctor degree with a license to practice law in North Carolina and be a member of the NC State Bar in good standing.  Strong litigation experience is required.  Experience in juvenile court is essential and candidates should have a thorough understanding of the North Carolina Juvenile Code and relevant case law.   Excellent oral and written communication skills are required.  Effective court advocacy is essential with good negotiation skills and the ability to draft any necessary motions or memorandum of law.  In addition to legal advocacy, successful candidates should have the ability to maintain effective working relationships and be available to meet with volunteer GALS and staff on an as needed basis.

HOW TO APPLY:  Submit a cover letter and resume by December 11, 2016 to:

Valerie Chaffin, GAL District Administrator at

For more information contact Valerie Chaffin at 336-570-5278

Ward Black Law’s Toys for Tots Kick-off Event


The public is invited to stop by 208 West Wendover Avenue anytime from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
Friday, December 2, 2016 and donate new, unwrapped gifts for children ages from infant to 12-years-old.

Ward Black Law is pleased to partner with the United States Marine Corps Reserves for this event.

There will be food, music, crafts, prizes… and Santa!

Donations will be accepted through December 16, 2016. For more information go to

Two Brooks Pierce Attorneys Honored by Guilford County Black Lawyers Association

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye, who was of counsel with Brooks Pierce before retiring this spring, and associate Justin Outling were honored at the Guilford County Black Lawyers Association’s Inaugural Scholarship & Recognition Gala on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Frye was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and Outling was recognized with the “Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.”

“Henry and Justin truly exemplify what it means to be a leader, both in the legal profession and in the community. We are very proud that Guilford County Black Lawyers Association has chosen to recognize them and their accomplishments,” said Reid Phillips, Brooks Pierce’s managing partner.

North Carolina Chief Justice Henry Frye

North Carolina Chief Justice Henry Frye

Frye began his career in private practice handling a variety of legal matters. In 1963, he was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, one of the first African-Americans to be appointed to that position in the South. In 1968, Frye became the first African-American to be elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in the 20th century. He served in the state House for 12 years and was then elected to a two-year term in the North Carolina Senate. In 1983, Frye became the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and in 1999 he was appointed Chief Justice, another first. After joining Brooks Pierce in 2001, Frye focused his practice on appellate advocacy, mediation and commercial arbitration.

“I am honored the Guilford County Black Lawyers Association has chosen to recognize me with this award,” Frye said. “I have been fortunate throughout my career to have a strong network of people who believed in me and encouraged me to continue to take on new challenges and new roles, and I am very humbled to have served as a role model for so many.”

Justin Outling

Justin Outling

Outling focuses his practice on business litigation and white-collar criminal defense. He helps businesses and professionals in a variety of industries, and has successfully brought and defended lawsuits in a wide range of matters. Outling is also a member of the Greensboro City Council, representing District 3, and is very active with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, his alma mater.

“It is such an honor to receive this award from the Guilford County Black Lawyers Association and to be recognized by a group of attorneys whom I admire,” Outling said. “I look forward to continuing to grow in my career and finding new ways to give back to this community that means so much to me.”

The Guilford County Association of Black Lawyers consists of licensed attorneys practicing or living in Guilford County. The purpose of the organization is to provide a forum for the discussion and advancement of ideas to promote the general welfare of the black community.

Give the Gift of Reading This Season

Please make your donation to the Elementary School Project now to help keep the holiday book program at Jones Elementary a wonderful Greensboro Bar Association tradition.

With the support of member donations, the Elementary School Project committee will purchase books for all 198 of the K-5 children in the Neighborhood Leadership Program (non-Spanish immersion) at Jones Elementary School. We invite you to help wrap them in bright, colorful paper at our Annual Holiday Party and deliver the books to the children on Tuesday, December 20th at 8:30 a.m.

As anyone who has participated in delivering the books knows, the children will be beyond delighted and thrilled to receive a gift. And while most of the kids tear the paper off with glee, a few children decide not to open their books immediately, instead taking them home, still wrapped, because they don’t know if they’ll have any other gifts to open on Christmas Day.

We will purchase the books from the Scholastic Book Fair at Jones Elementary, which serves as a school fundraiser. This allows the GBA to participate in the school’s fundraising efforts and to provide books to the students.

Thanks to the generosity of our members, this program has endured as a great success throughout the years. Now that the “Season of Giving” is upon us, the time has come to ask for your continued support. Donations are tax-deductible. Donation receipts will be sent to each donor.

Please make checks payable to the Greensboro Bar Association Foundation, with “Elementary School Project” in the memo line. We are accepting checks by mail or in person from now until the Holiday Party.

If you would like to volunteer to help deliver the books to the children on Tuesday, December 20, please contact one of the Elementary School Project co-chairs: Erin Reis, at, or Adam Kerr, at

Thank you in advance for your continuing support – the children and teachers at Jones thank you too!

Jones Elementary Book Project

Jones Elementary Book Project

Jones Elementary Book Project

Jones Elementary Book Project

Jones Elementary Book Project

Jones Elementary Book Project

New Members, Approved on November 9, 2016

Clinton H. Cogburn
Tuggle Duggins P.A.
Endorsed by Blake P. Hurt

Regan Michelle Gatlin
Burton, Sue & Anderson, LLP
Endorsed by Walter K. Burton

Stephanie Marie Goldsborough
Dummit Fradin
Endorsed by Megan E. Spidell

Joshua O. Harper 
Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP
Endorsed by Whit D. Pierce

Mary Grace Roberson Linthicum
Oxner & Permar, PLLC
Endorsed by Eric A. Richardson

Kelvin D. Smith
Cuadra Smith Legal Group, PLLC
Endorsed by Tiffany D. Atkins

Andrew David Steffensen
Schell Bray PLLC
Endorsed by Doris R. Bray

Matthew Brady Tynan
Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
Endorsed by Andrew L. Rodenbough

John D. Wooten, IV
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP
Endorsed by Stephen F. Shaw

Correction – October New Members:
Wilson F. Fong, Hensel Law, PLLC was incorrectly identified as William Fong.

Camille Stell

Stell: End of Year Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is hard. It is so much easier to run your practice as you always have, or to talk about improving your client selection skills or to hope that a budget appears on your desk.  The reality is that no one can manage your practice but you and it is worth your time to think strategically about how to improve your law practice. However, if you rethink strategic planning, perhaps you can do some before the end of the year.

Most of us think about starting a strategy session outside of the office, preferably in a resort location with a high-priced consultant or at least a cheap facilitator to tell us what to do with our practice. While that sounds fun, it isn’t going to happen between now and December 31. So how about if you walk down the hall to your conference room to escape the phone and email and devote a few hours to thinking about the future of your law practice?

One of the exercises a consultant would suggest is a SWOT analysis. Why not give it a try on your own? Pull out a yellow pad, or a laptop or an iPad. Start by listing your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps resolving client problems is your strength and getting new clients in the door is your weakness. This is actually a good problem to have. Client referrals are a great source of revenue for many lawyers, and if you are successful at resolving their problems, they are probably willing to refer work to you. You just need to make sure that you ask them to do this. It may seem difficult at first, but the more you practice the easier it will get. Continue identifying strengths and weaknesses until you feel you have identified enough items to set goals around.

The next two pieces of the SWOT analysis are to identify opportunities and threats. What is getting in the way of having a successful practice or taking your practice to the next level? Write the threats down and think through solutions. It sometimes feels easier to come up with a list of threats (or challenges) than to identify new opportunities. Don’t get discouraged. Brainstorm about your favorite work and how to get more of it, what your ideal client looks like and where to find them. Also begin to think about whether you can offer clients a new service, a new fee structure, or identify a new way to appeal to clients.

As you begin listing opportunities, this is the time to think of who your referral sources are or should be. Make a list. Who’s on the list? Other attorneys, your banker, your CPA, professionals you interact with on cases, your clients, your friends, people you do business with. Get the idea?

Another group to identify are the people who can help you take your practice to the next level. If adding lawyers to your practice is a plan for the future, you should spend time developing relationships with the Career Service Office at your law school, as well as other law schools. The professionals who work in the law school Career Service Office can talk with you about hiring trends, salary, candidates or alums who fit the skill sets you are looking for. Spend time getting to know the legal recruiters in your area for these same reasons. They are one more tool in your recruiting toolkit.

Also, identify your friends and colleagues who work in other professions. Ask them to share with you their challenges and solutions as you share with them your best practices. Identify lawyers who are outside of your geographic reach who might serve as good referral sources or who would be willing to share ideas about how they run their practice.

Look at your calendar and start setting up breakfast, lunch, coffee or telephone calls to talk to these people and formalize the referral relationship. Perhaps you do this by asking them what their target client looks like so you can offer referrals to them. Don’t look at your referral list as a one-way meal ticket. The best way to get something is to give something. Share information. If you’ve used a great vendor, pass along that information. If you’ve found a wonderful web resource or great article, send it along.

After going through the SWOT analysis, begin to identify some strategic objectives and set some tactical goals that will allow you to meet those objectives. For the purpose of the exercise, feel free to have 3 -5 strategic objectives and dozens of goals.

Now you have arrived at the most important part of the exercise. Look at the strategies and decide how to prioritize for the coming year. At this point, you have to have a real conversation with yourself about what you can accomplish. You should keep the number of strategic objectives between one and three, with about three to five tactical goals for each objective. Don’t get rid of the remainder, as you succeed in meeting your goals, these leftover goals are added to your strategic plan for next year.

Now that the goals are identified, you have to fit them into your budget and establish time frames when the goals should be reached. You can’t reach out to 50 referral sources in January. Decide on a realistic plan, put it on your calendar and be accountable to yourself.

I’m not suggesting that strategic planning is painless. However, the end of the year is a great time to strategize about ways to improve your law practice.

Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual and often facilitates law firm strategic sessions. Continue this conversation by contacting Camille at or 800.662.8843.

Attorney Jennifer Noble Joins Connors Morgan PLLC

Jennifer Noble

Jennifer Noble

Jennifer Noble, a longtime estate planning and estate administration attorney, has joined the business law firm Connors Morgan PLLC in Greensboro.

“After working in my own practice for many years, I am excited to join the vibrant group of attorneys at Connors Morgan,” Noble said. “There is a synergy in the office, because we all are focused on one goal – really listening to our clients and providing focused legal services to businesses and individuals.”

Connors Morgan, founded in 2005, provides services across the spectrum of business law, including business formation, business litigation, employment law and healthcare law, as well as estate and family law. With the addition of Noble, the firm includes seven attorneys.

Noble offers complete estate planning services, including preparation of wills, revocable trusts, special needs trusts, and healthcare and general powers of attorney. She also offers services in estate and trust administration and guardianship.

She frequently assists business owners, who may have special needs for succession planning, but also works with individuals – ranging from young parents with children to older individuals with complex estates.

“I enjoy spending time with my clients to ensure that I understand their goals, whether they’re concerned about protecting their business assets or want to make sure that their children are provided for after their death,” she said. “I love putting people at ease while talking about topics they find stressful.”

After receiving an undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary, Noble went on to earn a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. She practiced with the trusts and estates group at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago for two years before moving to Greensboro, where she joined Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP. Prior to joining Connors Morgan, she had operated her own estate planning law practice for seven years.

Connors Morgan is located at 1175 Revolution Mill Dr., Suite 8, in Greensboro.  Noble can be reached via phone at 336-333-7907, via email at or on the web at

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