Kenneth R. Keller, President, Greensboro Bar Association

Message from the President, April 2017

For our meeting on Thursday evening, April 20, 2017 at Starmount, former Judge and UNC President Emeritus Tom Ross will deliver a presentation on Non-Partisan Redistricting – How to Strengthen Democracy.  As part of his work at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and in conjunction with Common Cause NC, Judge Ross and a group of former members of the North Carolina judiciary (including our own Justice Frye and Justice Exum) met on a volunteer basis and simulated use of a non-partisan redistricting process to draw fair and compact districts.

Judge Ross is currently President of the Volcker Alliance, a New York City-based non-profit focused on restoring trust in government through improving its operational effectiveness.   He also serves as the Sanford Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at the Duke University Sanford School for Public Policy.  Judge Ross is President Emeritus of the 17-campus University of North Carolina having served as President from 2011-2016.

Prior to becoming President of the UNC System, Judge Ross served as President of Davidson College, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, a Superior Court judge for 17 years, chief of staff to U. S. Congressman Robin Britt, a member of the Greensboro law firm of Smith, Patterson, Follin, Curtis and James, and an Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government. Judge Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson College (1972) and graduated with honors from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law (1975).

Judge Ross has received numerous awards and accolades for his public service and professional achievements.  His many contributions have been recognized through the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence (2000), given annually to one state judge in the nation and Governing Magazine’s National Public Official of the Year Award (1994).  He has also been honored with an award of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Public Service Award (2016), and the University Award presented by the UNC Board of Governors for distinguished service to higher education (2016).

Please mark your calendars and join us for this timely presentation.

Nominating Committee Report

The Greensboro Bar Association Nominating Committee proposes the following leadership slate for the election at the April 20 Membership Meeting:

President Elect: Hon. Teresa H. Vincent
Secretary: Chelsea E. Anderson
Treasurer: Desmond G. Sheridan

Lisa W. Arthur 2020
Frederick L. Berry 2020
Gerald L. Walden, Jr. 2020

The Nominating Committee members are: Afi Johnson-Parris (Chair), Ashley Bennington, Hon. Bill Davis, Eloise Hassell
Gwendolyn Lewis, Jeff Oleynik, Sarah Roane

Tom Kane

Kane: It’s Time for Proactive Marketing

By Tom Kane  (Reprinted from Tom’s dated March 12, 2017)

Okay, okay.  I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t marketing by definition proactive? Well, I’m thinking about a slightly different twist. It involves anticipating future problems that a client may encounter and discussing them in advance before the client asks somebody else.

A couple of days ago, the BTI Consulting Group published the results of a survey pointing out how the time is right for cross-selling. The survey involved interviews with 330 “independent, individual interviews with CLO’s and general counsel at Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations,” and 200 law firm leaders.  According to BTI, the top 3 reasons the interviewee’s have insomnia are actually cross-selling opportunities for law firms.

While they may have been too polite to say so, I am not.  In my opinion, the reasons given relate to the absolutely chaotic political world we find ourselves in currently. Although the survey was completed two months prior to our national election last fall, the results are no less valid today. They are:

1. The Potential Breakdown of the Regulatory World. Any changes (additions or deletions) are
likely to have a profound impact on clients.  And heaven knows the threat of change is greater than ever.  Starting discussions with clients about changes that could impact their business or industry in the regulatory arena will be marketing time well spent;

2. Cybersecurity. This “was not even on the list of concerns prior to 2014.” Staying current on federal and state legislative and regulatory changes that impact security requirements will put you ahead of the pact;

3. Managing Risk. Assessing the unknown is the most difficult task, whether for a firm or a client. Pulling together a risk management database to use “for each specific client by practice, industry,
and type of company” will come in handy when discussing potential risks with specific clients.

It is suggested that partners start a dialogue with clients about possible changes, even if you don’t have all the answers.  I am not sure I agree that there is a limited window for cross-selling, but there is no reason to delay.  By raising the possibilities early on, clients will more likely turn to you in a time of need.

Herb Falk Society 2016 Honors

The Herb Falk Society honors those members of the Greensboro Bar Association who contribute at least 75 hours of pro bono service annually. The fifteen individuals inducted for 2016 were recognized at the March 16 member meeting at the Empire Room. Please join us in congratulating:

Barbara R. Christy – 87.5 Hours

Locke T. Clifford – 77.8 Hours

Elizabeth Collins – 116 Hours

Benjamin Crissman – 98 Hours

Blinn L. Cushman – 111 Hours

Erwin Fuller, Jr. – 100 Hours

Richard W. Gabriel – 76.2 Hours

Holt Gwyn – 168 Hours

Eloise Robinson Hassel – 91.1

Adam G. Kerr  – 120.9 Hours

Jennifer L.J. Koenig – 110.75 Hours

Manisha P. Patel – 118 Hours

Steven A. Scoggan – 118.5 Hours

Clark Smith, Jr. – 270.8 Hours

Gerald L. Walden, Jr. – 282 Hours

New Bovis Kyle Office Opens in Greensboro

The Atlanta, Georgia based law firm of Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin, LLC is pleased to announce that Brian H. Alligood and Alicia Bray, formerly of the firm Sharpless & Stavola, have joined the firm to open its new office in Greensboro.  Mr. Alligood and Ms. Bray will continue their established litigation practices, with emphasis on medical malpractice and long-term care defense, health care law, employment litigation, and insurance coverage disputes.  The firm looks forward to serving its Southeastern based clients in North Carolina.

Brian H. Alligood

Brian H. Alligood

Alicia Bray

Alicia Bray

Managing Partner Julie Earp Recognized As One Of 100 Nationwide “Women To Watch”

Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP is pleased to announce that Managing Partner Julianna Theall Earp has been selected by American City Business Journals’ Bizwomen as one of its 100 “Women to Watch” in 2017.  The group chosen from across the nation “collectively have a record of success that spans decades” and are “poised to continue impacting their companies, and their communities, for years to come,” according to Bizwomen which, along with The Business Journals, is a publication of American City Business Journals.

Julie Earp

Julie Earp

Earp’s inclusion with this distinguished group reflects her well-respected leadership efforts to oversee the continued growth and success of Smith Moore Leatherwood’s seven offices in three states. In addition to serving as Chair of the firm’s Management Committee, she has held leadership positions outside of the office with the Middle District of North Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Employment Law Practice Group of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys.

During her more than thirty-year tenure with the firm, Earp has served Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP in an array of leadership roles.  She is a longstanding member of the litigation practice group and a member of the labor and employment team. She represents clients in the health care, transportation, education, manufacturing, hospitality and retail industries. Earp has been recognized by Law & Politics Magazine seven times as one of the “Top 50 Women” attorneys in North Carolina, was selected by Triad Business Journal as an “Outstanding Women in Business” and was voted Greensboro Best Lawyers “Employment Law – Management Lawyer of the Year” in 2013, 2016 and 2017.  Earp graduated, summa cum laude, from the University of Georgia and, magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law.  She joined Smith Moore Leatherwood immediately after graduating from law school and has spent the entirety of her career with the firm.

Kenneth R. Keller, President, Greensboro Bar Association

Message from the President, March 2017

For our March lunch meeting, City Manager Jim Westmoreland will present an update on the “State of the City”, which will include a short video of the City’s 2017 accomplishments and a PowerPoint presentation on the 2017 forecast.  Mr. Westmoreland graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer.  He has been Greensboro City Manager since February of 2014.  Among other awards, Mr. Westmoreland received the George C. Franklin Award for Municipal Administration from the UNC School of Government.

Construction on our Habitat House will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, 2017.  Construction will continue each weekend (except for holiday weekends) through Saturday, August 12, 2017 with dedication and closing on Saturday, August 19, 2017.  The house will be built on the lot at 722 Prince Street.

Our homeowners are Tona Nay and D’Joan R’mah, who came to the United States from Vietnam. Tona is employed at Affordable Stone Products and D’Joan manages the family.  They are parents of four sons: Sru – 25 years old, Santigo – 14 years old, Tula – 12 years old, Jensu – 7 years old, and three daughters: Sara – 21 years old, Sama – 18 years old and H’Po – 16 years old.

In order to qualify as Habitat homeowners, Tona and D’Joan have attended more than 30 hours of classes on budgeting, home maintenance, and finance.  They will work a minimum of 350 hours during construction and repay Habitat through an interest free loan.

We now have a firm schedule for the work, set out on the Habitat website: (  The framing related tasks are set for the following dates (all Saturdays):

• 4/1 – Wall Framing (exterior walls)
• 4/8 – Wall Framing (interior walls)
• 4/22 – Scaffold Setup/Truss Prep
• 4/29 – Roof Framing
• 5/6 – Misc Framing/Shingle Prep

We have invited the NC Supreme Court Justices for the initial work date on 4/1.  So far, two have declined, Justice Newby has tentatively accepted and we are waiting to hear from the others.  We will break that day at noon for lunch and a groundbreaking ceremony at the site.  All members of the Bar are invited to the ceremony and lunch whether or not they are on the work crew that day.  We will be sending you an email for you to make reservations.

On 4/8 and 4/22, we will be working with the UNCG Student Veterans Association.  This is an outstanding group of young veterans and we are honored to work with them.  They have requested having members of the Bar on their workdays, and this is a great opportunity for them and for us to make connections.  Please also consider the roof framing work and shingle prep, which are among the most interesting tasks on the work schedule.  The roof is 6 pitch (6” of rise for every horizontal foot), which is far less steep and more manageable than the 8 pitch roofs we had on the last two GBA houses.

If you have already signed a Volunteer Form, we will be getting in touch with you by email to confirm your work dates.  If you have not signed a Volunteer Form, please volunteer for your preferred work dates by going directly to the Habitat website.

Thanks so much for volunteering! 

Recognitions for Nexsen Pruet’s Greensboro Attorneys: Super Lawyers and Legal Elite NC

Four Nexsen Pruet Greensboro attorneys named to Business NC Legal Elite 2017

Four Nexsen Pruet attorneys have been selected by their peers to this year’s list of “Legal Elite” in North Carolina from Nexsen Pruet’s Greensboro Office. The 2017 list is featured in the Januaryvv issue of Business North Carolina magazine.  The attorneys are Brian Anderson (Bankruptcy), Eric Biesecker (Construction), William Wilcox (Business) and  Brian Pearce (“Young Guns”). Please click here to read more from Business North Carolina magazine.

In addition, two Greensboro Attorneys are in the Hall of Fame.  The top vote-getter in each category then becomes a life-long member of Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” Hall of Fame. Nexsen Pruet Hall-of-Famers include: Harper Heckman (Greensboro) for Construction in 2016 and Christy Myatt (Greensboro) for Bankruptcy in 2010.

Seven Nexsen Pruet Attorneys in Greensboro named to 2017 NC Super Lawyers®

Seven Greensboro Nexsen Pruet attorneys have been named to the 2017 edition of North Carolina Super Lawyers®. They include five Super Lawyers Recognitions in the following areas:

Jim Bryan – Insurance
Jay Devaney – Real Estate
Harper Heckman – Construction
Christy Myatt – Bankruptcy
William Wilcox – Tax

In addition, two attorneys were named 2017 North Carolina Rising Stars®:

Brian Anderson – Bankruptcy (Greensboro)
Jeff Reichard – Construction (Greensboro)

Brian Anderson

Brian Anderson

Eric Biesecker

Eric Biesecker

Bill Wilcox

Bill Wilcox

Brain Pearce

Brain Pearce

Harper Heckman

Harper Heckman

Christy Myatt

Christy Myatt

Jim Bryan

Jim Bryan

Jay Devaney

Jay Devaney

Jeff Reichard

Jeff Reichard

GBA & Elon Law Red Cross Blood Drive

Greensboro Bar Association & Elon Law

Blood Drive

Elm Street Center – Upper Regency Room

203 S. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Give the gift from the heart!  Save lives by donating blood!

To schedule an appointment, visit

and key sponsor code “GBA”. Questions?

Contact Diane Lowe at

Appointments are encouraged.

Walk-ins welcome. Bring a photo ID.

Tom Kane

Kane: Retain Associates with Marketing/BD Training

By Tom Kane (Reprinted from Tom’s dated February 14, 2017)

For firms that are only interested in associates cranking hours until they get burned out, this post is not for you. More likely it is for medium to smaller firms who really want to build their firm; and want it to survive with new rainmakers as partners age.

Two notable exceptions are Quinn Emanuel and Jones Day, according to Kevin McMurdo, with Wicker Park Group. He mentions in “’Switch’ on Business Development Skills With Associates,” that those firms tie associate compensation/bonuses to their involvement in business development. There may be other firms I’m not aware of.

According to McMurdo, some of those business development actions by associates might include:

  • Attend brown bag training sessions;
  • Meet with partners to learn how they attract/retain clients;
  • Work with practice group leader to develop a niche in the coming year;
  • Attend networking events/conferences;
  • Complete a marketing plan; and
  • Read Ross Fishman’s “The Ultimate Law Firm Associate’s Marketing Checklist” (which I recently discussed here and here).

McMurdo sums up my point by quoting a partner, “Involving associates in business development is a great way to protect and retain good associates.”

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.