Law Degree Fills Food and Beverage Niche

by Jay Reeves

What to do if your first law job doesn’t work out as planned - and your first love outside the law doesn’t either? One option: combine the two and take off. That’s what attorney Laura Collier of Raleigh did. When her biglaw career stalled, she shifted gears and started The Spirited Lawyer – a Wake County law practice that provides legal services for food and beverage businesses. There, she uses her law degree to fulfill her dream of working in the wine and cheese industry. “[I]t’s incredibly satisfying,” Collier says in a News and Observer business profile. A Spirit for the Law Collier’s law journey started the usual way: as a 1L. After graduating from Georgetown Law School, she went to work at a large interna… Read More

The First To-Do List For New Lawyers

by Jay Reeves

Congratulations! You’ve finished law school and passed the bar exam. Now you can forget about the Rule Against Perpetuities forever and begin a long and satisfying career. The first thing is to frame your diploma and bar license if you have not already done so. These documents are tangible evidence of your sweat, effort and dedication. They should always be visible reminders of how hard you worked to get here – and how important it is to keep striving.             Following are some items that should appear on every new lawyer’s to-do list: Attend a professional orientation program. The N.C. Bar Associations conducts a Practical Skills Course each fall. The week-long event provides val… Read More

Video Studio: Where to begin?

by Camille Stell

How to Build a Video Studio Part III Video Boot Camp  We completed construction of our video studio (as discussed in our previous blog post) and we’ve purchased equipment; now we need to learn how to use our equipment. We resolved our dilemma by hiring videographer Jason Arthurs  to teach us the art of videography in a week. I call this boot camp because it was all day, intense training that left us dazed, tired and the proud producers of five high quality videos which you can view on our website. Many of the reasons we see video in so many places is because it has become cheaper and easier to purchase and use a video camera. As a matter of fact, most of us carry them in our pockets on our smart phones. However, taking the time to learn from … Read More

Video Studio: Where to begin?

Video Supply List How to Build a Video Studio PART II Are you considering building your own video studio but don’t know where to start? In yesterday’s blog post we discussed the steps we took to build our in-house studio; developing a product list to fit our needs was a huge part of the process. Here’s our shopping list of items we purchased for our studio: Sony SOPMW100 PMW-100 XDCAM HD422 Handheld Camcorder   General Brand GBGT12B Gaffer Cloth Tape - Matte Black (2.0" x 12 yds)   Impact IMSBE15K Empty Saddle Sandbag Kit, Set of 6 - 15 lb (Black)   Audio-Technica  (x4) PRO 88W-830 Camera Mountable Lavalier Pro 88W Wireless System (4 at different frequency ranges each to avoid interference)   Audio-Techn… Read More

Lights, Camera, Action!

by Monisha Yowell

How to Build a Video Studio PART I   Whether large or small, law firms are looking for ways to incorporate video content in their websites, e-newsletters and social media.  For most law firms, producing video content begins with a phone call to a video production company. For Lawyers Mutual, it started with the old supply room. Let’s rewind… In looking at Lawyers Mutual’s desire to create more video content and the rising trend of law offices using video; Camille Stell, Client Services Vice President had an “aha moment” and the road to building Lawyers Mutual’s in-house video studio was put into motion. How did we go from a supply room to a video studio? Here’s how: The most important step in preparing to … Read More

Law School Lingo

by Jackie Houser

When I was a child, the only dictionary in our house was Webster’s.  Should I ask my dad how to spell a word, he would say, “Look it up,” and point to Webster’s on the bookshelf.  Frankly, I thought that was the most ridiculous response to give to someone who just asked for help on how to spell the word.  Now that I am older—and somewhat wiser—I understand what dad was doing, and I confess to tormenting my own children with a similar version of that game.  Times have changed.  Webster’s is no longer the only dictionary on the shelf.  Today we have rhyming dictionaries, Scrabble dictionaries, reverse dictionaries, and the infamous urban dictionary.   There seems to be a dictionary … Read More

How To Sink Your Career By Talking and Texting

by Jay Reeves

We all understand the risks of reckless texting. And we also know that ex parte communications with a judge are improper, especially when said judge is presiding over a murder trial and you’re the prosecuting attorney. But apparently two members of the Florida bar didn’t get that memo. In the Sunshine State, a former judge has been disbarred and a prosecutor suspended for conducting a hot-and-heavy cell phone relationship while they were both participating in a high-profile death penalty case. Ex Parte Communications in the Extreme The story began in 2007, when the two happened to bump into each other at a restaurant while the trial was in full swing. After dinner they and some others – including, notably, a law student-intern –decid… Read More

Competence Is Not a Delegable Duty

by Mark Scruggs

The phrase “discovery of electronically stored information (“ESI”)” is intimidating for most of us.  But we can’t avoid it. “Not every litigated case ultimately involves e-discovery; however, in today’s technological world, almost every litigation matter potentially does.” [1] When faced with a request for production of documents seeking ESI, it may be tempting to delegate the duty of obtaining and producing ESI to an outside consultant, such as a computer forensic “expert.”  A case out of the North Carolina Business Court provides a warning against such an approach.[2] Before the court was defendants’ motion for an order compelling the return of privileged documents. In response to pla… Read More

Tips For Newly Minted, Courtroom Bound Lawyers

by Mark Scruggs

As  the Bar Exam looms, we begin anticipating an influx of newly minted lawyers, many of them courtroom bound. As a former practicing litigation attorney, I would like to offer my top tips for newly minted lawyers, especially those who aspire to courthouse and courtroom practice. Tip #1 – Find a mentor. If you want to handle personal injury cases, find a good personal injury lawyer in your community who is willing to show you the ropes. If you want to practice bankruptcy law, find a good bankruptcy lawyer to mentor you. You can learn by your mistakes, and you will. But it’s not the best way, especially if it’s at the expense of your client. If you need help finding a mentor and you’re in Wake County, check out Campbell Law Connectio… Read More

Nine Tips for Handling Unpaid Fees

by Jay Reeves

“As night follows day, a counterclaim for malpractice will follow a lawsuit for fees.” So said Chicago insurance claims manager Brant Weidner at an ABA-sponsored legal malpractice panel. And it will surprise exactly nobody that an insurer is not wild about the idea of  an insured going around suing clients for unpaid fees. But the truth is everybody loses in a fee suit. In fact, by the time it reaches that point the lawyer has already lost. Nine Ways to Avoid a Fee Dispute Pick the right clients. Screen prospects wisely. Make sure they can afford your services. In some instances you will want to check their credit history. Don’t be shy. It is in everyone’s best interest to make sure the relationship will work. Talk money up f… Read More

Guard Your Time Using the Pomodoro Technique

by Camille Stell

As a law student, you are busy. It’s important to learn how to focus your time. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management practice. The basic idea is to block off your time in 25-minute increments using a timer, whether it’s a cute gadget from your kitchen or a mobile phone app. I often struggle to keep my focus when I’m writing and this is a new favorite tool of mine. It’s a simple concept and works to keep me focused. You could utilize the Pomodoro Technique to limit your time on Facebook or email or whatever your time waster happens to be. You can also utilize the technique to focus your time on school projects. Beyond the core focus of spending 25 uninterrupted minutes on a project, the concept is also about being more efficien… Read More

The Great Lawyer Popularity Contest

by Jay Reeves

Every so often I read about a public opinion survey – you’ve seen them – that says lawyers are less popular than politicians, used car salesmen or even IRS auditors. Personally, I find these stories amusing. But they can give a false impression. From them you might glean that lawyers have historically been exalted in the public eye, only to have recently fallen into disfavor. Not so. Lawyers’ popularity has always been a roller-coaster. It has risen and plunged through the years. Consider this from the June 7, 1956 edition of the Spokane Daily Chronicle. The story is about a talk given to the local Kiwanis Club by the law dean of Gonzaga University: “[P]resent-day lawyers are in a strange position in that their clients will tru… Read More

How Practicing Law Is Like Tasting Wine and Hitting a Baseball

by Jay Reeves

What does a grooved fastball to Derek Jeter, the subtle intricacies of wine-tasting and a photograph of the First Lady have to do with practicing law? Quite a bit, it turns out. Let’s start with baseball. Mr. Wainwright’s Regrettable Admission New York Yankee captain Derek Jeter, who has announced that he will retire at the end of this season, is one of the greatest shortstops of all time. The future Hall of Famer has worn pinstripes his entire career and done so with class and distinction. He has a reputation of being a good guy, admired by fans, teammates and opponents alike. When he was picked to play in this year’s Major League All-Star game, the stage was set for high drama. This would be Jeter’s big night. Even though at age 40… Read More

Law Students and Balance

by Camille Stell

It’s hard to imagine time in law school for anything beyond studying. Yet as the school year begins, you’ll find yourself juggling class and studies along with extracurricular activities such as on-campus interviews, paid jobs on campus, law review and moot court. How do you make the most of your busy schedule? Networking Begin building your network now. Your fellow law students will one day be your professional peers. They can and will hire you or refer business to you.  You will meet practicing attorneys and other legal professionals who come into your classrooms or interact in other ways with you on campus. Even as a student, don’t miss the opportunity for personal introductions, exchanging business cards or connecting on LinkedIn. Ma… Read More

Proposed Ethics Opinion Covers Social Media Advice to Clients

by Jay Reeves

When it comes to social media and legal ethics, most of the talk centers around what lawyers can and cannot publish online. For instance, you shouldn’t disclose confidential client information in a Facebook post. Nor should you send rude and disparaging tweets about a judge who just ruled against you. But what about clients? Is their social media activity any of your business? Say you represent a client in civil litigation. Should you advise them not to publish potentially damaging information online? What if you fail to do so – is this a breach of your ethical responsibilities? And is it okay to advise clients to scrub their online sites of any evidence that might help the other side? A proposed ethics opinion from the NC State Bar tackles thos… Read More

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