Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

NCBA President Brown: Let’s Fly to New Heights

For new NCBA president LeAnn Neese Brown, it’s all about roots and wings.

The Chapel Hill attorney was installed in June as the 125th president of the NC Bar Association. She previously served on the NCBA Board of Governors as well as on numerous committees, and she chaired three practice sections. She is a three-time graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, with degrees in psychology, rehabilitation counseling and law.

At her swearing-in ceremony, Brown shared a favorite quotation: “There are two things we give our children: roots and wings.”

“Reaching full potential means not only knowing who you are and where you have been, but envisioning what you aspire to be,” she said in her acceptance address. “Our roots, grounded in our founding since 1899, are our obligations as a profession to promote the rule of law, facilitate the administration of justice and elevate the standards of integrity. As we continue to rely upon these roots – our shared values – we must provide opportunities to soar toward the future for our profession and our members.”

Here are excerpts from her address, as published in the North Carolina Lawyer:

  • Membership Value Task Force. “Utilizing professional consultants, focus groups, detailed data analysis and sheer hard work, the Task Force evaluated our members’ wants and needs…. The result was a proposal for a new dues model unanimously adopted by the Board of Governors.”
  • Registrations are rising. “Early results suggest great enthusiasm for the dues model. Registrations are already up over last year. Members lost are coming back. These new wings serve our members.”
  • Building community. “The NCBA must remain valuable and relevant to our profession, the public and our members. That means we must bring lawyers and legal professionals who never joined us or who left us back ‘home’ to the NCBA community. We use the term community deliberately.”
  • Meeting all practice needs. “Our 31 sections represent practice areas from A to Z (really – in alpha order we start with Administrative Law and bring up the list with Zoning). Our Divisions – Law School Division, Young Lawyers Division, Senior Lawyers Division and Paralegal Division – provide a home in our association for so many more members. Our 30-plus committees and task forces reflect our shared affinities, our interests and our work.”
  • Promoting the administration of justice. “I have combined our committees focusing on the judicial system into one committee: the Judicial Independence and Integrity Committee. I am so pleased that Justice Robert Edmunds has agreed to chair this committee for 2019-2020.”
  • A focus on wellness. “We are in a profession of helping others, but to help others we must take care of ourselves. We have renamed the … Professional Vitality Committee because vitality is the state of being strong and active; it is the power of enduring, the capacity to live and develop. We celebrate the humanity of our profession, not only as lawyers and legal professionals, but as parents and grand-parents, musicians and rock climbers, hikers and stamp collectors, painters and poets, dreamers and dancers. Vitality is having the strength in ourselves and our community to have full lives as lawyers. Advancing the well-being of our members and our professions gives us wings.”


“Let’s fly to new heights together.”

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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