On the heels of my prescient reference to Cam Newton in last issue’s column, I can only hope Kyle Allen is still performing as well as he did in his first two games when this issue is published a few weeks from now.
The MCB has been busy in the last couple of months. On October 9, 64 new members were sworn in to our state and federal courts during our annual ceremony. That event always makes me reflect on my own swearing-in over 17 years ago in Spirit Square and the years of practice since taking the oath. The ceremony also represents the promise of the careers of each of these new lawyers and the contributions they will make to our profession and community.
Speaking of contributions by fellow lawyers, I had the privilege of attending the MCB Past Presidents’ Luncheon on October 11. Rather than have a group support session about writing the President’s Column, I instead thanked this august group for their past service as well as their continued leadership within their own firms and the Bar. It is humbling to share membership in that group given their respective contributions to the practice.
We also enjoyed one of the annual MCB highlights at the Law & Society Luncheon on October 31. Not only did we get to hear inspiring remarks from Eric McElvenny, a veteran amputee endurance athlete, but we recognized two of our own: Buddy Wester was presented with the John B. McMillian Distinguished Service Award by the North Carolina State Bar and the 2019 Ayscue Professionalism Award was presented to an undoubtedly well deserving recipient (whose identity is unknown at the time of this writing!). Being in a room with almost 400 lawyers might be some people’s version of hell, but for me, it is a vivid reminder of the amazing collection of citizens, advocates and counselors we have in the MCB.
For those of you who share this appreciation for fellowship with your colleagues, I invite you to attend the MCB Holiday Party on December 5 at 5:30 p.m. You can register at MeckBar.org.
As you know, MCB staff and leadership are continuing to implement recommendations by the Membership Value Task Force (MVTF). One of its primary recommendations was the goal of reducing the price of the Courthouse Access Card and increasing the scope of access it affords. Although we sent a Bar Blast about this issue, I want to highlight that new Administrative Order for everyone. Courthouse Access Cards, which are held by almost 1,000 members of the MCB, allow cardholders to enter the Mecklenburg County courthouse through the employee screening line and otherwise indicate the bearer as an attorney. The terms (including pricing) and scope of the cards were prescribed in an August 2012 Administrative Order entered by the then Senior Resident Superior Court Judge.
We are proud to announce that a new Courthouse Access Cards Administrative Order was entered on October 2, 2019 that now provides:
- New (and replacement) Courthouse Access Cards are now $30 instead of $40.
- Annual renewal stickers for Courthouse Access Cards are now $5 instead of $20.
- All courtrooms scheduled for use each day will now be open at 8:30 a.m.
- All conference rooms outside of the courtrooms scheduled for use each day will now be open at 7:30 a.m.
- The following rooms will be designated by signage for use by attorneys only: Workroom 4228, Attorney Workroom in Suite 6000, and the conference rooms to the left of 4222, 4224, 4226, and 4227.
We believe this increased access to the courtrooms and conference rooms will make it easier for attorneys and their clients to prepare and set-up for hearings and trials and otherwise improve the courthouse experience. Due to security needs and the inability of the existing courthouse card reader system to differentiate among cardholders, access to the private corridors within the Courthouse is not available.
We express our thanks and appreciation to Judge Bob Bell; Charleston Carter, Trial Court Administrator; and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts to make these changes for the benefit of the MCB members.
Finally, we expect to announce the hiring of a permanent Executive Director before the end of the year, so stay tuned!