LEARNING ABOUT OUR BAR by Robert E. Harrington
Like any other organization, the structure of our Mecklenburg County Bar can seem a mystery. I thought this month would be a good time for a brief description of our structure and some of our many activities.
The MCB is as a subdivision of the NC State Bar. Also known as the 26th Judicial District Bar, we are one of 44 district bars in North Carolina. Each active NC lawyer living in Mecklenburg County is a member of the MCB, unless the attorney has opted to be a member of the district bar in another district in which he or she practices law.
The MCB provides a range of services for our members and opportunities to participate in Bar activities. The MCB's bylaws allow us to establish committees, sections and divisions. While the MCB is governed by its board of directors, executive committee and officers -- and by our 4,600-plus members, acting principally during the annual May meeting -- most of the Bar's work takes place through our committees, sections and the Young Lawyers Division.
Currently, the MCB has 25 committees, the membership and leadership of which are appointed by the president with active input from the existing committee leadership. These committees can be grouped into four categories: regulatory, membership services and programs, events and planning and operations.
Our regulatory committees include the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee, Grievance Committee, Indigent Representation Committee and Judicial Nominating Committee. The membership services and programs and the events categories include a variety of committees that manage the programmatic activities of the MCB -- from the Bar Leadership Institute Committee, Continuing Legal Education Committee and Diversity & Inclusion Committee to the Law & Society Committee, Social & Networking Committee and Sports Committee. Finally, the planning and operations committees handle much of the nuts and bolts functioning of the MCB and include Audit, Finance, Future Bar & Foundation Center and Nominating.
Separate from the MCB's committees are our 11 sections. These sections provide forums for attorneys to gather around a variety of subject matters, including Business Law, Civil Litigation, Family Law, Juvenile Law and several others. Our sections are open to all of our members.
The Young Lawyers Division is open to members of the MCB who are either 36 years of age or younger or in their first three years of law practice. The YLD has a very busy docket of activities that range from community service to legal assistance to social, and include responsibility for our new lawyer swearing-in ceremonies. Participating actively in YLD is a great way for young lawyers to become involved in the Mecklenburg County Bar.
Finally, additional services for our membership, and for the local community, are provided through our sister organization, the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation. Established in 1962, the MBF is a non-profit corporation with a mission to promote and advance the rule of law, professionalism, public service and access to the legal system and to support the charitable and educational goals of the Mecklenburg County Bar. The MBF owns the Bar Center and will own our new facility when we move. Its I.R.C. § 501(c)(3) status allows it to accept tax-deductible contributions, and, through the annual Bar Foundation Fund drive and other fundraising efforts, the MBF is able to support law-related programs in our community.
Additional information on all of the MCB's committees and sections and the Young Lawyers Division, along with information about the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, can be found on MeckBar.org. I encourage you to ask questions about our Bar and to get involved.