Bar Leadership Institute


Bar Leadership Institute Graduates


Laura Gray Barringer, American City Business Journals
Edward Paul Byron, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
Maria Fernanda Caino, Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office
Suzanne Kramer Canali, Safe Alliance
Shantia Joy Coley, Wells Fargo
Rachel D. Rogers Hamrick, Tom Bush Law Group
Christopher Maynard Hicks, Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court's Office
Elizabeth Jeanne Ireland, Winston & Strawn
Mary Fletcher Sherrill King, Johnston, Allison & Hord
Lauren Ellis Leader, James, McElroy & Diehl
Colleen Forcina Molner, Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm
Amanda Pickens Nitto, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson
Amy Elizabeth Puckett, Foundation for the Carolinas
Khalif Jamal Rhodes, Mecklenburg County Magistrate's Office
Courtney Collins Rogers, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Office of General Counsel
Kristen Lynn Schneider, Troutman Sanders
Bridget M. Vanevenhoven, Horack Talley
Nathan P. Viebrock, Lending Tree
Lakai Cheryll Vinson, Vinson Law Offices
Mallory A. Willink, Krusch & Sellers

Program Overview

The primary focus of the Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) is to identify and develop leaders for the Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation (MBF). The goal of the BLI program is to provide an opportunity for participating attorneys to: 
develop their personal leadership potential and skills to become a leader in the Bar/Foundation;
become aware of leadership opportunities with the Bar/Foundation and the greater Charlotte community; 
consider pressing Bar and community issues with peers and presenters of the highest caliber; and 
develop a spirit of lasting collegiality with their fellow participants.
The BLI will begin with a kickoff dinner and volunteer-recognition event, followed by a mandatory weekend retreat in late February.  The retreat is designed to provide you with an in-depth look at leadership within the Bar/Foundation and how it is measured from a number of perspectives, including, but not limited to:
professionally – as a Bar member and leader;
as a business owner – partner or owner of law firm; 
as a civic leader/public servant – not-for-profit role, community support; and/or
personally – as a citizen, parent, friend, etc.
During the BLI program, you will be guided by a facilitator, but your growth will come from this unique opportunity for both introspection and insight from your classmates. During the three months following the retreat, participants will have opportunities for individual coaching by the facilitator and will attend a series of seven evening discussion sessions featuring special guests. Past presenters have included Bar and civic leaders, law professors, and judges. 
A final session will encourage you to reflect on the BLI experience and to consider potential avenues of leadership in your Bar/Foundation, your organization, and your community.  In an effort to further participants’ impact on the Bar/Foundation, each member of the class will be expected to meaningfully engage in the work of the Bar or the Foundation (through, for example, committee membership, section leadership, etc.) beginning the upcoming fiscal year.


Selection Criteria
Application to the BLI is open to members of the MCB who have been practicing attorneys for at least three years. Approximately fifteen to twenty lawyers will be selected for participation in the 2018 class.  
The BLI Committee will look for potential participants who demonstrate the following criteria:
• Commitment and motivation to serve in positions of leadership;
• A record of public service and service for charitable organizations;
• A minimum of three years practicing; and 
• The ability to attend all sessions, including the weekend retreat, and the willingness to engage meaningfully in the work of the Bar or the Foundation beginning the upcoming fiscal year.  
This is a competitive selection process. In choosing potential participants, the BLI Committee will review and evaluate all portions of your application and attachments. Additionally, the BLI Committee is committed to seeking a diverse and dynamic class of participants in an effort to obtain representation from a cross-section of the Bar.
2018 Program Dates
Before you apply for the 2018 BLI Program, please be sure you will be able to attend the events listed below.
• BLI Kickoff Dinner and Retreat – The 2018 BLI program will begin with a kickoff dinner and volunteer-recognition event in Charlotte on Thursday, February 22.  The weekend retreat is from the afternoon of Friday, February 23 through the morning of Sunday, February 25 at noon.  You may arrange for your own transportation to the retreat site in Hickory, NC, or you may let us know if you need assistance with transportation.  Attendance is required.
• BLI Sessions – The 2018 BLI sessions will be held in Charlotte from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on the following evenings:  March 7, March 21, April 4, April 18, May 2, May 16, May 30, and June 6 (Graduation).  These dates and times are subject to minor changes. 
Each class member will be expected to engage meaningfully in the work of the Bar or Foundation (through, for example, committee membership, section leadership, etc.) upon completion of the program.   
Failure to attend any of the evening sessions will disqualify the absentee participant from graduating from the BLI Program, subject to any variances or exceptions approved by the BLI Committee, in it's sole discretion, upon a showing by the participant of exigent circumstances and upon completion of an additional, “make-up” project approved by the BLI Committee.

Program Fees

All qualified MCB members are encouraged to apply. The total tuition for participation in the BLI is $900 of which $100 must be paid by the participant. The remaining $800 may be paid by the participant or by his/her employer. If accepted, payment is due by February 8, 2018. Checks are to be made payable to the “Mecklenburg County Bar” (credit cards accepted). Financial assistance may be available, but is limited and awarded at the discretion of the BLI Committee. If you are selected, an MCB staff member will contact you about your financial assistance request.

If you are interested in financial assistance, indicate the amount requested.

Continuing Legal Education: It is expected that approximately 14 hours of CLE credit will be awarded to BLI 2018 participants.