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Excess Supply? NC attorneys fear state’s 7 law schools making too many lawyers (access required)

As a record number of North Carolina's law students buckle down with their casebooks this fall, members of the bar are questioning whether the state's seven law schools are churning out more graduates than the market can bear, as well as raising questions about how prepared the new graduates are to begin practicing. These and other questions arose at a summit the N.C. Bar Association held earlier this month. It featured what was likely the first-ever conference of the bar and representatives from all of the state's law schools.

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Legal Aid struggles to place cases with lawyers in rural areas (access required)

Officials from Legal Aid of North Carolina are quick to praise the state's attorneys for providing pro bono representation to their clients. But the staffers who spend each day recruiting private attorneys to lower LANC's ballooning case load say the need for relief remains great - and unmet - especially in the state's rural areas. Coordinators across the state also come up against some philosophical walls that are harder to break down, noted Cynthia Alleman (pictured), who was named the NCBA's 2010 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in June.

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Judicial hopefuls meet for second forum; 13 candidates for Wynn seat to meet later (access required)

Former Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard, who moderated yesterday's judicial forum in Raleigh, asked Judge Rick Elmore and his opponent Steven Walker (pictured) about diversity on the court. "I think we need some young people," said Walker, 30. He pointed out that the state has had a dozen Court of Appeals judges in their 30s, and it would "not be a travesty to make it 13."

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Being able to work remotely is a mixed blessing (access required)

Joy Rhyne Webb is an attorney with Merritt, Flebotte, Wilson, Webb & Caruso in Durham. She graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1995. Webb concentrates her practice in employment law, administrative law, personal injury and medical malpractice litigation and collection matters. Here, she tells North Carolina Lawyers Weekly about the pros and cons about working remotely.

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Ex-judge helps Medical Board hearings stay within the law (access required)

On the theory that you wouldn't want a lawyer to take out your gall bladder, the state's medical licensing board is now getting help from an attorney on how to conduct hearings and hear evidence. When the N.C. Medical Board meets to hear contested cases involving discipline or licensing issues, the board president now has an attorney sit beside him to give advice on issues ranging from admissibility of evidence to the permitted scope of a redirect examination. The new position of independent counsel was created last fall by the General Assembly. The board hired former Wake County District Judge Fred Morelock (pictured) to fill the position.

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The myth of the anchor baby … and other immigration concepts that all attorneys need to know (access required)

"Those of us who practice immigration law are used to seeing eyes glaze over whenever we discuss our craft. This reaction comes as often from other attorneys as from the general public. Our statutes and regulations are exhausting, and our acronyms are annoying. We get it. These days, however, immigration law is hard for anyone to ignore. The recent enactment of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 brought the debate back from the near-dead," Raleigh lawyer Amanda Mason (pictured) writes.

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Does $5.9M verdict show bench trials are best for heart balms? (access required)

The latest large heart-balm award - a bench verdict this time - has North Carolina practitioners debating whether judges or juries are more advantageous for plaintiffs. Pitt County Superior Court Judge W. Russell Duke awarded a jilted spouse $5,896,943, plus $865,150 in prejudgment interest, in a July verdict. Greenville attorney Cynthia A. Mills (pictured) said the facts made it the best heart-balm case she had taken in 21 years of practice.

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Vocation variation: A cop, a cabinetmaker and others find second careers in the law (access required)

Guns, drugs, high-speed chases, pit bulls and stakeouts. Sounds like all of the ingredients of an action movie, but it actually describes the early days of Charlotte attorney Mark Simpson's career. And he didn't practice criminal law - at least not in the traditional sense. Simpson is one of many "second-career" lawyers - those who started off working in one job only to switch to law mid-stroke.

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Plaintiff gets new trial after discovery sanction struck down (access required)

A Wake County auto tort plaintiff will get a new trial after the Court of Appeals held that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering production of documents and simultaneously sanctioning him for failing to comply with its order. The trial court sanctioned the plaintiff by excluding two medical bills totaling $3,455 from evidence. Noting that the jury considered $8,705 of medical bills before awarding $12,000, the Court of Appeals posited that "the jury intended to cover all medical bills stemming from the accident plus an additional amount for pain and suffering."

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