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Winners and losers (legal edition)

Winner: The North Carolina Bar Association. It wanted more people to pay attention to the judicial elections and, boy, did they ever!

Loser: The N.C. Bar Association. It may have accomplished its mission of raising awareness of judicial elections, but the race for the lone Supreme Court seat teetered on being a circus act. Did you see that goofy banjo ad for Paul Newby? Whatever happened to judicial dignity?

Winner: Moore & Van Allen, which not only employed Pat McCrory, the future governor, but also has a public affairs practice that offers clients “strategic legislative support to enhance their bottom line.” In plain English, that means the firm has lobbyists – and they’re pals with the new governor.

Loser: Capstrat, the Raleigh public relations and lobbying firm that has long enjoyed a reputation as being a Democratic-friendly shop. (Founder Ken Eudy, in fact, was once executive director of the state Democratic Party.) That reputation might not be as enjoyable now that the GOP controls the General Assembly and occupies to governor’s office.

Winner: Apex attorney and N.C. House majority leader Paul Stam. Not only is state government even more firmly in GOP hands, his former chief policy advisor, Chad Barefoot, knocked off an incumbent Democrat to win a state senate seat.

Loser: Raleigh attorney Michael Weisel, who sued McCrory in the hope of derailing his candidacy. Weisel wanted to force McCrory to sit for a deposition so that he could poke into the candidate’s financial affairs, but the effort failed – and now McCrory is governor. Oops.

Winner: Supreme Court justice Paul Newby, who managed to hang on to his spot on the bench in an unexpectedly expensive and contentious race.

Loser: Paul Newby, who will surely be remembered forever as the Banjo Man.

Winners: Insurance and contract lawyers. Since President Obama and the Democratic-led Senate aren’t going anywhere, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay as well. That means states have to get moving on the implementation of monumental changes to the health care system. As Adam Searing, director of the Health Access Coalition for the North Carolina Justice Systems, pointed out, “Much of that is going to be contracts and different ways that we organize 17 percent of our economy. You’re going to have a need for people who understand the laws and regulations.”

Winner: Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre. He’ll give up his Congressional seat only when you pry it from his cold, empty war chest. Although a recount may be coming, McIntyre seems to have kept his seat by a 507-vote thread, defying state Republican lawmakers who redrew his 7th District to give GOP challenger David Rouzer the most favorable setup. The race was one of the most expensive and hotly contested in the country. If McIntyre survives, he will prove the exception to the redistricting rule.

Winners: Crafters of those new district lines. North Carolina’s 13-member Congressional delegation will include nine or 10 Republicans, thanks in part to the new districts. Before redistricting, the delegation split 7-6 for Democrats. Republicans will likely gain veto-proof majorities in both houses of the General Assembly as well.

Losers: Advocates for Justice and personal injury lawyers in general. Tort reform got jammed down their throats in 2011 and with the GOP now triumphant across the board, things will only get worse.

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