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Commentary: An FHA loan that includes rehabbing costs

America's housing inventory is ballooning with foreclosures and abandoned homes. Short sales, where owners sell their homes for less than what they owe, are commonplace. Also commonplace is that these homes typically need repair or updating. In the last several years, borrowers seeking construction or rehab loans found out that they were hard to come by or that you had to have 20 percent down or equity in a property to get approved. However, one program that has been used for many years, the FHA 203k program, is having a renaissance.

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Separating Together offers a different kind of divorce (access required)

The table in the conference room down the hall from Mark Springfield's office is round. Not oval. Not oblong with round edges. Completely round. "There's no position of power," said Springfield, taking a seat. Springfield's practice of collaborative divorce sets him apart from the traditional adversarial-style attorney who practices family law.

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‘Fracking’ poses risks, opportunities for industry, public, lawyers (access required)

The 21st century is going to be defined by water, says Yadkin Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks. That is why he is against hydraulic fracturing in North Carolina. Right now the law is on Naujoks' side. But perhaps not for long. Winston-Salem attorney Nathan Atkinson, who represents energy companies throughout the Appalachian region, told Lawyers Weekly that "All the major players are looking at North Carolina for natural gas exploration, given estimates on deposits from some geologists in the area."

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NC Business Court enters new era as its founding judge retires (access required)

No hostile takeovers were involved, but the North Carolina Business Court has already experienced quite a shakeup in the year's first quarter. In just three months, two-thirds of the leadership on the court has changed, bringing "fresh blood" to the 15-year-old institution, said founding Judge Ben Tennille, who retired March 1. In January, the three-judge court welcomed a new jurist in Calvin E. Murphy of Charlotte. That same month, Judge John R. Jolly Jr. (pictured) was appointed chief special superior court judge of the Business Court after Tennille announced his departure.

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Long-dead NC jurists still ‘speak’ to court’s historian (access required)

You might think Danny Moody is alone at his desk, housed in a cavernous room on the first floor of the Supreme Court building. But you'd be wrong. He's surrounded by history. And history speaks to Danny Moody (pictured). Oil paintings of former justices silently look on. Books that speak of our state's legal past are stacked around him. The marble bust of a 19th-century jurist sits across the room, not far from an exhibit on the accomplishments of women that includes former Chief Justice Susie Sharp's license plate: "J-1."

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Legal career path adds intersections, off ramps (access required)

Charlotte attorney Gene Pridgen graduated from law school in 1978 with a clear-cut career path in front of him. He'd clerked for the large firm of Kennedy Covington - now K&L Gates - the previous summer and received a subsequent offer for a position as an associate. Five years later, he made partner. Pridgen called his longevity at the firm typical for lawyers of his generation. But times have changed. New lawyers who aspire to ascend the ranks at large firms may not follow the straight-arrow path to partnership that attorneys once did, opting instead for lateral moves or taking experimental detours into government or in-house work.

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20 things lawyers need to know in 2011 (access required)

Who's the next potential U.S. Supreme Court justice on Obama's list? Why does your firm need a social media policy - and an employee handbook? You will find the answers to these questions and more in this year's edition of "20 Things Lawyers Need to Know," complied by Lawyers USA, Lawyers Weekly's national sister paper. From the hottest technology tools to the latest tips for marketing your practice, we give you the insight you need to run a better law practice in the year ahead.

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