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NC Central law in top 10 for accepted students who enroll (access required)

North Carolina Central University School of Law has been named one of the nation's 10 "most popular" law schools in a ranking released by U.S. News & World Report last week. The listing is based on an analysis of admission yield - the percentage of students accepted by a school who choose to enroll. In the rankings compiled for 2010, Central's law school placed ninth, with a yield of 49.6 percent; of 415 applicants accepted by the school, 206 subsequently enrolled. "We were honored to receive the recognition," said Raymond Pierce, dean of the law school.

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Perdue order creates panel, cedes power for judge picks (access required)

Saying "this is history," Gov. Bev Perdue signed an executive order last week that will establish a nominating commission to screen candidates for consideration when judicial vacancies come open. "You've seen a page turned in the North Carolina judiciary," Perdue said after she signed the bill, flanked by seven former N.C. Supreme Court justices and chief justices from both parties. The order takes effect July 1 and does not require any legislative action.

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Reverter dispute involving Charlotte parkland, parking deck settles (access required)

A suit brought by Eli Baxter Springs IV and the Historic Elizabeth Neighborhood Foundation against Central Piedmont Community College, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County over land two former Charlotte mayors donated to the city in 1904 to be used as a park for white people has settled. As a part of the settlement, CPCC will erect a monument recognizing the gift of the land to the city by the two former mayors - Eli B. Springs and Dr. R.J. Brevard - and Brevard's wife, Mary. The case settled on Feb. 24, according to court documents Lawyers Weekly obtained.

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February bar exam pass rate up 3% over 2010

The ranks of North Carolina's attorneys swelled by 254 this month as the results of the mid-year bar exam given in February were announced. A total of 426 would-be N.C. lawyers took the test, with 59.6 percent passing, an increase over last year's passing rate of 56.3 percent on the mid-year exam. As is often the case, the first-timers did better, with repeat takers having a lesser chance of succeeding.

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NC lawyers question thoroughness of outsourced title search (access required)

Outsourcing is nothing new, and businesses have been outsourcing certain operations to India for years. But property and property law in North Carolina, for the most part, is local - at least for now. Still the push is on from industry and, arguably, the federal government to nationalize the attorney-controlled real estate system in the state. A company based in Bangalore, India, has been offering its title abstracting services in North Carolina for at three years, according to its managing partner, M.S. Shridhar.

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Bill would insert committee into judicial elections (access required)

A measure introduced in the General Assembly last week would create a hybrid system of selecting judges that would combine a screening committee with elections by the public - the first system of its kind in the nation. The legislation was crafted by the NCBA Committee for Judicial Independence, co-chaired by former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Exum and John Wester (pictured), past president of the NCBA. "This bill, if enacted and approved by the people, will greatly improve the way we select judges in North Carolina," Exum said in a prepared statement.

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Regulators’ nod would bar liability for products (access required)

A sweeping tort-reform bill that would have the effect of preventing product-liability lawsuits in cases where the product got a stamp of approval from government regulators was formally introduced in the state House this week. At a packed hearing, Greensboro attorney Janet Ward Black (pictured) said the product-liability provision in the bill would be the most plaintiff-unfriendly in the country. The bill also incorporates some controversial aspects of a medical-malpractice tort-reform bill under consideration in the Senate.

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It’s official: Good-faith exception part of state law (access required)

As Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, sees it, an injustice to the people of North Carolina has been righted with the passage of an act to provide for the adoption of the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule into state law. "In some cases, a murderer, rapist or drug dealer will not go free. In other cases, like the victim in State v. Carter, an elderly rape victim won't have to testify twice because of an unjust suppression of evidence," Stam said. But Charlotte criminal defense attorney Bill Powers said the rationale for the exclusionary rule is not to protect guilty criminals.

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Where immigration law meets family law (access required)

On Thursdays, a telephone at the Legal Aid of North Carolina office in Raleigh rings off the hook. The callers aren't the usual questioners who might need help with things like foreclosures or consumer-protection issues. This is Legal Aid's Battered Immigrant Project, a highly focused area where the intersection of immigration law and family law helps address the specific needs of immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence. The project formally began in 2002 with one full-time attorney and has since grown to five attorneys and three paralegals. It was initially an interest of Deborah Weissman, former executive director of what is now LANC.

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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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