President’s Perspective

Your Commitment Means So Much

Your commitment to NCBA + NCBF during this bar year means so much. I am deeply grateful for your passion, perseverance and steadfast dedication to our mission, our profession and the public we serve.

As we approach and plan for a new bar year, your continuing commitment is vital. President-Elect Jon Heyl joins me in thanking you for your ongoing engagement with NCBA sections, divisions and committees as well as NCBF pro bono and public service programs.

Serving others

Your commitment to pro bono and public service means so much to those in need across our state.

  • On March 5, over 430 attorneys, paralegals and law students volunteered remotely for NCBF’s 4ALL Statewide Service Day, providing legal information to over 9,700 callers.
  • NCBF’s six COVID-19 Virtual Legal Hotlines served over 3,600 callers with the assistance of over 330 volunteer attorneys.
  • Over 470 attorneys are registered to provide online pro bono advice to low-income North Carolinians through NC Free Legal Answers. Over 1,750 questions were answered in 2020.
  • Volunteer attorneys now provide wills and health care and durable powers of attorney to first responders utilizing a new Wills for Heroes virtual document production platform.
  • Through NC LEAP, volunteer attorneys lead webinars on legal topics of interest to low-wealth entrepreneurs, including contracts, lease agreements, employment law and corporate formation.
  • Attorneys generously volunteer with Lawyers in Schools by visiting virtual classrooms across NC as guest speakers and with the Lawyers for Literacy program.

These NCBF programs serve those in need across our state thanks to your generous volunteer efforts and financial contributions. Thank you for the kind donations you already have made! Thanks also for any additional support you can provide before our fiscal year ends June 30. You may donate online here.

Pursuing our mission

Your commitment to our mission and core ideals means so much to our profession and the public we serve. I am particularly grateful for your dedicated work in pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion. NCBA’s commitment to these values is expressed as part of our mission.

NCBA Mission Statement

To serve the public and the legal profession by promoting the administration of justice and encouraging the highest standards of integrity, competence, civility and well-being of all members of the profession.

NCBA Diversity Statement

The NCBA is an inclusive organization committed to recognizing, promoting and encouraging diversity among is leadership, its membership and the entire legal community.

On November 23, 2020, the NCBA Board of Governors, in a unanimous vote, committed to advocate for repeal of the literacy test that remains in the North Carolina Constitution. This action was taken in response to our organization’s Report on Relationships Between the NCBA and Systemic Racism.

Since November, NCBA has engaged in vigorous advocacy on this issue. A bill calling for a constitutional amendment to repeal the literacy test now is pending in the General Assembly. NCBA will continue to work for the repeal of this provision of our constitution which originated with white supremacy efforts during the Jim Crow era in our state.

Also in response to the Report, two task forces have been appointed and have begun work.

The NCBA Task Force on Integration, Equity and Equal Justice is created to more fully research and tell the story of integration of the NCBA and to propose such additional steps and actions as may be appropriate to oppose racism and advance the principles of equity and equal justice for all, in the legal profession and for the citizens of our state. Rob Harrington serves as chair of the task force.

The NCBF Task Force on Recognition and Grant Initiatives is created for the purpose of reviewing and making recommendations regarding the diversity and inclusion of individuals recognized by NCBF Justice Funds and to consider and make recommendations regarding appropriate grant and program initiatives to encourage greater equity, diversity and inclusion in the practice of law and delivery of legal services in North Carolina. Tammy Stringer serves as chair of the task force.

In addition, the Awards and Recognitions Committee is reviewing recognitions by NCBA with regard to issues raised in the Report. And the NCBA Diversity Task Force, appointed in October 2020, is exploring options for an organization-wide approach to and coordination of our diversity and inclusion efforts.

I am grateful for your enthusiastic and sustained commitment to this vitally important work. I especially appreciate the extensive work by the Minorities in the Profession Committee and our sections, divisions and committees in pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Recent and upcoming events include:

  • How To Build Your Brand As A Diverse Attorney online event sponsored jointly by the NCBA Minorities in the Profession Committee and NCBA Young Lawyers Division on May 14.
  • Race Equity Series for Employers online event sponsored by the NCBA Minorities in the Profession Committee and the Mecklenburg County Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee on May 21.
  • Groundwater Presentation with the Racial Equity Institute provided online at no cost for 100 participants, jointly sponsored by four NCBA sections (Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights, Criminal Justice) on June 8.
  • Legal Legends of Color Awards Ceremony, sponsored by the NCBA Minorities in the Profession Committee and presented as part of the 2021 NCBA Virtual Annual Meeting, to be held June 17-18. Registration is now open.

I invite you to read more about our work in “Taking a step: North Carolina Bar Association, Foundation examine ties to systemic racism, how to move forward” in the May-June 2021 edition of the ABA’s Bar Leader publication.

Supporting our profession

Your commitment to NCBA and our sections, divisions and committees allows our profession to work together to help ensure the legal needs of the people of our state are met within a system of justice in which all have confidence.

Here are some recent and upcoming activities reflecting your commitment to our profession’s responsibility to serve the legal needs of our fellow North Carolinians.

  • The Appellate Practice Section presented A Fireside Chat With The Chiefs online on May 6. Members heard from the leaders of our appellate courts, Chief Justice Paul Newby of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and Chief Judge Donna Stroud of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
  • The NCBF and NCBA Young Lawyers Division presented a Virtual Law Day 2021 Ceremony on May 7, during which Essay Contest, Moot Court Competition, McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge and Liberty Bell Award presentations occurred.
  • The NCBA Young Lawyers Division led our profession in fighting hunger and raising over $260,000 for local food banks through the 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy held throughout the month of March.
  • As part of Membership Appreciation Month, the NCBA Center for Practice Management provides Microsoft 365 workshops and social media profile reviews during the month of May.
  • The Pro Bono Committee publishes a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Series through NCBarBlog, including Four Tips for Effectively Representing Gender Diverse Clients and Tools to Consider When Using Interpreters.
  • The Litigation Section and Paralegal Division provide NCBarBlog updates on the recent amendments to the General Rules of Practice by the Supreme Court of North Carolina in anticipation of implementation of the eCourts initiative.

NCBA Sections continue to educate and keep our profession updated through engaging online Live Webcast CLE presentations which are also made available On-Demand. Here are some recent and upcoming NCBA CLE programs:


Your commitment to NCBA + NCBF includes valuable time you dedicate to our endeavors and in pursuit of our mission. My longtime mentor, Wade Smith, recently spoke to the online Spring Meeting of the NCBA Senior Lawyers Division regarding his focus on the concept of time. I invite you to enjoy Wade’s inspiring testimonial about the callings to which we dedicate ourselves.

My time with you in this bar year has been meaningful beyond measure. Throughout the journey, I have been inspired by your commitment to each other, to the highest ideals of our profession and to our calling to serve those in need. I am forever grateful to all of you.

Mark Holt is the 2020-21 President of the North Carolina Bar Association and North Carolina Bar Foundation.

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