“Time Flies” When YLD Is Doing Amazing Work

As I sit down to write this column, I cannot believe this is my last column for the bar year. I guess the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is true. It feels like just the other day when I was sitting down to write my first column.

This bar year, I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish. First, I wanted to make sure we continued having meetings and events all throughout our great state. This was accomplished as we held meetings at the Bar Center in Cary, the Charlotte office of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, and in Winston-Salem at Wake Forest University School of Law. This was an intentional act on my part as I wanted to make sure we did everything we could to reach every member in our association as well as local bar associations and law students. I believe this goal was accomplished as at each event, the YLD welcomed law students and young lawyers who may have previously never attended an NCBA event with open arms.

Next, I wanted to introduce the “Letter to My Younger Self” series via the NCBA Blog. Through this new initiative, I wanted both NCBA and YLD leaders to write a first-person letter to themselves providing valuable and timeless life lessons that they have learned along the way. This would allow the reader to learn a little more about the author but also the reader will, I hope, pick up tools and lessons that have allowed our leaders to be successful and apply them to their professional careers. As such, I want to thank NCBA YLD Law Student Division Director Kayla Britt, former U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre, NCBA YLD Chair-elect Collins Saint, NCBA YLD member Chazle’ Woodley, and NCBA President Patti Ramseur for their contributions. I also want to thank our Communications Committee co-chairs, Ari Sirbey and Megan Reilly-Dreas, and NCBA Communications Manager Jessica Junqueira for their assistance with getting this initiative off the ground. I am more than confident that the readers not only enjoyed reading each letter but also learned valuable lessons that they can apply to both their personal lives and professional careers.

For my last goal, I wanted to continue to build upon previous bar years and YLD initiatives and allow YLD leaders to come up with their own ideas and projects to continue to push our division further.

First, our Legal LINK committee chaired by Cherell Harris and Rachel Nicholas participated in a very impactful and informative career prep day for high school students hosted by Student U, a college access program in Durham. I specifically want to thank Zack Kaplan of Zaytoun Law Firm for setting up and coordinating this panel as well as Sarah Dixon of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, Dillon Sharpe, Mecklenburg County Assistant Public Defender, Shameka Rolla, and Cherell Harris for their participation.

Then, the YLD successfully completed the annual Legal Feeding Frenzy (LFF) co-chaired by Meredith Brewer and Spencer Fritts. I am extremely proud to announce that this year’s LFF raised $107,105.50 and 431,917 lbs. which includes both monetary and physical donations.

In the large firm category, Womble Bond Dickinson was the winner with $21,981.00 raised; followed by Moore & Van Allen with $17,619.00 raised; and The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin with $10,875.00 raised.

In the medium firm category, Morningstar Law Group raised $9,815.00; followed by Fox Rothschild with $2,766.00 raised; and then, Maynard Nexsen with $2,331.00 raised.

In the small firm category, Seyfarth Shaw raised $3,939.00; followed by Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland with $1,802.50 raised; and Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton with $1,147.00 raised.

In the solo practitioner category, Fisher Law raised $3,110.00; followed by Mason Law Office with $2,130.00.

In the Corporate/In-House category, Atrium Health raised $4,561.00; followed by the Triangle members of the NCBA Corporate Counsel Section with $2,070.00.

In the Public Interest/Government category, Southern Environmental Law Center raised $2,702.00.

In the Law School category, Wake Forest raised $1,598.00, Campbell raised $257.00 and donated 3,309 in physical pounds; followed by Elon with $804.00; and North Carolina Central University with $555.00 raised.

Overall, The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin came away with the Attorney’s General, the award given annually to the team with the highest average individual donation, calculated by the team’s total donations divided by the team’s total number of donors.

Last, the Altruist Award is presented each year and recognizes a volunteer, participant, and/or partner who has given selflessly and made a significant impact to LFF. This year the Altruist Award goes to Alexandria Tuttle. Alex is an attorney at James Scott Farrin and practices in the personal injury group. For the last several years, Alex has served as team captain for James Scott Farrin in Legal Feeding Frenzy. In this role, Alex has demonstrated a commitment to serving her community. She has organized multiple volunteer events for her firm at local food banks and continues to support the LFF in the fight against hunger.

A blue advertisement with white words reads, "Time to Renew Your NCBA Membership. Say yes to another year of membership and a continued commitment to professional and personal growth." "Renew today" is the call to action.

Next, the YLD held its annual Law Day Celebration co-chaired by Sidney Thomas and Nick Sorenson on May 3 at the City Club in Raleigh. This year’s Law Day Celebration honored former Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Paul L. Jones, and there were over 65 people in attendance. The Law Day Celebration also honored several middle and high school students from all over the state who participated in the McIntyre Leadership Challenge, mock trial competition, essay competition and poster competition. From the Law Day Celebration and corresponding competitions, I left both inspired and extremely proud of all the participants and everyone involved with the NCBA who helped put on an amazing event.

Last, this bar year, the YLD created a new multipart series for various areas of the law. The first one is titled “Transportation in the Law” to showcase different areas of transportation in the law. The first panel centered on local transit featuring Fred Lamar, Senior Deputy City Attorney for the City of Durham, Karen Porter, Deputy General Counsel at GoTriangle, and Holly Stot, Associate General Counsel at GoTriangle. The next panel focused on aviation law and featured Erin Locklear, General Counsel with Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, Stephanie Robinson, Deputy General Counsel with N.C. Department of Transportation, and Max Taylor, Senior Counsel with Turner Construction Company. The last panel focused on railroad laws and featured Andrew Rodenbough from Brooks Pierce, Bill Stewart, partner with Millberg Gordon Stewart, and Scott Saylor, counsel for the Saylor Law Firm.

The second multipart series showcased different sections of the North Carolina Department of Justice. Our panelists were Melody Hairston, Section Supervisor, David Larson, Special Duty Attorney General, Lisa Taylor, Special Duty Attorney General focusing on the Tort Claims Section, Ellen Newby, Special Deputy Attorney General, and Erin Hukka, Assistant Attorney General to focus on the Public Assistance Section; and Sherri Lawrence, Special Deputy Attorney General, Nick Vlahos, Special Deputy Attorney General, and Kristin Uicker, Special Deputy Attorney General to focus on Appeals and Post-Convictions in the North Carolina Department of Justice.

Additionally, if you have not already seen it by the time this column comes out, the YLD’s New Lawyers in Practice Committee chaired by Trey Ellis is introducing the Baseball Game Series 2024 to continue connecting with YLD members (and law students) across the state. We visited the Charlotte Knights on May 16, and will be visiting the Durham Bulls and Greensboro Grasshoppers on May 23. Each ticket will also include $10 that can be used anywhere in the respective stadium during the game for snacks, drinks, etc.

With this as my last column, I wanted to put to put a final bow on everything, I want to make sure I thank each and every person in YLD leadership this bar year. First, I want to thank the YLD Executive Counsel comprised of Collins Saint of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP; Sheila Spence, Senior Counsel with JMP; Michele Livingstone of Poyner Spruill LLP, Jeremy Locklear of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP; William Walton, Assistant Attorney General with the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections; Samantha Gordon of McIntyre Elder Law; Kayla Britt, Assistant Attorney General with the North Carolina Department of Justice; Lisa Williford of Fox Rothschild LLP; and Taylor Dewberry of Smith Anderson. Next, I want to thank the YLD Committee chairs: Latasia Fields, Assistant Attorney General at N.C. Department of Justice, and Joe Newlon of Brooks Pierce as Membership & Outreach Committee co-chairs; Trey Ellis, Judicial Law Clerk at U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, chair to the New Lawyers in Practice Committee; Kadija Locklear, Contract Manager II with Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Katarina Stockton of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, as Wellness Committee co-chairs; Ari Sibrey of the Clauson Law Firm PLLC and Megan Reilly-Dreas, Judicial Law Clerk at the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Communications Committee co-chairs; Shameka Rolla, and Brooks Savage of Assistant General Counsel N.C. Office of State Budget & Management, as co-chairs to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; Cherell Harris, Associate General Counsel with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Rachel Nicholas with Poyner Spruill LLP, as Legal LINK co-chairs; Spencer Fritts with the Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A. and Meredith Brewer of Maynard Nexsen, as Legal Feeding Frenzy co-chairs; Sidney Thomas with the N.C. Office of the Commissioner of Banks and Nicholas Sorenson with Assistant Attorney General with the N.C. Department of Justice as Law Week and Liberty Bell Committee co-chairs; X. Lightfoot of Ward & Smith, P.A. and Brad Piland, Assistant General Counsel at North Carolina Department of Public Safety as Pro-Bono Committee co-chairs; Justin Hill of Ward & Smith, P.A. and Jessica Moreau Hester of Hamilton Stephens Steele + Martin as Foundation & Development Committee co-chairs; Isaac Ridgeway, Associate City Attorney with the City of Raleigh and Nute Thompson, Director of Legal Affairs for Summit Design and Engineering Services as Civic Engagement Committee co-chairs; Taylor Dewberry and Brad Piland as co-chairs to the Standing Disaster Legal Services Committee; Alex Gwynn, Corporate Counsel with Turner Construction Company, and Will Robertson of Brooks Pierce as Law Student Outreach Committee co-chairs; Tae Storr, Assistant Attorney General with N.C. Department of Justice and Sarah Spangenburg of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP as Bar Exam Committee co-chairs.

I also want to make sure to thank each of our law student representatives: Kerry Sullivan, Zannah Tyndall, and Theresa Dicenzo of Campbell Law School; Surya Korrapati, Christina Trepczynski, and John Godfrey of Duke University School of Law; Brooke McCormick and Courtney Latourrette of Elon University School of Law; Bryan Howard, Robyn Magee, and Tavaria Smith of North Carolina Central University School of Law; Wilson Moore, Rachel Cleveland, and Aleycia Ballantyne of the University of North Carolina School of Law; Courtney Harris, Clare Magee, and Lauren Barnett of Wake Forest University School of Law.

Last and certainly not least, I want to thank Cheyenne Merrigan and everyone on staff with the North Carolina Bar Association for supporting the YLD.

We’ve had an amazing year building on previous bar years while also adding new projects and initiatives that will continue to push our great profession forward. None of this is possible without each and every person listed above, and for that I thank you. It has been an absolute privilege to serve in this position.

Jonathan M. Bogues is the 2023-24 chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.