Category Archives: Books & Stuff

ALR Student’s Corner: Lee’s North Carolina Family Law

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Introduction

Lee’s North Carolina Family Law (“Lee’s”) is a vital secondary resource for attorneys practicing family law in North Carolina.  The Fifth Edition of this treatise, authored by Suzanne Reynolds and published by The Michie Company of Charlottesville, Virginia, provides comprehensive coverage and analysis of family law in North Carolina, including but not limited to substantive case law and statutes, overview of relationships from marriage to divorce, and the parent child relationship.

Lee’s is located in the Charlotte School of Law Library on the fifth floor in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at Call Number: KFN7494.L43, or by searching “family law north carolina” in the Library Catalog.  Additionally, Lee’s can be accessed electronically with a valid Lexis Advance login and the following navigational steps: 1) click on “Browse Source” in the upper right corner, 2) choose sources beginning with the letter “L”, and 3) select Lee’s North Carolina Family Law.  However, this post focuses on the hardcopy print volumes of Lee’s.

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Author Suzanne Reynolds is an Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law.  Suzanne is widely recognized for her scholarship and research in the family law field.  She was the principal drafter of the North Carolina statutes modernizing alimony and adoption.

The Fifth Edition of Lee’s is a three-volume hardback series originally published in 1993, but is routinely updated and kept current with additional pocket parts which can be found on the inside back cover of the relevant volume.  The most current pocket parts were updated in December 2012.

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Content of Lee’s North Carolina Family Law

As aforementioned, Lee’s is divided into three volumes covering all aspects of family law in North Carolina.  Volume I covers Acts Prior to Marriage, Entering Marriage, Annulments, Nonmarital Living Arrangements, Spousal Rights and Obligations during Marriage, and Divorce from Bed and Board.  Volume II focuses on Absolute Divorce, Post-Separation Support, Alimony, Child Support, and Enforcement of Awards.  Additionally, Volume III addresses Division of Property Upon Divorce-Equitable Distribution, Child Custody, Separation Agreements, Parent and Child Relationship, Unmarried Parents and Their Children, Adoption and Assisted Conception, and Procreational Liberties- Abortion and Sterilization.

The volumes combine ease of use with practicality by outlining specific topics efficiently and thoroughly.  However, the researcher must be careful not to rely solely on the Summary Table of Contents because the corresponding Table of Contents contains topics that might not seem correlated at first glance.  The Summary Table of Contents at the beginning of each volume lays out the topics covered and the applicable page numbers with clarity and precision.  Furthermore, the actual Table of Contents is intricately detailed, which is initially overwhelming, but ultimately incredibly valuable to the user as a research tool.

The annotations are another incredible research tool.  In the footnotes section on nearly every page, Lee’s provides citations and references to secondary authority, such as articles and scholarly journals, and to primary authority, such as case law and statutes, that are on-point with the legal issue being discussed.  Moreover, all three volumes contain a “Table of Cases” and “Table of Statutes” that a cost-conscious researcher can then look up for free on FastCase or the www.nccourts.org website.

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this practice guide is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Suppose, on behalf of a client, I was researching the requisite elements of the marital tort, alienation of affection.  Upon consulting the Volume I Summary Table of Contents, I see that Chapter 5 deals with Spousal Rights and Obligations during Marriage.  Subsequently, a search of the Chapter 5 Table of Contents reveals that “Alienation of affections and criminal conversation; elements” are located in § 5:46(A) on page 393.  There, I learn the requisite elements of alienation of affection are as follows: 1) marriage with love and affection, 2) love and affection alienated and destroyed; and 3) defendant with malice, caused the loss of love and affection.  The text includes a relevant footnote to the premier North Carolina case explaining and analyzing the elements.  Furthermore, the text provides legal analysis discussing the satisfaction of each element and additional references to the relevant case law.

Conclusion

If an attorney is under a time crunch, Lee’s in print might not be the most time efficient resource, relative to the ease of navigating the electronic version on Lexis Advance. But, if that same attorney seeks comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the legal principles of family law in North Carolina, then Lee’s in print at the Charlotte School of Law library is the same invaluable tool, only more of bargain.

~ Michael Haigler, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice Forms

Practice Forms provide law students and attorneys with practical advice on various procedural aspects of litigation. Form books supply attorneys with the boiler-plate language that is standard for a particular legal form. The attorney can then use this language when drafting a business form and can fill in the specific information related to his client’s company. Many times they give step-by-step instructions and other useful tools that both save the attorney time and aid him in drafting legal documents. The form book, North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice Forms by James Snyder, Jr. (Thompson/West, 2003), does all of these same things for various business entities across the business cycle, from starting up to winding down.

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For the past year, I’ve been interning at a company’s legal department. I love working in the corporate realm and plan to continue to pursue a career in corporate law. Accordingly, I chose North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice Forms because I thought it would be helpful to have a solid understanding of corporate practice forms – not only for my current internship, but also for my future legal career.  This form book is divided into the following three chapters: 1) Business Corporations, 2) Incorporation, and 3) Other Business Entities. The back of the book also contains the following three appendices – Comparison of Forms of Entity – Nontax and Tax Considerations Matrices, Incorporating Your Business in North Carolina, and Nonprofit Corporations. The book begins with a detailed table of contents, and the back pocket contains a cumulative supplement that was issued in December 2011. The supplement contains updates for the first and third chapters of the book.

Chapter One: Business Corporations is divided into 141 subtopics and their corresponding forms, listed and organized chronologically by the events in a corporation’s life, beginning with an Agreement to Incorporate.  Chapter 2: Incorporation is divided into the categories Business and Nonprofit Corporations and Nonprofit Corporations. Each category is further divided into different subtopics, beginning with incorporation and ending with merger and dissolution. This helps the attorney select the form pertinent to her client’s transaction. Chapter Three: Other Business Entities is divided into the following eight categories: 1) Limited Liability Companies, 2) Limited Partnerships, 3) Limited Liability Partnerships, 4) Registered Limited Liability Limited Partnerships, 5) Professional Corporations, 6) Professional Limited Liability Companies, 7) General Partnerships, and 8) Cooperative Associations. These categories are further divided into 73 different subtopics; an organization, seen throughout the resource, which helps the attorney locate the right form for his client’s business entity and tailor it toward the particular facts of the transaction.

North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice Forms can be found on WestlawNext by drilling down in accordance with the following navigational path: “Browse: All Content” > “Secondary Sources” > “North Carolina” > “Forms” > “North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice Forms.”  It can also be located in the Charlotte School of Law library in the “Reference: Carolinas” section by using the following call number: KFN7613.A65 S69 2003.

To demonstrate how easy it is to search and navigate this form book, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Suppose I needed to look for a standard form for the Articles of Dissolution for a Limited Liability Company.  Having drilled down to North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice Forms on WestlawNext, I am ready to search within the resource.  Relevant search strings might be “articles of dissolution limited liability company;” “articles of dissolution” & “limited liability company;” or “articles of dissolution.”  The result page from each search string returns the correct form for the Articles of Dissolution for a Limited Liability Company in North Carolina, specifically § 3:18 Articles of Dissolution.  But, it’s worth noting that the more specific search string – the second one that made use of the connector “&” – returned more top results that were the most relevant. § 3:18 Articles of Dissolution includes such information as the name of the company, date of the filing of the Articles of Organization, reason for dissolution, effective date, and signature of the person filing the form. Having located the right form, I can appropriate much of the boiler-plate language and fill-in only the information specific to my client’s business or transaction.

North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice Forms is an extremely useful resource for corporate attorneys who need to quickly find the correct form to address their business clients’ various transactional needs.

~ Rebecca Reynolds, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina

Does “Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina” Pass the Relevancy Test?

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The Overview

The Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina, part of the North Carolina Practice Series, contains practical information about the admissibility of evidence, witness testimony, hearsay, authentication, and other overlapping considerations.  The target audience of this practice guide is trial attorneys.  It is updated annually so that it may continue to comprehensively cover the most important evidentiary topics in North Carolina.

The topics are further divided into subtopics throughout each of the 27 chapters.  The subtopics enable a trial attorney to find exactly what he or she is looking for with ease.  The Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina is available in print, as well as, electronically on WestlawNext.

To gain access to the practice guide on WestlawNext, first, look under the “All Content” tab on the homepage.  Next, click the link for “Secondary Sources.”  This will open a new screen, which arranges secondary sources by type, state, and topic.  Under the “By State” category, click on the “North Carolina” link.  The link accesses secondary sources that pertain to North Carolina.  Under the category titled “Texts & Treatises,” click on the link for “North Carolina Texts & Treatises.”  The link will access texts and treatises pertaining to North Carolina.  On the “North Carolina Texts & Treatises” page, there is a link to the Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina practice guide.  Selecting it takes you to its table of contents.

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The practice guide has one general index and table of contents.  The index highlights ten sections of evidentiary subjects, from abuse of hearings to affidavits.  When accessing any of these sections, a trial attorney will find the relevant evidentiary rule, a brief explanation of the rule, as well as, cited case law.  If a trial attorney is trying to challenge the admission or exclusion of evidence, the cited case law is helpful in trial preparation.  The cited case law also enables a trial attorney to see how another attorney argued an evidentiary rule and how the court ruled on that argument.  This helps a trial attorney better prepare his or her case and devise a litigation strategy.  So, even though there are no sections in Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina dedicated to forms, practice tips, or step-by-step litigation strategies, the abundant annotations to relevant case law more than compensates.

The Search    

To test the reliability of the Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina, I decided to do a search on hearsay exceptions.  I used the following search string to access the exceptions: hearsay /s except!  The search turned up 58 results that address hearsay exceptions.  The search results identified each chapter and title and previewed the relevant section from each.  Having this information enables a trial attorney to select the appropriate result without having to scavenger hunt for it.

For example, if a trial attorney is trying to get clarification of the rule for “Ancient Documents” under the hearsay exception, the attorney will find the information under § 17.3.  Accessing § 17.3 provides a link to the North Carolina evidentiary rule—N.C.R. Evid. 803(16)—that corresponds to the hearsay exception for ancient documents.  Also, under the same section, there is a link to N.C.R. Evid. 901(b)(8), which addresses the requirement of authentication or identification (see below).

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The practice guide synthesizes the rule related to ancient documents and hearsay and provides case law and statutory authority that supports the rule.  The annotations allow a trial attorney to expand his or her research with still more, relevant primary authority binding in North Carolina.

As a future trial attorney in North Carolina, I see Admissibility of Evidence in North Carolina becoming an invaluable resource as I tackle evidentiary issues, devise litigation strategies, file motions and submit arguments before the court on behalf of a client.  Therefore, I highly recommend this practice guide to trial attorneys in North Carolina because it passes the relevancy test.

~ Shernika Smith, L’16 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Real Estate with Forms

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Introduction

The real estate industry is broken down into two broad categories:  commercial real estate (i.e. office buildings, retail buildings) and residential real estate (i.e. single family, multi-family).  In 2013, within the Charlotte area alone, there were over 35,000 residential property transactions.  In many commercial and residential transactions, a broker is involved and there are standard forms approved by state associations, such as the North Carolina Association of Realtors and the North Carolina Bar Association, used in the transaction.  There are also many times when buyer or seller’s counsel will draft the necessary documents for the transaction.  Law firms generally have “go-by’s” which are standard templates that provide boilerplate language that serve as a starting point for transactions.  However, if you are practicing on your own and do not have a library of go-by’s, a practice guide is a great place to get both comprehensive coverage of a topic, as well as, forms to serve as the basis for your transaction.

About North Carolina Real Estate with Forms

North Carolina Real Estate with Forms (Thompson/West, 2012) by Edmund T. Urban, A. Grant Whitney, Jr. and Nancy Short Ferguson contains two volumes and is organized to parallel the process of the real estate transaction from the purchase or sale to closing and recording.  The last update from 2012 is contained in a supplement in the back of Volume 1 and a separate supplement for Volume 2.

Volume 1 covers the various aspects of commercial and residential real estate sales contracts and options, and includes an extensive amount of information on real estate title searches and examinations and special considerations in the closing process.  Additionally, Volume 1 includes a Summary of Contents and a Table of Contents for both volumes, which is helpful to determine where your broad topic or subtopic may be located within the two volume series.

Volume 2 continues with its coverage of title searches and examinations and concludes with a comprehensive overview of the closing process and required documents.  Additionally, Volume 2 includes two tables and an index.  The first is a Table of Laws and Rules, which points to federal and state statutes and treatises and lists their location within the series.  The second is a Table of Cases.  The cases are arranged alphabetically, and the table lists their location within the series.  Finally, Volume 2 includes a detailed Index.  The Index is more comprehensive than the Summary and Table of Contents.  For instance, if you were looking for a form for the rescission of a mortgage and relying on only the Table of Contents, you would be hard pressed to determine the relevant chapter and title.  However, the Index lists the topics “Rescission” and “Mortgages and Deeds of Trust,” which also has the subtopic “Rescission,” both of which lead to the relevant chapter and title, specifically Chapter 21: Defects, Liens, and Encumbrances.

Each chapter in North Carolina Real Estate with Forms lists the forms available for each represented topic.  It is important to check the most current supplement for updates to the forms.  For example, the Offer to Purchase and Contract Form 2-T was completely revamped in 2011 as North Carolina moved to being a due diligence state for residential property purchases.  But, the 2009 edition of this Practice Series includes the OLD Form 2-T, while the new Form 2-T is included in the 2012 supplement.

North Carolina Real Estate with Forms can be found in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at the Charlotte School of Law library with the following call number: KFN7526.U73. More information about this title and other titles in the North Carolina Practice Series can be found by searching the Charlotte School of Law library catalog with the search string “north carolina practice series,” or by visiting the library’s LibGuides, specifically the North Carolina Legal Research LibGuide.

Conclusion

North Carolina Real Estate with Forms is a valuable practice series for any attorney involved in a commercial or residential real estate transaction.  The series gives a comprehensive overview and consideration of each aspect of the law that could impact the real estate transaction.

~ Traci Belk, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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It’s Banned Books Week: September 21 – 27

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Each year many organizations focus on Banned Books Week, and for good reason.  Banned and challenged books inhibit our freedom to read and promote censorship, both of which are intimately linked to our freedom of speech.  The American Library Association actively promotes recognition of Banned Books Week and encourages everyone to get involved.  Check out their site here.

Want to check out banned and challenged books from years past?  You can see those lists here.  Note that the Dave Pilkey series, Captain Underpants, has earned the top spot on the list for the past three years now.  Listen to Dave Pilkey’s public service message here and stick around to hear John Monforte read Maurice Sendak’s Into the Night Kitchen (another book on the banned/challenged list) while you are there.

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The focus of Banned Books Week this year is on graphic novels and comics.  NPR also featured Banned Books Week on it’s broadcast todayBone, by Jeff Smith, made the number ten spot on this year’s list.

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And your quiz of the day:  Which Banned Book are You?

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Stop by the Library to check out our displays of banned comics and graphic novels, as well as the DVDs we have of movies made from banned and challenged books.  Fight for your right to read – pick up a banned book today – it could set you free!

~ Julie Morris ~

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ALR Student’s Corner: Thorp’s North Carolina Trial Practice Forms

It’s your first day on the job as a licensed Attorney.  You spent three, grueling years in law school, worked hard, and passed the bar exam.  A client walks into your office needing assistance with obtaining emergency custody of her child.  You know you need to file an ex parte motion.  You break out your handy dandy Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, ready to get to work.  As someone who did well in Family Law, you feel competent enough to take on this case.  Nonetheless, you quickly enter panic mode after realizing that you know the law, but not how to draft the motion.  Your boss won’t return to the office for several hours, and time is of the essence.  Where do you turn for assistance?  Thorp’s North Carolina Trial Practice Forms (7th ed. 2013) of course!

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The trial practice forms in this resource follow the same structure as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Where multiple subsections of rules apply, the forms are listed under each relevant subsection of those rules.  Rules are divided into five basic areas:  Pleadings and Motions, Parties, Discovery, Trials, and Judgment.  The appropriate form in Thorp’s can be located via the general index or the table of contents which organizes the forms according to the following topics in civil procedure:

  • Commencement of action
  • Process
  • Service and filing of pleadings
  • Pleading special matters
  • Defenses and objections
  • Counterclaim and cross-claim
  • Third-party practice
  • Amended and supplemental pleadings
  • Parties
  • Joinder
  • Interpleader
  • Class actions
  • Intervention
  • Substitution of parties
  • Depositions
  • Discovery

The text of the rules is included immediately before the forms and provides the “law behind the forms.”  Thorp’s also includes practice notes, as well as, expert insight into the forms, rules from a practitioner’s standpoint, and research references to additional materials.  Keep in mind that, while Thorp’s is an excellent source for trial practice forms and is updated by annual supplements between editions, it is not a one-stop-shop, meaning that additional, independent research is necessary to understand the applicable statutes, update the notes of decisions, and locate any additional treatises on North Carolina civil practice and procedure.

How do you go about accessing this resource you ask?  Well, there are many ways.  First, used copies are available from Amazon for about $75.00, and new copies with an accompanying CD-ROM, from Thomson Reuters for $493.00 (updates cost an additional $28.00 per month). Or, the electronic version of the form book is available on WestlawNext.  To locate, type the title in the universal search box and, once “Thorp’s North Carolina Trial Practice Forms” populates in the suggestion box below, select the form book (note: make certain to check the “Show Suggestions” box beforehand).  Finally, don’t forget the free print option:  Thorp’s is located in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at the Charlotte School of Law library; the call number (KFN7930.A65 T48) is accessible via the library catalog with the following search string: “trial practice forms.”

I found Thorp’s to be extremely beneficial.  However, I do think it might be more helpful were it to include more indices – such as one organized by cause of action.  For instance, in the cause of action for an Absolute Divorce, the following forms are necessary:  Civil Action Cover Sheet, Civil Summons, Complaint, Verification, Motion Cover Sheet, Motion for Summary Judgment, Certificate of Absolute Divorce Form, and a Judgment of Divorce Form.  Although Thorp’s includes the aforementioned documents, a new Attorney might find a checklist that includes these items more helpful.

Thorp’s North Carolina Trial Practice Forms is an invaluable resource – it shows practitioners and law students the appropriate format and content pieces (i.e. terms of art, clauses, other specific language) of a multitude of legal documents.  Although practice materials and form books such as Thorp’s are necessary for the actual practice of law, they are not substitutes for thorough research of the applicable statutes and common law.

~ Brooke McIntosh, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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ALR Student’s Corner: Shuford North Carolina Civil Practice and Procedure with Appellate Advocacy

Introduction

A legal treatise is a scholarly legal publication that contains in-depth information related to a particular area of law. Legal treatises are authoritative secondary sources written by scholars for the purposes of providing practitioners with a “framework of analysis” and offering annotations to primary authority that stand for the rule of law.  For these reasons, treatises are great starting places for any research project.  Shuford North Carolina Civil Practice and Procedure with Appellate Advocacy (6th edition, West) (herein referenced as Shuford) by Alan D. Woodlief, Jr., Associate Dean for Admissions and Administration and Associate Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law, is one such treatise to reference when looking for detailed information concerning the practice of civil law in North Carolina.

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About Shuford North Carolina Civil Practice and Procedure with Appellate Advocacy

Shuford is a single-volume practice guide that explains and analyzes application of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Each chapter corresponds to a particular rule of civil procedure and includes the text of the rule, an explanation of its application, interpretation of the rule by the appellate court and research references that expound on the rule. The book is divided into two parts: Part I contains Civil Procedure and Part II contains Appellate Advocacy.   This latter section is fairly new and addresses the evolving needs of attorneys by helping them to “synthesize the overlapping rules, statutes, and case law that govern North Carolina appellate practice.”  As more attorneys take-on appellate work, this guide will help them understand and navigate appellate practice.

The annotations to case law, located in the footnotes, separate Shuford from being a mere recitation of the rules of civil procedure. Relevant case law and statutory authority provide deeper insight and context to each rule and its application. Additionally, the footnotes point the practitioner to trends in the field, while also providing comparisons between the state and federal rules of civil procedure.  However, a research tool missing from Shuford are checklists which provide the practitioner with guidance for filing motions and other court documents and proceeding with discovery.

The print version of Shuford is located in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at the Charlotte School of Law library; the call number (KFN.7930.S53) can be accessed via the library catalog with the search term, “Shuford.”  The catalog additionally provides a link to the electronic version of Shuford on WestlawNext.  To access the resource on WestlawNext, drill down in accordance with the following navigational path: “Browse: All Content” > “Secondary Sources” > “North Carolina” > “Texts & Treatises” > “Shuford North Carolina Civil Practice and Procedure with Appellate Advocacy.”

How to Search Shuford North Carolina Civil Practice and Procedure with Appellate Advocacy

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this practice guide is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Suppose you were looking for the appropriate form to commence a negligence action on behalf of a client.  Upon consulting the detailed table of contents, you see that “Chapter 3: Commencement of Action” discusses when a complaint is deemed filed and an action commenced.  There, you cull a better understanding of the requisite steps for the commencement of an action and find the appropriate forms, which, as per your client, is §84.3 – Complaint For Negligence.  This particular form, like the others, shows practitioners and law students the appropriate format and content pieces (i.e. terms of art, clauses, other specific language) of a multitude of legal documents.  To access this same form on WestlawNext, drill down to Shuford, select “Part I: Civil Procedure,” and then search within that part with the following search string: complaint /3 negligence.

Conclusion

Shuford North Carolina Civil Practice and Procedure with Appellate Advocacy is a great secondary source for gaining in depth knowledge, annotations, and forms related to the rules of civil practice and procedure in North Carolina.

~ Latoya Gardner, L’15 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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