Category Archives: Of Interest to Law Students

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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Building Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance While Teaching Legal Research

Kristina Niedringhaus of Georgia State University College of Law Library and Carolyn Broering-Jacobs of Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law gave a spirited and honest discussion about the emergence of grit as a best practice in education before a packed hall at the 107th AALL Annual Meeting & Conference. Their presentation, called Building Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance While Teaching Legal Research, synthesized the scientific research behind grit, and encouraged attendees to share their own experiences implementing grit in legal research instruction.

Grit is the display of perseverance and passion in the attainment of long-term goals.  The research of psychologist Angela Duckworth – among West Point cadets, Wharton School of Business graduates, National Spelling Bee champions, and other high-achieving-groups – indicates that, across demographics, grit is more important in determining success than intelligence or standardized test score. According to Ms. Duckworth, grit is measurable.  Presenters Niedringhaus and Broering-Jacobs administered the Duckworth Grit Scale to the attendees, and, as you would expect in a hall of librarians, the Grit Scale confirmed we were quite the gritty bunch.

Aside from quantifiable data, a student’s grittiness reveals itself in other ways.  For instance, an optimistic explanatory style of negative events correlates to having grit.  Also, students whose words and actions espouse a growth mindset show more resolve and determination in the face of failure than those who demonstrate a fixed mindset.  The growth mindset student willingly risks failure and accepts it as part of the hard work necessary to grow her intelligence and talent.  Conversely, the fixed mindset student believes her intelligence and talent cannot be improved, so she sees no point in working hard, least of all if there is the chance of failure.  This dichotomy between the growth mindset and fixed mindset tracks closely along cultural lines: students of Western cultures believe that struggle indicates they are less capable, while those of Eastern cultures believe the opposite, embracing struggle as a positive event.

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There are no scientific studies that indicate grit can be taught.  But, because it is the key to embracing hard work and failure, and learning over the long-term, presenters Niedringhaus and Broering-Jacobs, in the highlight of their discussion, turned it over to the attendees to share anecdotes of teaching grit.  These fell within such categories as staging an interrupting event or a complication in the research strategy, and allowing searches that lead nowhere or to an unclear answer.  But, a couple of anecdotes hit upon truly unique ways of teaching grit.  One professor brought bow ties to class and taught grit by showing students how to tie a bow tie.  Another professor recorded her efforts to answer a research problem devised by her students, capturing her frustration and failures, but also her determination and strategies for success as she worked through the problem.

Presenters Niedringhaus and Broering-Jacobs gave an amazing presentation that left the attendees with practical ways of instilling grit in their classroom instruction.  This made Building Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance While Teaching Legal Research one of the most talked about presentations from the 107th AALL Annual Meeting & Conference.

~ Cory M. Lenz ~

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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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CSL Spotlight: Enhancing Learning Outcomes

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CSL is leading the higher education industry in enhancing learning outcomes and raising standards for experiential learning to prepare our students to be practice-ready.

Below is a front page article in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly about the recent change to ABA Standard 303(a) which now requires students to take 6 credits of experiential learning courses, and features interviews with Charlotte School of Law Deans Camille Davidson, Kama Pierce, and Carlos Pauling.

Law schools are sizing up recent changes to American Bar Association accreditation standards

Recent changes to the American Bar Association’s law school accreditation rules should mean minor adjustments for most of North Carolina’s law schools, if first impressions of several school leaders are correct. On Aug. 11 in Boston — after six years of comprehensive review — …

Read more: http://nclawyersweekly.com/2014/09/02/new-rules-for-schools-2/#ixzz3FYWViEot

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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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October Happenings

Never fear, we’ve got plenty of tricks and treats for this bewitching month!

HALLOWEEN: Misfit’s Witches Ball, Corn Mazes, pumpkin patches, hay rides, Scarowinds, Bootanical, Pumpkin Patch Party at Romare Bearden Park , GUTS Pumpkin Carving Contest, Trunk or Treat, Queen City Ghost ToursRich and Bennett’s Halloween Pub Crawl, Great Pumpkin Fest at Carowinds, Spirits of Rosedale

KISS 95.1’s Grave Digger’s Ball

Performing Arts: A Mother’s Love, Charlotte Ballet: Dangerous Liaisons, Rouge, Things that go bump in the night, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Vagina Monologues, For the Love of Harlem, Just do it – Man’s Best Friend, Nabucco, Africa Umoja

Music: For the love of Harlem, Old 97’s, Taking Back Sunday, Chris Tile & Edgar Meyer, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Nick Carter & Jordan Knight, Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival, Midatlantic Music Fall Festival, Ne-Yo, Wynton Marsalis, Calvin Harris, Silent Disco, Macy Gray, Steep Canyon Rangers, Darius Rucker with David Nail & A Thousand Horses, Marketa Irglova, Los Lobos

Chews&Booze: Bachtoberfest, Amazing Race Bar Crawl, Oktoberfest at Waldhorn Restaurant, Bibliofeast, Dining for Friends Finale, Great Grapes! Food and Wine Festival,  National Taco Day, Taste of the World, Chili Cook Off, BBQ and Blues Festival, Mecktoberfest,  Clips Beer and Film Tour, Pink on the Lawn event at the Charlotte Observer with food trucks, All you can eat oysters at Georges Brasserie

Sports: Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers

Races: Race for the Cure, Runway 5k, Walk with Me, Walk like MADD, Charger Challenge 5k and Fun Run, Rocktoberfest, Hopebuilders 5k, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Just for laughs: Last Comic Standing, Tommy Davidson, Carlos Mencia

For the kids: The Lion and the Little Red Bird, 101 Dalmatians, Disney on Ice: Princesses & Heroes, JAARS Day, Penguins 3D, Omimeo, Day out with Thomas, Myers Park Library Presents: Children’s Pumpkin Party, Book Fair, Bootanical

For the “furry” kids: Barktoberfest, Humane Society’s Ties and Tails Gala

Other fun events: NC Legal Geeks, Charlotte Magazine Bridal Show,  Goodguys 21st Southeastern Nationals, Hairwalk: The Movement, Bank of America 500, 2014 Gantt Symposium featuring Common, An Evening with Bob Woodruff, Latin American Festival, Renaissance Festival, Hola Charlotte Festival, Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival, Carolina Balloon Fest, Autumn Jubilee, Charlotte Fall Home Show, 18th Annual Carnival at St. Ann’s Parish, Soul Food: National Author and Diverse Panels, Elizabeth Home and Garden Tour, Pretty in Pink Fashion Show, Chocolate for a Cure, Wine Women and Shoes, Lights!Camera!Fashion!, Creative Loafing’s Best of Charlotte Cocktail Party, Geek Gala, Relive the Legacy of the Appalachian Trail, Teresa Caputo, Festival of Praise Tour, Healthy Home Market Grand Opening

If your sense of adventure leads you outside the city limits, check out these attractions:

NC State Fair in Raleigh, NC. Why not ride the rails?

Tweetsie Railroad Ghost Train in Blowing Rock, NC

Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to soak up some beautiful foliage sights.

Blue Ridge Pride Festival in Asheville, NC

BBQ Festival in Lexington, NC

~Jamie Sunnycalb~

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