Category Archives: Of Interest to Law Students

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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ALR Student’s Corner: Elements of Civil Causes of Action in North Carolina

I can only imagine what life will be like as a practicing attorney, and when I do, it often makes me nervous because work and life will be busy considering it takes a lot of commitment and excellence to stay abreast of the law which is ever changing.  But then I discovered Elements of Civil Causes of Action in North Carolina (2nd ed. 2014) by Douglas Scott MacGregor and Alyssa Rosen and published by the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation.

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This single-volume, annotated resource relieves my anxiety because, like most other practice guides, this one is put together by lawyers for lawyers to use in practice.  So, the practice guide does much of the early research for you, explaining the rule of law and any applicable exceptions in clear, concise language and offering annotations to relevant case law and statutory authority.  Elements of Civil Causes of Action in North Carolina covers 38 of the most frequently filed causes of action in North Carolina, breaking each down according to definitions, elements, defenses and remedies.  I dream that my class outlines could be as well organized as this resource.  It is important to note that this resource exists only in print; there is no electronic version.  The print version of Elements of Civil Causes of Action in North Carolina can be located in the “Reference: Carolinas” section at the Charlotte School of Law library; the call number (KFN7933 .M33 2014) can be accessed via the library catalog with the following search string: “elements north carolina.”

Using the table of contents is the quickest and most efficient way of navigating to a particular cause of action as each is presented in its own chapter.  At the end of each chapter, endnotes provide additional references to journal articles, cases, and statutes that provide background information about the particular cause of action and the legal authority that stands for the rule of law.  Chapter titles include such causes of action as assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress and negligence.   At first glance, this is a clear throwback to Torts class, but other “non-doctrinal torts” are also covered such as the cause of action called “wrongful conception, wrongful birth and wrongful life,” also known as prenatal torts.

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I had never heard of wrongful conception, wrongful birth and wrongful life, but learned from Elements of Civil Causes of Action in North Carolina that the Court of Appeals first recognized the tort in 1986.   These types of cases are usually brought by the parents of a child whose physician negligently performed an abortion or sterilization procedure or by a couple whose physician or pharmacist negligently performed a vasectomy or improperly filled a birth control prescription.  These prenatal torts are generally brought under a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim, and the North Carolina Supreme Court has established that, to state a claim for malpractice, the plaintiff must establish the following: 1) there was a duty; 2) there was a breach of that duty; and 3) damages or injuries proximately resulted from that breach.

If you are ever working through a fact pattern that involves the alienation of affection, neglect, wrongful birth, or a similar tort, take the time to review Elements of Civil Causes of Action in North Carolina, a great resource to use when becoming familiar with an unfamiliar area of law.

~ Raeneice Taltoan, L’16 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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Student Spotlight: 2014 ABA Annual Meeting Recap

The American Bar Association (“ABA”) is the world’s largest voluntary network of legal professionals and law students, with approximately 400,000 members.  Founded in 1878, the ABA’s mission is based on supporting the legal profession with practical resources for legal professionals and law students, while also improving the administration of justice, accrediting law schools, and establishing model ethical codes.

This year, the ABA hosted its Annual Meeting at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts from August 7th – August 10th, 2014. Judges, attorneys, deans, professors, law students, and other legal professionals from around the world were invited to partake in discussions on ABA initiatives and vote on such initiatives, attend panels and CLEs, and participate in professional networking events. Five Charlotte School of Law students attended the Meeting on behalf of the law school for the Law Student Division: Alexandria “Lexi” Andresen (CSL ABA Representative, 3L), Brittany Smiley (CSL ABA Vice Representative, 2L), Marlowe Rary (SBA President, 3L), Angelo Zingaretti (SBA Senate Chair, 3L), and Maritza Adonis (Fourth Circuit Governor, 2L).

During the Annual Meeting, the Law Student Division accepted donations of school supplies for the children of domestic violence survivors at the Casa Myrna residential program. Charlotte School of Law donated large quantities of pens, pencils, journals, binders, highlighters, and other related school supplies to this cause.

Although the Charlotte Law student representatives were primarily at the Meeting to attend the Law Student division events, they also had the rare opportunity to attend the Judicial Division Lawyers Conference /Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association Joint Reception, organized by Charlotte Law Professor, Carolyn Dubay.  Many prominent judges and attorneys from across the country were also in attendance at this event, including: the Honorable Judge Frank D. Whitney, Chief Judge of the District Court of Western District of North Carolina; the Honorable Patti B. Saris, Chair, U.S. Sentencing Commission and Chief United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; and the Honorable Ben C. Clyburn, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. The event took place at the Historical John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.

Notably, Charlotte School of Law received a nationally recognized award at the ABA Annual Meeting—The Excellence in Membership and Programming Award.  This award recognizes Charlotte Law for its outstanding ABA membership efforts, involvement, and activity in the ABA Law Student Division. Charlotte Law’s student representatives accepted the award on behalf of the school in front of national ABA officers and 102 other law schools represented at the event.

ABA Representative Lexi Andresen states:

When Charlotte Law was announced as the recipient of the Excellence in Membership & Programming Award, the first thought that went through my mind was how appreciative I am of the students involved in the ABA at Charlotte School of Law. We work very hard to put on events that are interesting, informative, and provide networking opportunities for students. I am incredibly pleased that our efforts and the participation of the Charlotte Law student body in ABA events, were recognized on a national level!

I have had the wonderful opportunity of attending the ABA Annual Meeting two years in a row now. Both times, one thing stuck with me after each meeting – it’s truly amazing how much this organization is making important and substantive changes to the legal system, legal education, and the world in general.

As a Ms. JD Fellowship Recipient, Lexi also had the esteemed opportunity to attend the 24th Annual Margaret Brent Awards Luncheon on Sunday, August 10, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Check out our earlier post on this event for more details!

ABA Vice Representative Britany Smiley sums up the 2014 ABA Annual Meeting with this:

I think I speak on behalf of all of the Charlotte Law student leaders who attended when I say that the trip to Boston was a wonderful experience, both academically and socially. We were able to learn so much about the ABA and everything it has to offer law students, young lawyers and seasoned professionals as well as the many initiatives that the organization is taking in various areas of practice and educational reform. We were also able to network with professionals from around the country, including professors, attorneys, judges, past and present ABA Presidents, as well as student representatives from various schools across the nation. We are excited to bring all that we learned, and the connections that we made, back to Charlotte and cannot wait for the upcoming year!

If you are interested in becoming a member of the ABA Law Student Division at Charlotte School of Law, please visit www.americanbar.org/join.  Please contact the Charlotte School of Law ABA Representative, Alexandria Andresen (andresena@students.charlottelaw.edu), with any questions that you may have regarding ABA involvement.

Congratulations to all of these amazing students for their accomplishments and for taking the time to share their experiences with the Charlotte Law Library blog — and a special thanks to our Core Operations student worker, Mili Banerji, for her assistance in compilation of this article!

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Student Spotlight: Alexandria Andresen Attends the 24th Annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award Luncheon

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The Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991, recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. The Brent Awards Luncheon is the place where the Brent Award winners are honored. The Luncheon is a significant event at the ABA Annual Meeting, as national ABA officers, the ABA President, and past Presidents were among those attending the event.

Ms. JD, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization, is the premier national organization for women in the law. Ms. JD is dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers. Every year, Ms. JD selects 15-20 rising 3L women around the country to receive the Ms. JD Fellowship.  This year, Charlotte School of Law student, Alexandria “Lexi” Andresen, was one of 17 students from across the country to be selected for the national Fellowship.

Ms. Andresen states:

When I first found out that I had been selected as one of 17 women in the country to be selected for the Ms. JD Fellowship, I was astounded, but appreciative of such a wonderful opportunity. The main purpose of the Fellowship is promote the importance of mentors within the legal profession. I have been fortunate to already have some great mentors in my life, including the incredibly successful mentor that I’ve been paired with through the Ms. JD Fellowship, Sara Holtz of San Francisco, CA. I think it is very important to continue seeking out successful mentors, and to be a mentor myself.

As a Ms. JD Fellowship Recipient, Ms. Andresen had the esteemed opportunity to attend the 24th Annual Margaret Brent Awards Luncheon on Sunday, August 10, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. At the Luncheon, the Brent Award winners were presented with their Awards, and each honoree delivered a 10- to 20- minute speech after the presentation of the Award.

This year, Brent Award was presented to the following five (5) prestigious female attorneys from around the country:

  • ​Honorable Nancy Gertner; Harvard Law School and Judge (Retired); U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Cambridge, MA
  • Anastasia D. Kelly; Co-Managing Partner (Americas); DLA Piper; Washington, DC
  • Allie B. Latimer (PDF); Former General Counsel; General Services Administration; Washington, DC
  • Honorable Kathryn Doi Todd; Associate Justice (Retired); California Court of Appeal, Second District; Los Angeles, CA
  • Marissa C. Wesely (PDF); Of Counsel; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; New York, NY
The Award recipients on the stage at the Luncheon

The Award recipients on the stage at the Luncheon

At the Luncheon, each Brent Award winner delivered motivating and inspirational speeches describing their experiences and how they achieved their many successes. Each woman had her own unique and amazing story; however, a common theme in each of the speeches was the importance of grit and determination of women within the legal profession.  The speeches for each of the Brent Award winners can be found on the ABA Website.

Lexi’s advice to 2Ls looking to apply for the Ms. JD Fellowship next year is:

Get involved in the school and local community, keep up the good grades, and seek out those important mentor/mentee relationships!

Sources:

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ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Law of Damages

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What is North Carolina Law of Damages?

North Carolina Law of Damages (5th edition) is a two-volume, annotated practice guide for attorneys practicing in North Carolina. It provides a wide-range of information on damages as they pertain to such legal topics as criminal proceedings, hospital liens, personal injury, fraud and deceit, wrongful death, family torts, estates, and statutory penalties. These diverse topics represent a mere fraction of the information available in North Carolina Law of Damages, making it an enormously valuable resource for attorneys researching the law of damages in North Carolina as it applies to a multitude of civil law issues.

This practice guide is exceptionally well organized; topics are broken down further into concise sub-topics, 269 in total. Part I (Damages, Generally) contains 12 chapters and 88 subtopics, while Part II (Damages Relating to Particular Subject Areas) contains 26 chapters and 181 subtopics. This organization provides an extremely user-friendly way of searching for almost any information about damages in North Carolina.

How to Locate North Carolina Law of Damages

To locate the electronic version of the practice guide on WestlawNext, type the title in the universal search box and, once “North Carolina Law of Damages” populates in the suggestion box below, select the practice guide (note: make certain to check the “Show Suggestions” box beforehand). From there, you can choose Part I for general information on damages or Part II for more specific information on damages relating to a particular subject.  The electronic version of the practice guide might also be accessed on WestlawNext by drilling down in accordance with the following navigational path: “Browse: All Content” > “Secondary Sources” > “North Carolina” > “Texts & Treatises” > “North Carolina Law of Damages.”

The print version of the practice guide is available at the Charlotte School of Law library; the call number (KFN7595 .W66 2004 v.1) can be accessed via the library catalog with the following search string: “north carolina damages.”  The practice guide can also be purchased for $312.00 with monthly updates costing $27.00.

How to Search North Carolina Law of Damages

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this practice guide is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Let’s say that a client has come to you after a trial judge set aside a jury verdict awarding him $10,000 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages. To advise your client, you decide to determine whether the damages are considered excessive under North Carolina law. This is a more general topic, so you consult Part I of North Carolina Law of Damages. From the table of contents, you decide “Chapter 7: Amount of Damages” seems relevant to your client’s issue, and even more so, the subtopic below, “§ 7:4 – Excessive or inadequate damages.” Turning to that section in the volume, you learn the trial judge has discretionary power to set aside an award of damages if she believes that the damages are excessive or inadequate and given under the influence of passion or prejudice, or if the evidence is insufficient to justify the verdict. This does not provide much guidance as to whether your client’s award of damages might be considered excessive. However, § 7:4 goes on to state that a ruling by the trial judge on the issue of damages is within her discretion and will not be set aside except upon a showing of abuse of discretion. You can now advise your client appropriately, and you have North Carolina Law of Damages to thank for it.

~ Michelle Abbott, L’15 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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CSL Library Academic Success Collection Guide

The CSL Library’s Academic Success Collection is located behind the circulation desk on the 5th floor.

This collection includes resources like hornbooks, practice exams, flashcards, audio CDs, and law school success books. Students may browse available titles by subject using the online library catalog, or they can discuss with an Academic Success Counselor which resources might be best suited to their purpose.

The Academic Success Collection contains high-use materials of interest to a large number of students, covering a wide variety of subjects, which is why the materials are on reserve and have limited loan periods. The Academic Success resources are available for a 3 day checkout. Some of the Academic Success resources listed below are also available as a reserve item. Reserve items are limited to a 3 hour checkout.

The following is a general description of the types of Academic Success resources available for each of the 1L classes and for many of the upper level courses:

  • Black Letter Outlines – These outlines summarize the basic black letter rules of each topic in a way that allows students to appreciate how different parts of their course material fit together.
  • Concise Hornbook Series – Discusses specific problems and illustrations, focusing on topics covered in a typical course on civil procedure, tied to no particular casebook.
  • Crunch Time Series – Crunch Times include a summary of about 100 pages, summarizing all the key concepts in easy-to-read outline form, Exam Tips, drawn from analysis of exactly what has been asked on hundreds of past essay and short-answer law exams, Flow Charts short-answer and multiple-choice questions , and complex issue-spotting essay questions. 
  • Emanuel Law Outlines – Emanuel Law Outlines support your class preparation, provide reference for your outline creation, and supply a comprehensive breakdown of topic matter for your entire study process. Also included are exam questions with model answers, an alpha-list of cases, and a cross reference table of cases for all of the leading casebooks.
  • Examples & Explanations – Examples and Explanations are written in clear text and contain many concrete examples as well as questions and answers with detailed explanations for help in reviewing concepts.  Certain legal concepts are explained with the aid of charts and graphics, and sample examination questions are provided with their model answers.
  • Hornbooks – Hornbooks cover a single legal subject and are written expressly for law students by law professors.  These condensed one-volume overviews are written in clear, accessible language.  They contain discussion of courts’ interpretation of the law, explanations of the application of the law today, and may contain hypothetical questions and model answers.  
  • Nutshells – Nutshells are small, paperback texts that present concise overviews of areas of law. Nutshells are considered the most basic secondary source on a legal topic.
  • Q&A Series – These LexisNexis study guide series feature hundreds of multiple-choice and short-answer questions arranged topically, plus an additional sets of questions comprising a final “practice exam.”  For each multiple-choice question, authors provide a detailed answer that indicates which of four options is the best answer and explains thoroughly why that option is better than the other three options. 
  • Siegel’s Series – The Siegel’s Series works through key topics in Q&A format, providing an additional source for self-quizzing. Titles in this exam-prep series contain essay questions with model answers, as well as multiple-choice questions and answers. 
  • Understanding Series – The Understanding the Law series of hornbooks covers the central concepts and issues students encounter in the basic 1L law course, as well as the leading cases.  Topics that typically cause the most confusion are covered in-depth.

Additional Material Types Available from the Library

  • Bar Prep Materials – In the final Stretch? Check out the Bar Prep Materials your library has to offer.
  • Audio CDs – Designed for Audio Learners, or students with long commutes, these convenient audio CD’s present legal topics in a clear, succinct, timesaving format.
  • Flash Cards – For reviewing legal topics point-by-point, Law in a Flash Card Sets contain hundreds of short questions and provide precise answers on the flip side.

~Aaron Greene~

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ALR Student’s Corner: Bender’s Forms of Discovery

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Introduction

Discovery is a key part of a civil or criminal action because it can force an adverse party to disclose information and evidence that is essential to the preparation of the requesting party’s case.  Because discovery is a key part in any trial, there must be rules and regulations monitoring it to avoid abuse by one or both parties.  The purpose of Bender’s Forms of Discovery is to showcase all the different avenues and tools used in the discovery process today.  Since Bender’s publication in 1975, the world of discovery has drastically changed thanks to the Internet and all the technological advances our country has seen over the past 35+ years.  In most cases, the law struggles to keep up with the ever evolving world of technology.  As a subset of that issue, our legal system must address how to handle and deal with each new form of evidence through discovery, and keep pace with its constant evolution.

Background

Bender’s Forms of Discovery, authored by Matthew Bender of Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a subsidiary of LexisNexis, is a 17 volume, loose-leaf series made up of Treatises and Interrogatories.  The Index for the Interrogatories is volume 10A which provides an index for volumes 1-10A.  The Index for the Treatises is volume 17 which provides an index for volumes 11-17.  Each volume contains its own index for that specific volume.  Each index is given section numbers based on broad topics depending on the type of discovery.  These sections are broken down further into sub-categories, providing its users with even more detailed descriptions.  For instance, within Interrogatories, the categories for the different types of discovery range from accountants to computers to products liability to slip-and-falls to zoning, while the categories for the different types of discovery, in the Treatises, range from discovery generally to production and inspection (federal and state rules) to discovery of electronically stored information.

Bender’s Forms of Discovery was last updated in 2013 and can be accessed in one of the following ways: 1) using the Browse Sources feature on Lexis Advance, search or browse by title; 2) using the Charlotte School of Law Library catalog, locate the title and then click on “Ebook” to be directly linked to the Lexis Advance site; and 3) using the call number – KF 8900.A3 – pulled from the catalog, access the print version of Bender’s Forms of Discovery in the stacks at the CSL Library.

Critique

The volume indices do a great job of grouping categories into broad topics first and then breaking those down further into chapters, subcategories, sections, and subsections.  For example, “Chapter 15: Discovery of Electronically Stored Information” is broken down into such subcategories as Scope, Understanding Electronically Stored Information, Record Retention and Disposition Policy, Litigation Response Plan Formulation Stage, Identification Stage, and Preservation Stage.  These subcategories are further broken down into detailed sections and sub-sections.  However, the Index of Treatises and the Index of Interrogatories may be slightly confusing to a layperson interested in looking up a specific topic because of how the indices refer to specific topics.  The indices refer to topics by chapter numbers and sections rather than volumes, whereas the volumes are not broken down by chapters, but rather by alphabetical categories.  So, you first have to find the appropriate volume based on your topic, and then locate the chapter and section referenced in the Index.

Example

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this form book is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Suppose I were a corporate attorney and had a client who is being charged with embezzlement.  Because electronic data on computers, hard drives, and other storage systems will be sought by opposing counsel, I have a moral and ethical duty to ensure that no evidence is destroyed pending litigation.  I can locate my duties as the defense attorney by using Bender’s Forms of Discovery; within Chapter 15 discussing electronically stored information, I learn everything I need to know about these duties as they pertain to this specific form of discovery.  To get there, I locate Volume 17 because it contains the Chapter 15 discussion about electronically stored information.  Within the table of contents for Chapter 15, I locate the topic “Preservation Stage” and within that, § 15.63[1]0 providing a full description and analysis of the attorney’s responsibilities to advise a client of her duty to preserve, with annotations to primary and secondary authorities.

~ Courtney Carter, L’14 ~

  Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

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