Put Into Practice Newsletter
February 2021
Jay Reeves, author
A Valentine’s Day Lawyer in the Police Blotter
This Valentine’s Day, I am grateful for the lawyers in varying degrees of distress I have worked with over the years.

I hope each of them is happy and safe. I am glad our paths crossed, if only briefly. I became a better lawyer and person by serving them during their trials and tribulations, and by standing at their side on their worst days.
Estate Planning Traps

In recent years, Lawyers Mutual has seen a significant increase in claims arising from estates and trusts. The estates practice area was tied with plaintiff personal injury for the highest number of claims in 2020 (more than family law or residential real estate). These claims have involved a wide range of issues – estate planning and administration, large and small estates, new and experienced practitioners.
Practice Points with Mark Scruggs: It's a New Year; Fire a Client!

When an insured calls me to report a grievance or a claim, it is not unusual to hear the lawyer say, “I knew this was going to happen!” I take that comment to mean the attorney-client relationship had soured long ago.
Law School Life During a Pandemic: Perspective from Elon 1L Afshan Bhatia

We recently chatted with Afshan Bhatia, a 1L at Elon Law, to gain perspective on how law students are adjusting to life and learning during a pandemic. As we know, law school is hard enough in regular times. Let’s see how this enterprising law student made the most of a challenging situation.
Covid-19 Checklist - Issues to Consider for Commercial Real Estate Purchase

What we learned in 2020 was to expect the unexpected. Prior to February of 2020, who would have predicted the impact of a pandemic in general, let alone COVID-19 in particular, when drafting commercial real estate purchase contracts? (NCBA Blog)
Tom Lenfestey and Camille Stell Release New Book on Succession Planning

Tom Lenfestey and Camille Stell recently released a new book for lawyers contemplating their next stage, Designing a Succession Plan for Your Law Practice: A Step-by-Step Guide for Preparing Your Firm for Maximum Value. The book, edited by Jay Reeves, is available for purchase on Amazon.
NC Updates
Chief Justice Newby to Address NCAJ, NCADA
Join the NCAJ and NCADA from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, for an update on the North Carolina courts from Chief Justice Paul Newby, presented jointly by NCAJ and the N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys. NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch will lead the discussion with the chief justice. NCAJ President David Henson and NCADA President Allen Smith will present opening remarks. This program is free and open to all members of NCAJ and NCADA. We are seeking questions in advance. Please email questions for the Chief Justice to Abby Hammond by Tuesday, Feb. 16.
NC Courts
Court of Appeals Free Appellate CLE Course
The Court of Appeals has assembled this course as a substitute for the many state and national appellate CLE programs typically offered every year. Many of these programs were postponed or canceled in 2020. This created problems both for attorneys working towards the CLE requirements to sit for the State Bar appellate practice specialization exam, and for attorneys who simply want to maintain their appellate knowledge and skill.
North Carolina Judicial Branch Launches New Podcast “All Things Judicial”
The North Carolina Judicial Branch launched an official podcast on February 10, 2021 entitled “All Things Judicial” that features interviews from recognizable figures in our judicial communities and stories about important Judicial Branch topics. The podcast will follow a bi-monthly release schedule with each new episode available for download every other Wednesday.
Synopsis of the
NC State Bar January 2021
Council Meeting
Risk Management Spotlight
Estate Planning Traps

This publication addresses some of the malpractice traps waiting to snarl estate planning attorneys. A common thread throughout the claims asserted against attorneys is poor communication and misunderstandings with clients. Much of this can be avoided by spending sufficient time with clients to ensure that they are well-informed, understand their options, and feel that you have listened and provided valuable assistance to them regarding their estate planning goals.
Attorney-Client Relationships

Relationships with clients are the backbone of the attorney’s practice. Satisfied clients refer friends and colleagues. They also return for repeat business because they trust the lawyer to handle it properly. Dissatisfied clients, however, file complaints with the State Bar and malpractice claims. Developing procedures for creating satisfied clients and avoiding clients who will never be satisfied are crucial for a successful law firm.
Upcoming Events
Put Into Practice: Risk Management Tips for Your Law Firm Virtual CLE

Join us for our annual Put Into Practice CLE -- no travel, just virtual!

We are thrilled to once again offer our annual FREE CLE series. While we greatly value our in-person programs in your cities and towns, like you with your law practices, we adjusted our plans to protect the community. With our virtual programs, we look forward to connecting with everyone from Cherokee to Chocowinity!


Attorney-Client Privilege, Confidentiality, and the Work Product Doctrine: Traps for the Inattentive Lawyer by Mark Scruggs and Warren Savage, Senior Claims Attorneys, Lawyers Mutual

The One That Got Away: A Guide to NOT Being Phished by Patrick Brown, VP-Enterprise/Operational Risk Management, Lawyers Mutual

The Resilience Library™ by Renee Branson, Principal, RB Consulting
Visit Our Subsidiaries
Offering knowledgeable, accurate, fast, and reliable title insurance services to law firms throughout North Carolina.

Helping legal professionals evolve and thrive.

Official Agency of the NC Bar Association and Administrator of the NCBA Health Benefit Trust.