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It's Not Easy Being a Government and Public Sector Lawyer (With Nods to Kermit) (2022 Government & Public Sector Section Program)

8:25        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        All Beige, or Not? Politics in the Government Workplace

Robert P. Joyce, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill

Learn what the rules are about politics in the government workplace, and just who is, and who is not, covered by them.

10:00      Break

10:10      Green, the Color of Money

Nicolette Fulton, City of Raleigh, Raleigh
Kara A. Millonzi, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill

Learn about government money, including money coming in through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and money going out — potentially badly if you get your Software as a Service (SaaS) contracts wrong.

11:10      Break

11:20      Yellow Caution Lights

Donya Strong, North Carolina Department of Administration, Raleigh

The first week as a State General Counsel or a city or county attorney can be tough if you miss the yellow caution lights. Find out what laws you need to be aware of and what questions you should ask.

11:50      Lunch Break

12:30      Fuzzy Brown Critters in Government Spaces

Elizabeth Myerholtz, Disability Rights North Carolina, Washington, D.C.

Fuzzy brown critters bring a caution light of another sort. What is a service animal and what is not? What are the rules for allowing service and non-service animals in government spaces?

1:00        Break

1:10        A Color Wheel of a Case Law Update

Amy Y. Bason, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, Raleigh
Adam Pridemore, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, Raleigh

Learn how appellate courts at all levels have been spinning the color wheel and impacting State and local governments in sometimes not-so-obvious ways.

2:10        Break

2:20        Blue Skies – Government Attorneys, Ethics and Investigations*

Gill P. Beck, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville
Jeffrey P. Gray, Bailey & Dixon LLP, Raleigh
Christopher B. McLaughlin, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill

This session provides the clarity government attorneys need regarding their ethical constraints — whether conducting, supervising or deciding about outsourcing investigations.

3:50        Break

4:00        Red Light – Impairment in the Government Workplace

Grant B. Osborne, Ward and Smith PA, Asheville
Tyler J. Russell, Ward and Smith PA, Asheville

We throw up a big, red "no" when it comes to impairment of employees of State and local governments. But what does it mean to be impaired in this age of CBD oils, alcohol, and prescription and unlawful drugs? And what can governments do and not do?

5:00        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit


It's not easy being a government and public sector (GPS) attorney. As Kermit sings, "It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things." A GPS attorney has to know and be able to do a variety of things.


  • Amy Y. Bason

    Amy Y. Bason serves as Deputy Director and General Counsel for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. The NCACC is a non-partisan organization that serves as the official voice of all 100 counties on issues considered by the General Assembly, Congress, and federal and state agencies.

    Prior to joining the NCACC, Amy served as General Counsel to the NC Senate Majority Leader and began her legal career as an assistant district attorney in the First Judicial District of North Carolina. Amy graduated from Rutgers University and received her law degree from the UNC School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Amy.

  • Gill P. Beck

    Gill P. Beck serves as the Chief of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of` North Carolina in Asheville. He handles the full range of civil cases involving the United States and federal agencies.

    Gill received the U.S. Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award, the U.S. Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award, the North Carolina Governor's Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the Bronze Star for his service as an Army Judge Advocate in Iraq and was promoted to Major General in the U.S. Army Reserve. In 2016 he was selected as North Carolina Lawyer's Weekly North Carolina Lawyer of the Year. He is currently President of the Buncombe County Bar.

    Gill is a graduate of Appalachian State University, where he was Captain of the football team and an Academic All-American football player. He attended Duke University School of Law, where he graduated with high honors and served as a Senior Editor for Law and Contemporary Problems.

    Click here for more information about Gill.

  • Nicolette Fulton

    Nicolette Fulton is the Senior Associate City Attorney with the City of Raleigh. She has a comprehensive background in litigation, contracts, policy, and administrative law. Her experience includes policy and legislative development, drafting and negotiating multi-million dollar federal contracts, and litigation at all levels.

    Prior to The City of Raleigh, Nicolette was a partner at Fulton & Cooke PLLC in Wilmington before owning her own firm in Wilmington for two years.

    Nicolette earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in Criminal Justice from University of North Carolina Wilmington and her J.D. from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Nicolette.

  • Jeffrey P. Gray

    Jeffrey P. Gray is of counsel with Bailey & Dixon LLP in Raleigh. A trial lawyer with experience in a wide variety of civil and regulatory litigation, he has represented individuals and business entities as both plaintiffs and defendants. In addition to his trial practice, he has argued dozens of cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. His practice is currently focused on government regulatory matters.

    In addition to representing licensees before the multitude of occupational and professional licensing boards in North Carolina, he personally serves as legal counsel to the North Carolina Private Protective Services Board, the North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board and the North Carolina Board of Landscape Architects and as hearing counsel to the North Carolina Board of Funeral Services and the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board. Jeff previously served as legal counsel to the North Carolina Board of Barber Examiners (2007-2011), the North Carolina Auctioneers Licensing Board (1994-2008), and has served as hearing counsel or legal advisor for six (6) other boards. He also serves as legislative agent and lobbyist for numerous professional and trade groups and associations.

    Prior to entering private practice, Jeff served as Special Assistant to the Attorney General, then as an Assistant Attorney General and Law Enforcement Liaison in the Criminal Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice. He served five two-year terms as a Commissioner on the North Carolina Rules Review Commission between 2001 and 2011.

    Jeff is the author of published articles in the Campbell Law Observer; the Campbell Law Review; the North Carolina State Bar Journal; the Supreme Court Historical Society's Juridicus; numerous North Carolina Bar Association newsletters; Popular Government; various law enforcement and trade journals; and numerous publications for distribution by the Department of Justice to local and state government agencies.

    Jeff earned his B.S., cum laude, from Western Carolina University and his J.D. from Campbell University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jeff.

  • Robert P. Joyce

    Robert P. Joyce is professor of public law and government at the School of Government of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has practiced law in New York and North Carolina. He has been on the faculty of the School for 37 years. He focuses his research, teaching, and consulting in the areas of elections law, public employment law, public education law, and higher education law. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School.

    Click here for more information about Robert.

  • Christopher B. "Chris" McLaughlin

    Christopher B. "Chris" McLaughlin is a Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill. He works in the areas of local government tax and finance as well as ethics for government attorneys. He joined the School of Government in 2008 after practicing law in New England and serving as an adjunct professor and assistant dean for student affairs at Duke Law School.

    Chris has authored books on property tax collection, tax foreclosures, and occupancy taxes and has published over 200 blog posts on a wide variety of issues including local taxes and legal ethics.

    Chris is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and Duke Law School, where he was also Order of the Coif.

    Click here for more information about Chris.

  • Kara A. Millonzi

    Kara A. Millonzi is a Robert W. Bradshaw Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government at UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill. She joined the School of Government in 2006. She specializes in local government finance law, general county law, school finance, utilities finance, development finance, and incorporation.

    Kare administers the Coates' Canons Local Government Law Blog and has authored well over 100 posts on issues related to local government law and finance. She also administers NC Finance Connect, an online community portal, centered around the topic of local government finance. She has authored numerous publications, including A Guide to Billing and Collecting Public Enterprise Utility Fees for Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Services, Introduction to Local Government Finance (4th edition), and The Governance and Funding Structure of North Carolina Public Schools. She teaches several core finance courses and directs the NC County Attorneys Conference and Fundamentals Workshop and Local Government Finance Officers Conference each year.

    Kara is the lead faculty for Lead for North Carolina, a fellowship program that aims to recruit, train, and place the state's most promising young leaders in paid local government fellowships as a means of strengthening our public institutions, supporting our local communities, and cultivating a new generation of public service leaders.

    Before joining the School, Kara practiced law with Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP in Boston and clerked for the Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer, United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

    Kara earned a B.A. in economics, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Buffalo and an M.A. in economics from the University of Maryland at College Park. She earned a J.D., with highest honors, Order of the Coif, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as editor in chief of the North Carolina Law Review.

    Click here for more information about Kara.

  • Elizabeth Myerholtz

    Elizabeth Myerholtz is an attorney at Disability Rights North Carolina in Washington, D.C. She joined DRNC in August 2018.

    Elizabeth is from Ohio and graduated from Miami University with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English literature. She worked as a direct support professional for adults with autism before moving to Washington to attend law school at American University Washington College of Law.

    While in law school, Myerholtz worked at the San Diego public defender's office – mental health unit, the American University's Disability Rights Law Clinic, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

    Click here for more information about Elizabeth.

  • Grant B. Osborne

    Grant B. Osborne is a labor and employment attorney with Ward and Smith PA in Asheville. His practice experience of more than 30 years encompasses a wide range of issues that arise in employment and labor law. He provides counsel to clients in the health care, financial, hospitality, construction, business services, employee staffing, and non-profit sectors. He represents clients in state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies. He regularly advises employers of all sizes and litigates civil cases regarding all forms of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, unlawful retaliation, contractual issues, personnel policies and practices, and wage and hour issues.

    Grant also has advised and represented employers with respect to their rights and obligations arising under laws pertaining to collective bargaining and labor unions.

    Grant is a frequent lecturer regarding all aspects of the employment relationship that arise under numerous federal and state laws, and often represents employers before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and federal and state "wage and hour" agencies. He also serves as a mediator and is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission.

    Grant served as the Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section (from 2015 to 2016).

    Grant earned his B.A. in History from Duke University and his J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Grant.

  • J. Mark Payne

    J. Mark Payne is the Principal at J.M. Payne & Associates PLLC in Greensboro. His areas of practice include governmental representation, transition services and representation before governmental entities.

    Mark has 25 years of experience as a county attorney, serving in Johnston County for 13 years and 12 years as the Guilford County Attorney. In that time, he has represented every kind of local government board in every kind of litigation, including complex elections law matters and a significant role in the ground-breaking national opioid litigation. He has provided training to local government boards and staff, as well as his fellow government attorneys through CLE presentations.

    Prior to his serving service as a county attorney, Mark was in the NC Attorney General’s Office with responsibility in environmental law, utilities law and appellate work.

    Mark earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Mark.

  • Adam Pridemore

    Adam Pridemore is Legislative Counsel at the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners in Raleigh.

    Prior to joining the NCACC, Adam was the Legal Affairs & Policy Manager at the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, Staff Attorney/Legislative Analyst at the North Carolina General Assembly/UNC School of Government and an associate at The DiLeone Law Group PC.

    Adam earned his Political Science from North Carolina State University and his J.D., cum laude, from Valparaiso University School of Law

    Click here for more information about Adam.

  • Tyler J. Russell

    Tyler J. Russell is an attorney with Ward and Smith PA in Raleigh. He began his career in 2010 in the firm's creditors rights practice group, representing banks and lenders in commercial bankruptcy, collection, and lender liability defense litigation. HIs current practice also includes transactional representation of business clients in mergers, acquisitions and other corporate matters.

    Tyler co-chairs the firm's hemp + cannabis practice group, is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Virginia, and represents clients in all aspects of the hemp, CBD, and cannabis industries. He regularly provides advice and counsel to his clients on Federal, state and local legal and regulatory matters and represents clients in a variety of corporate transactions. He is actively engaged in state-level lobbying in support of the industries, their companies, and their products.

    Tyler also represents other highly regulated business, including breweries, distilleries, and wineries, in their legal and regulatory needs, including their permitting and compliance enforcement interactions with governmental and regulatory agencies.

    Tyler earned his B.A. from Virginia Military Institute and his J. D., summa cum laude, from North Carolina Central University School of Law.

    Click here for more informaton about Tyler.

  • Donya M. Strong

    Donya Strong was appointed general counsel for the Department of Administration in December 2021. Prior to joining DOA, Strong served as an enforcement attorney for the NC Secretary of State where she advised the executive management team on policies and statewide legislation concerning constitutional amendments, the securities industry and trademark enforcement. She also managed the agency's Trademark Enforcement Unit.

    Donya began her state government career in 2008 at the NC Administrative Office of the Courts as an assistant district attorney for the 8th Prosecutorial District and was later promoted to senior assistant district attorney for the 14th Prosecutorial District in 2013. Previously, she worked in the private sector for three years initially as a legal assistant and later as an attorney for Harris & Associates in Durham.

    Before entering the legal field, Donya worked as a reporter and news editor for the News & Observer and Detroit Free Press.

    Donya holds a Juris Doctor from the NC Central University School of Law in Durham and a bachelor's degree in journalism and Spanish from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

    Click here for more information about Donya.

  • Ann B. Wall

    Ann B. Wall is General Counsel for the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State in Raleigh. She has served as an attorney in the North Carolina Departments of Justice and Labor, as well as the National Labor Relations Board. She has provided advice regarding public records requests, open meetings and records retention issues during her years of State and federal service.

    Anne is a member and past chair of the Administrative Law and Government and Public Sector Sections of the NCBA. She is a past recipient of what is now called the Grainger Barrett Award for Excellence awarded by the Government and Public Sector Section. She is also a member of the Business, Constitutional Rights & Responsibilities, Corporate Counsel, Criminal Justice, Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Sections. She is a member of the ABA and several of its sections, and of the NC Association of Women Attorneys.

    Anne's undergraduate and law degrees are from Meredith College and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill respectively.

    Click here for more information about Ann.

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April 7, 2022
Thu 8:25 AM EDT
NC Bar Center Cary

Duration 8H 35M

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