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Day 1 | NCBA 2022 Annual Review


8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Labor and Employment Law Update

Laura J. Wetsch, Winslow Wetsch PLLC, Raleigh

This session covers recent decisions on employment law issues, including at-will employment, wrongful discharge, noncompetes, the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA), torts and discovery.

10:00      Break

10:10      How Mindfulness Can Benefit Your Legal Practice and Life

Jordan Abshire, Abshire Legal Search LLC, Charlotte

During this one-hour session, participants learn about mindfulness, the science behind it, and how it can benefit their legal practice and lives, both by reducing stress and by increasing joy and contentment. Participants have the opportunity to practice mindfulness during the CLE and leave with several practical ideas to incorporate mindfulness into their workday, as well as several mindfulness scripts and other resources that they can access at their leisure.

11:10      Break

11:20      Communicating With Judges and Represented Parties, and Sharing Information With Third Parties — What Can We Do and How Can We Do It?*

Jason A. McGrath, McGrath and Spielberger PLLC, Charlotte

Jason McGrath's ethics presentation this year focuses on real-world communication situations we find ourselves in which may seem to be"gray areas" and/or have ethical nuances that surprise us. We also discuss recent updates and developments on these topics.

12:20      Lunch Break

1:05        Family Law Update

Emily C. Jeske, Bosquez Porter Family Law, Raleigh
Meredith J. Parker, Charles R. Ullman & Associates PLLC, Raleigh

Engage in a fast-paced overview of last year's family law cases and legislative changes. Topics include equitable distribution, child custody and child support, spousal support, separation agreements, and more.

This session qualifies for NC State Family Law Specialization credit.

2:05        Break

2:15        Ethics in Discovery in 2022*

Denaa J. Griffin, Jackson Lewis PC, Raleigh

Many civil cases are won during the discovery phase of the matter. The demands and costs of discovery, including e-discovery, in litigation continue to grow. Nearly every case now involves some sort of e-discovery, and it is essential to know how to effectively and fairly handle the many privacy and ethical issues that can arise.

3:15        Break

3:25        Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Update

Charles S. Carter, Earth & Water Law, Washington, D.C.

4:25        Adjourn for the day


8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Business Court Update

Philip J. Mohr, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, Greensboro

Hear a review of Business Court decisions over the last year, including those that might affect your clients and those that might benefit you in your practice.

10:00      Break

10:10      Estate Planning and Administration, Electronic Wills, and E-filing

Mark J. Hale Jr., Baddour Parker Hine & Hale PC, Goldsboro
Linda Funke Johnson, Senter Stephenson Johnson PA, Fuquay-Varina

This session examines recent developments in the area of estate planning and administration, specifically focusing on topics that utilize electronic components, including electronic wills (e-wills). We examine the history of e-wills, uniformity in nationwide e-wills legislation, and the current state of NC efforts to draft an e-wills law. Additionally, this session covers e-filing and its impact on NC procedures this year. Finally, the speakers highlight parts of both the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) and their applications to e-documents for estate planning.

This session qualifies for NC State Estate Planning and Probate Law Specialization credit.

11:10      Break

11:20      Real Property Case Law Update

Christopher L. Burti, Statewide Title Inc., Farmville

Receive the latest real property updates to benefit your practice by learning about this year's most recent and impacting case law decisions.

This session qualifies for NC State Real Property Law Specialization credit.

12:20      Lunch Break

1:05        Criminal Law Update

Kearns Davis, Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard LLP, Greensboro
Jan E. Pritchett, Schlosser & Pritchett, Greensboro

Kearns Davis and Jan Pritchett return to provide this year's criminal law update. In this session, Pritchett discusses key recent decisions by the North Carolina Supreme Court and North Carolina Court of Appeals, and Davis addresses significant federal cases from the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

This session qualifies for NC State Criminal Law Specialization credit.

2:05        Break

2:15        Recent Decisions in Education Law

Brian C. Shaw, Poyner & Spruill LLP, Raleigh

This session provides a survey of significant education law decisions in the last 12 to 15 months, in North Carolina and throughout the country.

3:15        Break

3:25        The Intersection of Ethics and Artificial Intelligence: What Lawyers Need to Know*‡

Sharon D. Nelson, Sensei Enterprises Inc., Fairfax, VA
John W. Simek, Sensei Enterprises Inc., Fairfax, VA

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been a huge boon to the legal profession. But there's a reason that the experts are talking about "dark AI" crimes (spoiler alert: the most dangerous crimes involve deepfakes) and fretting about the decisions made by "black box" AI.

To be competent, an attorney needs to understand how AI works — and may indeed be required to use AI if it would reduce costs, produce faster and more reliable results, etc. How does an attorney measure the transparency and trustworthiness of AI? How would a lawyer know whether AI technology reflects the biases and prejudices of its developers and trainers, leading to skewed results?

In August 2019, the American Bar Association adopted a long-awaited resolution urging courts and lawyers "to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence ("AI") in the practice of law." Developments since then have been fast and furious as AI became an integral part of the practice of law. Join our experts as they explain a lawyer's ethical considerations when evaluating and using AI in your law practice.

4:25        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit
† Indicates portion providing Substance Abuse/Mental Health credit
‡ Indicates portion providing Technology Training credit


Receive the latest updates on key court decisions and significant amendments to legislation and policies covering a variety of topic and practice areas.


  • Jordan Abshire

    Jordan Abshire is the founder and managing member of Abshire Legal Search LLC in Charlotte. Prior to recruiting, Jordan practiced for three years with the energy group at Troutman Sanders LLP. Jordan served for one year as a law clerk to the Honorable Henry Coke Morgan, Jr., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. 

    Jordan has presented to numerous law schools and attorney groups on networking, navigating legal careers, and the legal & lateral markets. Jordan was first introduced to mindfulness during law school and is a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher.

    Jordan is a graduate of Harvard Law School and received a B.S. in Psychology, summa cum laude, and a B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude, from Louisiana State University.

    A Louisiana native, Jordan now resides in Charlotte, with his wife and two active boys. Outside of family and work, Jordan regularly contributes to the community. Prior to the pandemic, Jordan engaged in "recruiter pro bono" weekly at the Men's Shelter of Charlotte now Roof Above, assisting men experiencing homelessness with resume preparation and job applications.

    Additionally, Jordan served on the Roof Above Board and helped launch Fortitude, a weekly workout for Shelter Guests through F3. Jordan also served on F3's West Charlotte expansion team, whose mission was to plant and grow a workout in an historically disadvantaged community, to serve as a conduit for the flow of social capital from more affluent parts of Charlotte.

    Click here for more information about Jordan.

  • Christopher L. "Chris" Burti

    Christopher L. "Chris" Burti earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from East Carolina University and received his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law (Chapel Hill).

    After fifteen years in private practice he left the law firm of Lewis & Burti in 1994 to join Statewide Title Inc., where he serves as Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel. Chris concentrated his practice in the areas of Commercial Real Estate, Residential Real Estate and Governmental Law. As counsel for Statewide Title Inc., Chris works with attorneys across the State in resolving complex legal issues in residential, governmental and commercial transactions involving real property. He is active in providing input and advice on drafting legislation to increase certainty in land records, mortgage lending and to correct problems affecting real property.

    Chris is the principal course planner and speaker for continuing legal education seminars for Statewide Title Inc., and has been a CLE presenter for the North Carolina Bar Association, The North Carolina Land Title Association, The University of North Carolina School of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law, Professional Educational Systems, Inc., the North Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association and other professional associations. He is the principal author on the topic of Real Property Law for the Statewide Title Inc. Newsletter and Legal Memorandum. These articles have been frequently reprinted in other legal journals.

    Chris is a Past President of the North Carolina Land Title Association and has served for two terms as its General Counsel. He has previously served on the North Carolina Bar Association Real Property Section Council, the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors, on its Executive Committee, as Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division and on the Transitioning Lawyers Commission.

    Click here for more information about Chris.

  • Charles S. Carter

    Charles S. Carter is a partner at Earth & Water Law in Washington, D.C. He has represented clients in environmental regulatory and litigation matters before state, federal and local agencies. He has over 40 years of experience representing companies, governmental agencies, and private clients, including a range of environmental regulatory programs enacted over that period. Specific areas include permitting, rulemaking, compliance, and enforcement matters under the air, water and land use, solid and hazardous wastes, toxic substances, and coastal management programs. Significant matters include the landmark administrative law case, Chevron v. NRDC before the U.S. Supreme Court, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on EPA's NOx SIP Call, and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association on the Clean Air Act Section 126 cases.

    In July 2021, Charlie was appointed to a third 4-year term on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, the agency that establishes rules and policy for the State's air, water, and waste resources. The Commission is a 15-member group of citizens appointed by the Governor and General Assembly.

    Charlie's experience includes nearly ten years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Associate Director of the Office of Congressional Liaison, Assistant General Counsel, and Chief of OGC’s National Standards Branch. His representation of EPA included SO2 and PM SIP development, NESHAPs and NSPS rule-makings with extensive appellate litigation and oral arguments before the Washington, D.C, Second and Third Circuit Courts of Appeals. He drafted Title IV and other portions of the Bush Administration bill enacted as the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 for which he was awarded EPA's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, as well as the agency's Bronze Medal for the Benzene Hazardous Air Pollutant standards, which was enacted as the residual risk standard in Section 112(f)(2) of the 1990 CAA Amendments.

    Prior to his service at EPA, Charlie was staff environmental attorney for Duke Power Company and Environmental Law Advisor for the Edison Electric Institute in D.C., and in private law practice. Charlie has been engaged in private practice with several law firms including Porter Wright (for which he established its Washington, D.C. office), McGuire Woods, Troutman Sanders, McNair and Nexsen Pruett.

    Prior to law school at the University of North Carolina, Charlie earned a B.S. in Engineering (majoring in Electrical Engineering) at Duke University and served as a Design Engineer for the SperryRand Corporation.

    Click here for more information about Charlie.

  • Kearns Davis

    Kearns Davis is a partner at Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard LLP in Greensboro. He founded Brooks Pierce's practice in white-collar criminal defense, felony trials and appeals, grand jury proceedings, and government investigations. A former federal prosecutor, he has tried jury cases at all levels of federal and North Carolina trial courts, and he represents clients in U.S. trial and appellate courts across the country. In addition to criminal matters and investigations, Kearns handles a broad range of federal and business litigation.

    Kearns served as president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2016-17.

    Among other honors and awards, Kearns is listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers Top 10 attorneys in all categories (Thomson Reuters, 2016-2022), The Best Lawyers in America© in White-Collar Criminal Defense (2010-2022), and Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations (Band 1) (2012-22). Best Lawyers has repeatedly named him "Lawyer of the Year" for Greensboro in White-Collar Criminal Defense (2013, 2016, 2018 & 2020), and his peers elected him in 2020 to permanent membership in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite Hall of Fame" for Criminal Defense (2020). Benchmark Litigation has recognized him as a "Litigation Star" for North Carolina in White-Collar Crime each year since 2015.

    Kearns earned his B.A., with honors in History, from Davidson College, his M.A. from Duke University and his J.D., with honors, from University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was the Managing Editor of the North Carolina Law Review.

    Click here for more information about Kearns.

  • Denaa J. Griffin

    Denaa J. Griffin is an associate at Jackson Lewis PC in Raleigh. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including pre-litigation claims and litigation, as well as providing preventive advice and counseling.

    An experienced litigator, Denaa represents clients in state court, federal court, arbitration, and administrative tribunals. Denaa defends employers and managers in a broad range of employment litigation, including harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, leaves of absence, failure to provide reasonable accommodations, and wage and hour lawsuits. She is proficient in leading complex e-discovery projects, including working with vendors, designing document review protocols and quality control measures, and overseeing document production processes.

    Denaa also advises managers and supervisors on preventive litigation practices, focusing on how to comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and implementing best practices to avoid workplace disputes and resolve employee relations problems.

    Denaa earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Denaa.

  • Mark J. Hale Jr.

    Mark J. Hale Jr. is a member of Baddour Parker Hine & Hale PC in Goldsboro. He concentrates his practice in estate planning & probate, wills & trusts, guardianships, corporate and business matters, and taxation. Mark is the Wayne County Public Administrator and Public Guardian.

    Mark is a Board-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law.

    Mark is currently a member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law section. Other NCBA activities include previously serving as the Editor of the Will and the Way and Chair of the Newsletter Committee, current Chair of the Task Force with NC Clerks of Court, and a member of legislative committee where he is currently Co-Chair of the electronic wills subcommittee.

    Mark graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.A. degree in Chemistry in 2004. He received his J.D. degree from Campbell University School of Law in 2008. Following law school, Mark spent a year in Miami, Florida, where he earned his LL.M. degree in Taxation from the University of Miami School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Mark.

  • Emily C. Jeske

    Emily C. Jeske is an attorney with Bosquez Porter Family Law in Raleigh. She has practiced law since 2017 and has a background in psychology and sociology which makes her an asset in family law cases. She has been identified as a Rising Star (2021 - present) by North Carolina Super Lawyers, as well as One to Watch for Family Law by Best Lawyers in America (2021 - present).

    Emily earned her B.S., magna cum laude, in Psychology and Sociology from Furman University and her J.D., cum laude, from Wake Forest University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Emily.

  • Linda Funke Johnson

    Linda Funke Johnson is the managing attorney of Senter Stephenson Johnson PA in Fuquay-Varina. Her principal areas of practice are Estate Planning, Probate, Real Property and Guardianship.

    Linda is a Board Member of the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors (2019-2022), member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors (2021-2022) and a member of the Elder Law Section, Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section, and Real Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is formerly the Chair of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section (2017-2018), Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee of the same section (2015-2017), and Chair of the North Carolina State Bar Legal Specialization Committee, Estate Planning and Probate Law.

    Linda earned her Specialization designation in 2007 and became a Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 2018. She is previously a Co-Editor of two of her sections' publications, The Will and the Way and North Carolina Estate Administration Manual, Supplemented Sixth Edition (2006/2008).

    Linda is licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Hawaii and Connecticut. She earned her B.S. from Fairfield University and her J.D. from Quinnipiac College School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Linda.

  • Jason A. McGrath

    Jason A. McGrath is a partner and attorney at McGrath and Spielberger PLLC in Charlotte. He has been practicing law continuously since 1996. He spent five (5) years as an "assistant DA", and was consistently near the top with regard to the number of trials completed and the percentage of trials won. After being recruited into a highly rated private firm, Jason was promoted and named managing partner of one of the firm's offices. In 2009, he started his own firm.

    Jason has tried over 100 cases to completion, has prepared over 10,000 legal documents for clients, has participated in thousands of depositions (including hundreds of expert depositions), and has represented the public, private individuals, and businesses.

    Jason earned his B.S. in Political Science and International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish, from Florida State University and his J.D. from Florida State University College of Law.

    In law school, Jason was part of a two person Moot Court team which won a National Moot Court Competition in Beverly Hills, CA. During his undergraduate years, he was a member and officer in the Sigma Chi fraternity. He was admitted into Florida State University's Honors Program and attended Florida State on various scholarships, including a National Merit Scholarship.

    Click here for more information about Jason.

  • Philip J. Mohr

    Philip J. Mohr is a partner at Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP in Greensboro as a trial lawyer. Although he searches for creative legal and business solutions for his clients, his more than two decades of trial experience for publicly-traded corporations, privately-held companies, and middle-market international businesses in federal courts and arbitration proceedings throughout the country has taught him that some cases simply have to be tried to verdict.

    Representing companies that have both been wronged and accused of wrongdoing, Phil has honed his trial skills in cases involving complex business litigation (including fraudulent transfer and equitable subordination cases in the Delaware bankruptcy court), commercial torts (e.g., unfair trade practices, fraud, trade secrets theft, etc.), cybersecurity/data breach matters, and shareholder derivative suits. Phil also authors the North Carolina Business Court Report, a blog discussing how recent decisions from the North Carolina Business Court impact companies doing business in North Carolina.

    Phil earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D., cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School.

    Click here for more information about Phil.

  • Sharon D. Nelson

    Sharon D. Nelson is the President of Sensei Enterprises Inc. in Fairfax, VA, a national digital forensics, cybersecurity and information technology firm.

    Sharon is the author of the noted electronic evidence, cybersecurity and future of law blog, Ride the Lightning and is a co-host of the Legal Talk Network podcast series called "The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology" as well as "Digital Detectives." She is a frequent author (eighteen books published by the ABA and hundreds of articles) and speaker on legal technology, cybersecurity and electronic evidence topics. She was the President of the Virginia State Bar June 2013 – June 2014 and a past President of the Fairfax Law Foundation and the Fairfax Bar Association.

    Sharon graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and has been in private practice ever since, now focusing on cybersecurity, data privacy and related ethical issues. She was the President of the Virginia State Bar June 2013-June 2014, and is a Past President of the Fairfax Law Foundation, and a Past President of the Fairfax Bar Association.

    Click here for more information about Sharon.

  • Meredith J. Parker

    Meredith J. Parker is a family law attorney with Charles R. Ullman & Associates PLLC in Raleigh. She focuses her practice exclusively on family law matters in Wake County, including separation, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, property distribution, domestic violence, premarital agreements, separation and property settlement agreements, and grandparents' custody rights.

    Meredith received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her J.D. from Campbell University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Meredith.

  • Jan E. Pritchett

    Jan E. Pritchett is the managing attorney at the Greensboro law firm of Schlosser & Pritchett. He has extensive experience in litigating criminal matters and is a Board Certified Specialist in Federal and State Criminal law. He has been recognized by North Carolina Super lawyers for over a decade and North Carolina Magazine's Legal Elite. One of his most recent recognitions was his 2018 induction into the Southern University Law Center Hall of Fame.

    Jan began his early career with a small Fayetteville law firm before relocating to Greensboro to become an Assistant District Attorney in Guilford County. For the last 23 years, Jan's practice has been limited to criminal matters. During his 27 year career as an attorney, he has litigated over 200 jury trials and several hundred bench trials.

    Jan resides in Greensboro with his wife and two girls. He is active in several community organizations and enjoys traveling, golf and tennis in his time away from the grind.

    Click here for more information about Jan.

  • Brian C. Shaw

    Brian C. Shaw is a partner at Poyner Spruill LLP in Raleigh. He has extensive education law experience and provides counsel to public school systems throughout the State. Brian is also an Adjunct Professor at the Norman A. Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University.

    Brian is a Past Chair of the Education Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Council of School Attorneys. He is a member of the North Carolina Council of School Attorneys and the National Council of School Attorneys. He is a frequent speaker at the district, state and national level on many different topics dealing with education law. 

    After serving as law clerk for the Honorable Edward J. Schwartz, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court in San Diego, California, and graduate work at Oxford University in England, Brian joined the law firm of Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry in Portland Maine, where he served as Chairman of the Education Law Department. In 1993, he joined then Richard A. Schwartz & Associates, became Partner in 1997, and the law firm changed its name to Schwartz & Shaw PLLC.

    Brian graduated cum laude in 1976 from Harvard College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1980.

    Click here for more information about Brian.

  • John W. Simek

    John W. Simek the Vice-President of Sensei Enterprises Inc. in Fairfax, VA. He currently provides information technology support to hundreds of Washington D.C. area law firms, legal entities and corporations. He has a national reputation as a digital forensics technologist and has testified as an expert witness throughout the United States.

    John holds the prestigious Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE) certifications. He is also a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Handheld Examiner, Certified Novell Engineer, Microsoft Certified Professional + Internet, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, NT Certified Independent Professional, and a Certified Internetwork Professional.

    John is a 2016 Fastcase 50 award recipient and a Fellow (class of 2016) of the College of Law Practice Management. He is also a member of the High Tech Crime Network as well as the American Bar Association and the Fairfax Bar Association.

    John is a co-host of the Legal Talk Network podcast "Digital Detectives" with Sharon Nelson.

    John earned a degree in engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and an MBA in Finance from Saint Joseph's University.

    Click here for more information about John.

  • Laura J. Wetsch

    Laura J. Wetsch is a partner in the Raleigh firm of Winslow Wetsch PLLC. She is the author of A Practitioner's Guide to North Carolina Employment Law, and co-author of the North Carolina chapter in the ABA's Employment at Will: A State-By-State Survey.

    Laura has previously served as the Chair of the NCBA Labor & Employment Law Section, and the Chair of the NCAJ Employment Law Section, and has been named to Best Lawyers in America, N.C. Super Lawyers, N.C. Super Lawyers' Top 50 Women Lawyers, and N.C. Legal Elite.

    Laura was born in Fargo, ND, raised in Minot and Bismarck, ND, married a guy from Killdeer, ND, and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1985 – in that order. After law school she was a federal law clerk and then practiced law in North Dakota until 1991 when she and her family moved to North Carolina (the other Great North State).

    Click here for more information about Laura.

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October 13, 2022
Thu 8:55 AM EDT

Duration 7H 30M

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