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From City Hall to the Courthouse: Navigating Quasi-Judicial and Administrative Decisions (2024 Zoning, Planning & Land Use Section Program)

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Case Law and Legislative Update

James L. "Jim" Joyce, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill
Adam Lovelady, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill

Always the highlight of the program, Jim Joyce and Adam Lovelady of the UNC School of Government review major cases and legislation from the past year that impact zoning, planning and land use law.

11:00      Break

11:10      Navigating Administrative Approvals

Terri A. Jones, Town of Garner, Garner

This session explores a host of issues that frequently arise in administrative zoning approvals and provides practical guidance on how to successfully navigate and overcome those issues.

12:11      Lunch Break

12:41      Zoning Law and the Attorney-Client Privilege*

Bradley M. Risinger, Fox Rothschild LLP, Raleigh

Zoning cases regularly require the involvement of non-client, non-attorney professionals to assist in the approvals process. Explore ethical considerations to better protect the attorney-client privilege.

1:44        In Search of Certiorari: Judicial Review of Zoning Decisions

Nick Tosco, Poyner Spruill LLP, Charlotte

In this session, learn some suggested "best practices" for addressing all facets of judicial review of zoning decisions.

2:41        Break

2:51        Quasi-Judicial Roundtable

Michael Birch, Longleaf Law Partners, Raleigh
Catherine Hill, City of Raleigh Municipal Government, Raleigh (Moderator)
Robin Tatum, Fox Rothschild LLP, Raleigh

Beth Trahos, Fox Rothschild LLP, Raleigh

Enjoy an open discussion about the legal framework for boards making quasi-judicial decisions, effective advocacy in quasi-judicial hearings, and much more.

3:53        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit


Although large, legislative projects like rezonings may be more likely to grab local headlines, quasi-judicial and administrative matters continue to receive the lion's share of judicial attention.

This year's program focuses on these types of zoning decisions and offers updates, reminders, and a series of "best practices" informed by the recent case law and practical experience.

Learn from local government and private sector attorneys about the framework for quasi-judicial and administrative decisions and how to more effectively address the variety of issues that arise in these proceedings and their appeals to Superior Court.

Additionally, the program includes a welcome refresher on the attorney-client privilege as it relates to the many facets of a land use and zoning practice, as well as the annual planning and zoning legislative and case law update.


  • Michael Birch

    Michael Birch is a Partner at Longleaf Law Partners in Raleigh. He focuses his practice on land use and zoning, commercial real estate, and land use related litigation, and he offers clients experience in obtaining and protecting development approvals from local governments and state agencies.

    Michael regularly represents landowners and developers before local governing boards, planning boards and boards of adjustment in communities across the state and assists in the development process at the zoning, site plan, conditional and special use permit, variance, building permit and enforcement stages of a project.

    Active in the community through service on boards and commissions, Michael recently served as chair of the Triangle Community Coalition, an organization focused on promoting good public policy concerning economic growth and development at the local government level. He also served as chair of the Raleigh Stormwater Management Advisory Commission; as vice-chair of the Wake County Planning Board; and as a member of the board of directors of SAFEchild, a local nonprofit focused on eliminating child abuse in Wake County.

    Michael earned his B.A. from Hampden-Sydney College, Master of Public of Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.

    Click here for more information about Michael.

  • Erin A. Catlett

    Erin A. Catlett is an Associate Attorney at Fox Rothschild LLP in Raleigh. She handles a wide variety of real estate matters involving property transactions, management and finance.

    Erin was previously a summer associate at Fox. She has experience as a legal extern for the Town of Cary (NC) Attorney's Office and the University of North Carolina Athletic Department.

    Erin earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Erin.

  • Catherine Hill

    Catherine Hill is Senior Associate City Attorney at City of Raleigh Municipal Government. In that position, she advises City staff, boards and commissions on legal issues related to land use, development and zoning.

    Catherine was previously an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Asheville and, prior to that, was an associate at a private law firm in Raleigh, primarily engaged in land use and zoning litigation.

    Since 2018, Catherine has been a Councilmember for the Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

    Catherine earned her bachelor's degree in Politcal Science from North Carolina State University and her J.D. from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Catherine.

  • Terri A. Jones

    Terri A. Jones is the first in-house Town Attorney for Garner, North Carolina, and has served in that role since October 2020. Except for a brief job with a private environmental consulting firm in Connecticut upon graduation from law school, she has dedicated her career to public service on the federal, state, and local levels. She has over 20 years of local government experience—six years with the City of Greensboro, three years with Montgomery County, Maryland, and 14 years with Carroll County, Maryland. Before joining Garner, she served as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Greensboro.

    She received a BA degree in Biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 1990, graduating summa cum laude from the Honors Program. Jones also received her JD degree, graduating magna cum laude, and a Master's degree in Environmental Law, graduating summa cum laude, from the Vermont Law School in 1993.

    Jones is a graduate of the University of North Carolina's School of Government Municipal and County Administration course, Community and Economic Development Academy, and Development Finance Institute. She is also a graduate of the University of Maryland's Academy for Excellence in Local Governance.

    She is currently serving on the Section Councils for the NCBA Government and Public Sector and Zoning, Planning, and Land Use Sections.

    Click here for more information about Terri.

  • James L. "Jim" Joyce

    James L. "Jim" Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at the School of Government at UNC–Chapel Hill. He teaches, researches, and advises on topics of community planning, development regulation, and the environmental impacts of land development. He joined the School of Government in 2020 after practicing environmental and land use law for over ten years at a global law firm.

    Since joining the School of Government faculty, Jim has authored guidance documents and provided an array of training and advice to local government officials across the state on the new Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes. He also posts to the School's local government law blog, Coates Canons.

    Prior to entering private practice, Jim served as a summer clerk and fall fellow at the School of Government, where he co-authored the book Inclusionary Zoning: A Guide to Ordinances and the Law.

    Jim earned his B.A., with highest honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Masters of Community Planning from the University of Maryland, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Jim.

  • Adam Lovelady

    Adam Lovelady is an Associate Professor of Public Law and Government at the School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill. He teaches, researches, and advises on topics of zoning, land subdivision, transportation, renewable energy, and historic preservation. He joined the School of Government in 2012. He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC Chapel Hill. Adam was named Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Term Professor for Teaching Excellence for 2019-2021, and he was named Coates Distinguished Term Assistant Professor for 2015–2017.

    Adam's publications include Chapter 160D: A New Land Use Law for North Carolina (2019), Quasi-Judicial Handbook: A Guide for Boards Making Development Regulation Decisions (2017), Reshaping Suburban Spaces: Lessons from North Carolina Cities (2016), and Land Subdivision Regulation in North Carolina (2015). He has authored a variety of land use law bulletins, law review articles, and special reports. Additionally, he regularly posts to the School's local government law blog, Coates Canons. His 2014 report, Planning and Zoning for Solar in North Carolina, received the Margaret Taylor Writing Award in 2015. He also has designed and authored a library of web-based training modules on zoning topics for use by local boards. In addition, he has served as a trainer for the National Alliance for Preservation Commissions, teaching local preservation commissions around the country.

    Before coming to the School, Adam practiced law in Richmond, VA, focusing on land use regulation, environmental law, and sustainable development. Prior to that, he taught second grade in Atlanta as part of Teach for America and worked in historic preservation in Asheville and Shelby.

    Adam earned a BA in history from Auburn University and a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning as well as a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

    Click here for more information about Adam.

  • Colin McGrath

    Colin McGrath is a Partner at Poyner Spruill LLP in Raleigh. His legal practice includes zoning and land use advice and counsel, as well as litigation, for both public and private entities. He represents land owners, developers and local governments in state and federal court on a myriad of land use, zoning and environmental issues. He has also successfully represented land owners and developers in proceedings before local Boards of Adjustment, City Councils, and County Commissioners on a variety of complex and controversial land use projects.

    Colin also devotes a substantial part of his practice to civil litigation, representing clients in a wide range of complex business disputes including corporate governance disputes, government-related disputes, tax litigation, antitrust matters, construction disputes, and trade secret litigation.

    Colin earned his B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science from the University of South Carolina-Columbia and his J.D. from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Colin.

  • Bradley M. "Brad" Risinger

    Bradley M. "Brad" Risinger is a Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP in Raleigh. He is a seasoned trial lawyer whose practice centers on commercial disputes.

    Over a 30-year career, Brad has guided clients in their responses to major business and litigation trends. In recent years, he has focused on class action and constitutional litigation regarding privacy and free speech issues under federal and state statutes, including the government's creation and release of public records. That work has included fast-developing issues of proving and applying statutory damage provisions.

    Brad also litigates zoning, land use and development issues. He often represents businesses and individuals in appealing adverse decisions on issuance of permits by cities and counties. He has also represented cities and counties in defending their interpretation and application of ordinances, as well as suits alleging discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion.

    Well-versed in the policies and rules applicable to renewable energy, Brad also advises and represents solar energy developers before local governments, state commissions and courts. Recently, he has represented a county sued for charging and collecting capacity fees on behalf of its water and sewer districts, as well as a variety of solar industry interests before quasi-judicial tribunals and in appeals before numerous superior courts.

    In litigation involving pharmaceutical products, medical devices and asbestos-containing products, Brad has worked as national, regional and local counsel. These cases have included work on the science and epidemiology related to silicone gel breast implants, and defense of blood products suppliers during the transfusion-associated AIDS crisis. In these settings, he has coordinated ADR programs and participated in hundreds of mediations. His experience sparked an interest in being certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission, and his current work as a mediator.

    Brad was a partner at Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, which combined with Fox Rothschild in 2018.

    Brad earned his B.A., with high distinction, from Indiana University and his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center.

    Click here for more information about Bradley.

  • Robin Tatum

    Robin Tatum is a Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP in Raleigh. She is a highly experienced land use and zoning attorney who has represented local governments, private businesses and developers throughout North Carolina for more than three decades.

    A former City Attorney for Raleigh and Asheville, Robin often serves as lead counsel in significant cases filed in North Carolina's state and federal courts — both at trial and on appeal. A frequent speaker on the topic of municipal law, she leverages this 360-degree perspective to help clients solve complex land use, zoning and land development challenges.

    Prior to joining Fox Rothschild, Robin served as City Attorney for Raleigh, managing a staff of 21 lawyers. Before that, she was City Attorney for Asheville, and worked as a land-use and zoning attorney for two North Carolina-based private law firms.

    Robin earned her B.S. and master's from North Carolina State University and her J.D., summa cum laude, from North Carolina Central University Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Franklin Dupree of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina after earning her law degree.

    Click here for more information about Robin.

  • Nick Tosco

    Nick Tosco is a Partner at Poyner Spruill LLP in Charlotte. He assists municipalities, counties, governmental agencies, and private clients on matters related to zoning, permitting, variances, annexations, condemnation/eminent domain, public records, special use permits, site plans, subdivisions, and administrative law issues.

    Nick also devotes part of his practice to civil litigation, representing clients in a wide range of complex government-related disputes, land use litigation, zoning disputes, and condemnation/eminent domain litigation.

    Nick previously served as a law clerk for the Charlotte City Attorneys' Office, assisting with lawsuits, land use challenges, contracts, and city ordinance matters. Prior to attending law school, he interned and worked for Dan Clodfelter during his time as a North Carolina State Senator.

    Nick earned his B.A. in Political Science and Government from North Carolina State University and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Nick.

  • Beth Trahos

    Beth Trahos is a Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP in Raleigh. She focuses her practice on commercial real estate development, land use and government regulation.

    Using her natural abilities for building consensus, Beth regularly represents developers, builders, property owners and local governments in land use and municipal law matters. She frequently appears before city councils, planning commissions and boards of adjustment representing clients seeking or opposing rezonings, special and conditional use permits, subdivisions, annexations, variances, text amendments and code interpretations in North Carolina and Virginia.

    Beth has been involved in the solar boom in the Southeast and has assisted in the land use permitting of more than 200 utility-scale solar farms representing more than a gigawatt of new energy production for the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    Prior to joining Fox Rothschild, Beth was a partner at a national law firm. She is a former partner of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, and Holt York McDarris & High LLP before their combinations with Fox Rothschild.

    Beth earned her B.A. from University of Richmond, MURP from Virginia Commonwealth University and her J.D. from University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Beth.

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Certificate of Completion and Archived Video: Your certificate of completion and archived video will be available approximately two weeks of the program date and can be found in your CLE account. MCLE credit is available to registrants only on the day(s) of the live event. This archived content is offered solely for review purposes and is not a substitute for live attendance.

August 6, 2024
Tue 8:55 AM EDT

Duration 6H 58M

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