May Update--President Allen Smith

25 May 2021 9:48 AM | Deleted user

HOORAY!  The light at the end of the tunnel is now real bright. In fact, we are a good ways out of the tunnel, and many counties have resumed trials. In my experiences venturing out to restaurants, stores, and church since North Carolina lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions, I have noticed relief and enthusiasm. I have seen lots and lots of smiles that were hidden by masks for the past year or so. I have also found it a lot easier to recognize people with masks off! 
In terms of professional life, we still need to exercise patience. There remains a large backlog of cases on trial calendars, and some counties are operating fewer courtrooms than normal in order to accommodate social distancing requirements for jurors. In my home county of Mecklenburg, the courts are placing priorities and larger disputes.  We all see cases in superior court that should really be in district court. I understand that these types of cases will receive a lower priority for trial and/or stronger encouragement to settle.  Please make sure your clients understand this.
We also need to keep in mind that some courts, restaurants, and businesses still ask consumers to wear masks. This is another area where we need to be patient even if you have had your vaccine. Be thankful for the amazing progress our country and state have made this year!
Speaking of thankful, this is my final Note as president. I am thankful for our innovative staff, Lynette Pitt and Jennifer Edwards. They provided the organization with great opportunities for virtual meetings and programs over the past 14 months and in-person fellowship in different cities over the past 3 weeks. In Charlotte, we had at least 30 attorneys attend the social function at Legion Brewing. I am thankful for the distinguished defense attorneys who wrote columns on what it means to be a defense attorney. Those were great columns, and I learned something new in each one of them. I am thankful for our sponsors and encourage all members to use our sponsors. Finally, I am thankful for the hard work of the NCADA board, committees, and officers. The plaintiffs’ bar threw a lot our way, including ongoing efforts to modify Rule 414 and some related statutes and to end the doctrine of contributory negligence.
I hope I see you over Zoom at our Annual Meeting June 4,11, and 17; and in-person at the Fall Meeting In Hilton Head Island on September 19-21.

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