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NC native takes helm of National Bar Association (access required)

The country’s oldest organization for minority lawyers has tapped a North Carolina native to serve as its first female executive director. Demetris W. Cheatham, formerly the National Bar Association’s interim executive director, has taken the helm at the 87-year-old group. Cheatham, who grew up in Tarboro, said her first order of business is to firm up the NBA’s relationships with government and political leaders. For more than 30 years, the face of the organization was its longtime executive director John Crump. The organization has been in a transitional mode since he retired in 2009, Cheatham said.

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ABA mulls stricter standards for law school job info (access required)

As American Bar Association leaders consider more exacting standards for law schools for reporting post-graduate salary and employment information, a new round of class action suits is ratcheting up the pressure on schools and the ABA to address allegations of fraud and misrepresentation. An ABA committee has recommended that an ABA council on legal education and bar admissions adjust its standards, according to law.com, an American Lawyer Media website. Law.com reports that the committee’s proposal includes requiring individual schools to report salary numbers for the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile for graduates in jobs requiring a law degree, J.D.-preferred jobs, other professions, and nonprofessional jobs. Schools would need to report salary information in 15 job categories.

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Man claims officer had affair with his wife, then had him arrested (access required)

A Myrtle Beach man’s lawsuit against a Horry County police officer and state trooper is heavy on soap-opera drama and light on legal substance, a U.S. District Court judge in Florence has ruled. The plaintiff claimed that his wife was having an affair with the officer and that the two lovers conspired to have him arrested for drunken driving. His wife had told the officer that her husband was getting drunk at a bar and would eventually be driving home.

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Large Verdicts & Settlements – 2011 (access required)

A $327 million verdict against a pharmaceutical company for violating the state’s Unfair Trade Practices Act tops the list of South Carolina Lawyers Weekly’s annual roundup of the year’s top verdicts and settlements. The 2011 list comprises the 14 awards of at least $1 million that were reported to Lawyers Weekly during the year.

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Defense Verdicts & Settlements from 2011 (access required)

Mixed in with Lawyers Weekly’s list of the top verdicts and settlements for 2011 were a pair of notable defense wins: A restaurant owner who successfully defended his right to use the word “firehouse” in his business name, and a developer who fought off a foreclosure action and forced a bank to settle the case. Sarah Day Hurley (pictured) represented the defendant in the restaurant trademark case.

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NC group acquires small Columbia firm with big connections (access required)

North Carolina’s largest law firm grew by three lawyers, one city and an unknown number of Palmetto state political connections last week when Winston-Salem-based Womble Carlyle merged with the boutique firm Hall & Bowers of Columbia. The lawyers of Hall & Bowers — Kevin Hall (pictured), Todd Carroll and Butch Bowers — have deep roots within the South Carolina political establishment, including relationships with South Carolina’s sitting U.S. senators and Republican congressmen, and the state’s current and former governors.

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Bicycle crash in NC leads to $2.3 million settlement (access required)

Two Raleigh attorneys helped a man who was seriously injured in a bicycle crash quickly collect a $2.3 million settlement to improve the quality of his medical care. Benjamin H. Whitley and his father, Robert E. Whitley, both of the Whitley Law Firm, represented a 35-year-old man who suffered traumatic brain injuries in June 2011, when a bicycle he was riding collided with the side of a car. He was hospitalized for three months following the crash and continues to recover at a rehabilitation and nursing center. The man had been speeding downhill on his bicycle when the car’s driver failed to brake for a stop sign and crossed in front of him. He also was not wearing a bicycle helmet during the crash.

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Appeals court overrules judge on age-inspired reduction of alimony (access required)

Maybe alimony orders ought to have sunset provisions, to coincide with the sunset years of life. Court of Appeals Judge James E. Lockemy, who wrote wistfully last week in a concurring opinion about the role of age and work in alimony, might like that. Though he agreed with his colleagues’ ruling in Fuller v. Fuller that age alone should not determine whether alimony can be reduced, Lockemy waxed poetic about the advancing years and the need for time to enjoy life’s extras.

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