[box] ♪♪ If there is something strange,

In your neighborhood,

Who you gonna call?

. . .

If there’s something weird

And it don’t look good,

Who you gonna call? [/box]

For children of the eighties, the catchphrases “Ghostbusters!” and “I ain’t afraid of no ghost” are now likely floating in your head.  Outside the supernatural world, when “there’s something weird” in the “appellate neighborhood,” one name likely comes to mind when asked, “Who You Gonna Call?”:  John Connell. As the long-time Clerk of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Connell has been an invaluable resource on North Carolina appellate practice and procedure for close to 30 years.

A few weeks ago, Connell announced that he will be retiring from his position as Clerk at the end of October 2015. On behalf of the NCAPB team, I want to thank John Connell for his service and wish him all the best!  He is a great guy who is sure to succeed in whatever endeavor he tackles next—hopefully after some much needed R&R.

Still, Connell’s departure makes me a bit anxious. As evidenced by numerous blog posts, North Carolina’s written rules governing appellate practice and procedure are not always a picture of clarity. For decades (including my entire appellate career), Connell has served as a trusted “gap filler” for appellate practice and procedure, generously sharing his years of practical experience and knowledge with practitioners all across the State. I have become accustomed to calling him about some esoteric question or concern.  I am sure I am not the only person who will miss having ready access to his wisdom, insight, and incomparable wit.

So, while we await the impending reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise in 2016, we also wait to see whom the Court of Appeals selects as its new Clerk of Court.  He or she will have some big shoes to fill.  However, it will be interesting to see if the new Clerk’s leadership brings any drastic changes to the way things have traditionally worked at the Court of Appeals.

Any warm wishes for John Connell you would like to share? Ideas for the person you will likely have on speed dial for tricky appellate questions in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

–Beth Scherer