Note: My colleague, Pat Kane, wrote a must-read article on final judgments losing their finality  today that you should not overlook.

I recently wrote an article for the State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization highlighting current tips and traps in appellate practice and procedure. Because the article hyperlinks extensively to more detailed blog content, it is a handy roadmap to hotbed issues facing today’s appellate practitioners.  Check it out!

The article also touches on why board certification is valuable in today’s legal market. The Board of Legal Specialization is accepting applications to sit for the specialization exam now through June 30, 2017.

Justice Edmunds, Matt, and I are all board-certified appellate practice specialists. While the standards are rigorous (and the exam is no walk in the park), we encourage attorneys interested in this field (or any of the other specialty fields) to consider the benefits of specialization.  Board certification recognizes experience, knowledge, and professional reputation and allows a lawyer to communicate his/her specialty to the public. The program also seeks to improve the competency of members of the bar by establishing an additional incentive for lawyers to learn and grow in their practice areas.  A summary of the certification standards for Appellate Practice is available here.

For those approved to sit for the appellate practice exam, the tentative exam date is Monday, October 16, 2017.  For more information about the program, please visit or call 919-828-4620.

–Beth Scherer

P.S. The May 2017 newsletter also contains an interview with North Carolina’s new solicitor general Matt Sawchak, who is now leading the State’s civil appeals department. In the interview, Solicitor General Sawchak notes the role our new SML colleague, Justice Bob Edmunds, played in spearheading the creation of the appellate practice specialty.