Yesterday, the NC Administrative Office of the Courts hosted its inaugural CLE program for the appellate division.  Under the leadership of Grant Buckner, the Director of the Office of Central Staff, and Bryan Boyd, the Clerk of the Supreme Court, a full-day CLE was offered, including remarks by Chief Justice Mark Martin and Chief Judge Linda McGee.

The schedule included a presentation on the genius of the common law, by Professor John Orth; a Supreme Court retrospective and forecast, by Solicitor General Matt Sawchak; fascinating insights into the philosophy and social science of statutory interpretation, by Duke Law Professor Margaret Lemos; and a deep dive into professionalism in the digital and social-media age, by Lisa Sheppard, Executive Director of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.  Beth and I were honored to be a part of the faculty as well, and presented on current and emerging issues in appellate practice and procedure.

For more, you can access slides from Beth’s and my presentation and our handout on recent statute-based jurisdictional changes, as well as slides from the presentation delivered by General Sawchak.

As you might expect, a common theme throughout the day was “We don’t know yet how x will play out, until the courts provide more clarity.”  How will the Supreme Court handle its new docket of termination-of-parental rights cases in 2019? Will the Supreme Court continue to allow petitions for certiorari from non-appealable Business Court orders?  When will the Court of Appeals finally hear a case en banc, and will there be a constitutional challenge to the statute authorizing it?  Must the Court of Appeals exercise statutorily-granted certiorari authority in criminal cases, or may the court decline to invoke Rule 2 for cases that don’t fit within the confines of Rule 21?  Will the Supreme Court adopt, pursuant to amended N.C. Gen. Stat. 1-294, proposed rules that clarify the trial court’s authority to proceed on certain matters during the pendency of an appeal, or will the RPR Associates line of cases continue its resurgence?

We are watching these and other issues closely, and will keep you posted on any developments.

–Matt Leerberg

**Special thanks to Kip Nelson for helping us prepare the materials for the CLE.