Monthly Archives: February 2015

Guilford College alumna was first UNC woman graduate, a pioneer and a practical historian

The first woman to graduate from the University of North Carolina came from Guilford College. Sallie W. Stockard in 1898.stockard_sal_0

Admitting women to UNC was controversial. One newspaper wrote, “We hope the day is distant when unsexed bipeds shall be privileged to [romp] over the land to the shame of women and the merriment of man.”

Treading lightly into the controversy, UNC’s trustees adopted a resolution in 1897 that “post-graduate courses at the University be opened to women.” But then Edwin Alderman, the (wily) president of the University interpreted that resolution to mean that women who had graduated from women’s colleges (most of which were two-year schools) could enroll as juniors and seniors at UNC. (Alderman had been an ally of Mary Mendenhall Hobbs in lobbying the General Assembly to establish UNC-G in 1891.)

Biped that she was, Sallie Stockard enrolled at UNC in the fall of 1897. She had graduated with a four-year degree from Guilford in the spring. She had ambitions to continue her studies of history at UNC. After a year in Chapel Hill, in 1898, Stockard became the first woman graduate from UNC (She got a second B.A.). Later (in 1900), she was awarded a masters degree. (Several other women had enrolled with Stockard in 1897, but they either graduated later than she, or did not graduate.)

Having been prepared by four years of study at the oldest coeducational college in the South, Stockard was ready to break new ground at Chapel Hill. Despite warnings, she dared to take a course in Shakespeare’s plays, even though this put her in the bold position of studying and discussing the ways of Sir John Falstaff with male classmates. She was also set apart by being called upon to cast the deciding vote in the election of the senior class president.

Armed with a practical liberal education from Guilford College and a master’s degree in history from UNC, and bent for action, Stockard returned to Greensboro in 1900, and solicited subscriptions, including a grant from the County Commissioners, for what became The History of Guilford County, North Carolina, which was published in 1902. (Stockard’s debts in her research to Mary Mendenhall Hobbs are acknowledged at several points in the book.)

Something about the Guilford County project prompted Stockard to quote the Book of Job on the title page of the work, “O would that my enemy would write a book,” and also to write in her preface,

This book may be severely criticized. A chapter from the Kingdom of Glory would be distasteful to some folks. The writing of this history, the collection of the data, and getting up the subscriptions, has indeed been hard work. This has been no child’s play. The writing of local history is truly arduous. It is hard to write history, hardest of all to write local history. Advice has not been wanting. May all the good live immortal and all the bad be buried.

Stockard was later to write another local history, which became a valued source of early Arkansas history, and other books. She has been acknowledged as “a historian, author, and frontrunner in the equality of women in education,”

Sallie Stockard was no pale flower. She was instead, a Guilford alumna, a pioneer in co-education, and a practitioner of  “civil and useful” liberal arts.

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Eggs are legal again, coffee good for you; breakfast is coming back

Hen-Hotel

“Home on the range chickens” @ Masse Creek Farms

Last week, I read that eggs are OK to eat again, and this morning I heard that up to 5 cups of coffee a day are OK.Greensboro Farmers Curb Market

massey 2Friends, we are on a trajectory here that could result in redeeming grits and recognizing bacon as a health food.

The reports I saw did not mention Massey Creek Farms explicitly, but I’m betting that the key is Massey Creek free range eggs , which you’d have to get Saturday morning at the Greensboro Farmers Market.

 

This “the profession is doomed” thing: if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

This past week, a consultant who is “renowned in the areas of legal management, marketing and technology” got a lot of attention for reporting, after participating in a bar leaders panel on the future of the legal profession, that “the profession is doomed.”Bluebird

“Doomed,” because lawyers’ training and experience have made them “a reactive and dogmatic group,” and this prevents them from embracing changes needed in delivery of legal services.

He cited a discussion about “limited license legal technicians.” This is an idea, adopted in the State of Washington, that permits persons who are not lawyers to practice law. These “LLLTs” will be permitted, in limited circumstances, to help clients prepare legal documents; advise them about the documents; explain legal procedures and proceedings; and gather and evaluate facts.”

Apparently, the bar leaders on the panel found only problems with this idea. They worried about potential harm from bad advice; they complained that licensed lawyers don’t have enough work to do as it is; they brushed aside evidence that most poor people handle most of their legal needs without any help from a lawyer because they can’t afford it, and that traditional sources of funding for legal services for the poor are steadily being reduced.

Doom.

BUT – also last week – the  ABA Journal reported that opening the practice of law to practitioners with limited licenses has met with some form of encouragement in Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts in addition to Washington. And for-profit services like Legal Zoom and Avvo seem to be making steady headway.

The American Bar Association, however carefully, seems to be encouraging the profession to consider new ways, many of which will threaten to loose the unlicensed into legal services.

AND – also in the past week – Brooks Pierce entered into serious conversations with – not one, but two – separate groups that have ideas for cooperative efforts by law firms and others to design and deliver standard legal services at low costs using cutting edge technology and the Internet. I’m not going to tell you what those two groups have in mind. That is secret. But, I can say this: one group would cut compliance costs and improve performance for boards of directors and particularly the boards of public companies; and the other will deliver innovations along more predictable lines in litigation support and document discovery.

Now I am often accused by my “reactive and dogmatic” colleagues of being an optimist – maybe even an inveterate optimist.  But, just now I am asking: “Skippy, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

This could be a very good time to be a mid size law firm – at least, a nimble and efficient one.

Another dark side of law practice, but a core of great price

When they enter law school, law students experience depression and substance abuse in about the same proportions as everybody else (about 8% of the population). But, by the time they graduate, 40% of law students are clinically depressed. (This percentage drops in subsequent years, but remains a multiple of rates for the general population.)albatross

Professor Brian Clarke brought this news to Brooks Pierce last week. The assertion that law school generates depression at such high levels is both hard to believe, and almost impossible not to respond to with a sardonic quip about law schools.

EXCEPT, Professor Clarke supports his claim with data. Clarke, Brian S., Coming Out in the Classroom: Law Professors, Law Students and Depression (August 1, 2014). Journal of Legal Education, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN.  AND, depression and substance abuse are perhaps beyond the purview of quips and sarcasm.

Professor Clarke’s presentation at Brooks Pierce, “The Dark Side of the Practice of Law, a Mental Health Program for Lawyers,” was sponsored by the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program. It was engaging and useful and about as upbeat as the dark side can be.

Clarke’s news comes even as advice to stay away from law school is redoubling (“most law students are in for disappointment when they graduate”).

This winter of our profession’s discontent.

And yet it is hard – no, impossible – not to admire the courage and grit and service of lawyers like Brian Clarke and Louis Allen and Kathy Klotzberger and John Sarratt and many others associated with the Lawyer Assistance Program. They are pearls of great price.

New lawyers, old ones and NewLaw — a prediction that the profession will survive

This winter of the legal profession’s discontent.HiRes

Work is down across the profession. Revenues are flat. Job offers are down. Applications to law schools are down. Older lawyers are not retiring, even as the conclusion is being drawn that fewer lawyers are needed, and younger ones are said to be departing the profession for the lack of opportunities. Although paying work is down, the legal services needs of low wealth communities are not met.

But this winter shall pass. Old lawyers will pass. New ones will rise. I predict this.

Maybe, the work of the future will be distributed differently among law firms, law departments and alternative services providers. Maybe, computers will do more of the work. Maybe, law firms will no longer deliver “full service.” Maybe most firms will serve targeted niches and deliver limited modules of service.

Perhaps the practice of law will look little as it once did.  Perhaps lawyers (like doctors and academics) will carry more the mantle of technicians than professionals. Perhaps generalists will be supplanted by specialists — by non-lawyers and service bureaux and by machines.

In the end, the new will rise. So be it.

But there will remain a constant demand for professionals who can bring experience and judgment to legal questions that are complex, uncertain and ambiguous. And this is not work for the institutions of NewLaw. “Classical lawyering” will remain.

And, there will remain those questions posed here several years ago — but repeated now in the words of an observer today.

Most, if not all, contracted lawyers working under the auspices of one of the NewLaw firms are essentially self-employed with the freedom and positive challenges this brings. But they have no security of income, no superannuation, no permanent social work environment, no paid annual leave, no long service leave and, usually, no training and organised continuing professional development.

Especially for young practitioners there is no structured professional education program and no employer-provided training in the basics of practice. And certainly no apprenticeship – the foundation on which the next generation of the profession has been built for generations.

So, when that new day comes and the new lawyers rise, who will have prepared them? Who will have trained them? How will their judgment have been forged?

Today, when experienced lawyers are plentiful, the institutions that might invest for the needs of the future are hard to discern. Who will train, develop, sustain and marinate lawyers for that day? Legal departments? Alternative providers? Or, law firms?

Whither apprenticeship?

 

A Midwinter Night’s Supper (reprised)

SupperSmoked trout, hummus américaine and pita chips with a paired beverage — for supper.

Smoked trout with horseradish mayonnaise

The trout
  • Purchase smoked trout. You might smoke your own, but let’s be honest: if you smoke your own trout, you are not reading this.
  • Plus, I am not entirely sure that smoking trout is legal, except for medicinal purposes, in states other than Colorado.

Top your smoked trout with horseradish mayonnaise and lemon juice.

The horseradish mayonnaise
  • Combine horseradish with mayonnaise. Adjust until it tastes right.  If there is too much horseradish, add mayonnaise. If there is too much mayonnaise – well, technically, there is no such thing as too much mayonnaise, but if there is not enough horseradish, then add some.
  • Serve trout and horseradish mayonnaise on pita chips,
  • Top with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 Hummus américaine, (hummus with sweet, hot pepper jelly)

  • Prepare hummus according to earlier directions (note: a future post will record growing  ambivalence about whether canned chic peas are the equal of dried ones, but on short notice canned chic peas will be just fine).
  • For hummus américaine you do not want creamy hummus. Your hummus should have the consistency of, say, mashed potatoes. The desired texture can be achieved by allowing too-creamy hummus to breathe for 24 hours.
  • Get you some sweet hot pepper jelly. This is sometimes referred to as “Southern sweet pepper jelly” when the jelly is made in the Southern United States.
  • Apply hummus to pita. Top with pepper jelly to taste. Reflect.

 Beverage pairing

I will not insult readers by stating the obvious. I can think of three to five pairings that are nearly perfect. So can you.