March 1, 2013

Letters to The Editor: Second Season of Service

In this issue, Letters to the Editor has topics that range from Business law and law clinics to reccomended reading from previous issues.

To the Editor

I was inspired by Ed Schoenbaum’s last column [VOE Winter 2013, Vol. 24, No. 4] to describe my second season of service. After practicing in the private sector for over 50 years and being heavily involved in bar activities both locally and at the national level with the ABA, I served in the ABA House of Delegates (HOD), and I was also heavily involved in the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP), having served on the executive council and as its president from 1996–97. I was also a member of the SLD Council. I became “of counsel” to my law firm and, one day at a Bar Association luncheon of some sort, I was seated next to the then-dean of the Loyola University School of Law who expressed her desire to start a business law clinic so that students could have the benefit of a clinical experience with real live clients and could counsel and represent them in their business ventures. Since I was at that point in my career when I was interested in doing something new, I told her that we should meet and talk about starting a business law clinic at Loyola.

Well, we talked, and, in the summer of 1999, I started the Loyola Business Law Clinic. There were very few such clinics in the country at that time, and I am pleased to say that there are now a good number of law schools with business law clinics of one sort or another.

In 1999, I had students but no clients. However, I am also pleased to state that, just as it was with the Field of Dreams (“Build it and they will come”), the clients startedto come, and they now come in droves. We have a waiting list a mile long, and many of our earlier clients have gone on to build successful business organizations.

Working with the young people is a wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it to any lawyer who now sprouts silver hair or no hair at all. Our Clinic is truly a win-win situation. We are serving a segment of the population that otherwise would not be served, and the student clinicians are getting a hands-on learning experience. Learning how to practice law is something that law schools do not teach, and our students are learning how to interact with the various governmental agencies that attorneys must deal with.

In 1999, I told the Dean that I would stay on until my successor could be found and trained. Here I am, 13 years later, still on the job, but I now have some capable assistants who one day, in the not-too-distant future, will be able to take over, and I could be put out to pasture. Working with the young folks really does keep your batteries charged.

Sincerely, Joseph L. Stone

Joseph L. Stone (jstone3@luc.edu) is the Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Clinical Professor of Business Law and the director of the Business Law Center Clinic at Loyola University School of Law in Chicago. He is also of counsel to the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw.

 

To the Editor:

I am writing in reaction to the Winter 2013 issue of The Voice of Experience and specifically to the article by Anita P. Miller, “It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Over.” This article states that Attorney Miller went to law school in 1974. I assume that the term “went” refers to the time she started law school. She tells of her career in land use law, including her work during the recent economic downturn that killed the “need for regulatory strategies.” Her husband died during this period. However, Attorney Miller is now back to work for the City of Albuquerque in an “8–to–5 routine, five days a week, practicing land use law.”

Good for Anita. I am glad she is a working girl again. I started law school after finishing college and after finishing two years of military service. I started law school in 1956. This places me at 80 years old. I am still practicing because I enjoy it. My field is divorce law, but much of my time is taken up with writing for publication. Writing for publication does not pay well, but the pay is in the referrals my firm receives from my writings and the enjoyment I receive from researching and writing.

I enjoy my work and intend to keep it up as long as I can.

Sincerely, H. Joseph Gitlin

H. Joseph Gitlin is a founding partner of Gitlin, Busche, & Stetler in Woodstock, Illinois. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers.

 

To the Editor:

I am writing to commend [Richard P. Beck and A. Kimberly Hoffman] on [their] very good article, “Finding the Right Real Estate Lawyer,” in the last issue of The Voice of Experience [Vol. 24, no. 4, Winter 2013] and to thank them for their careful review and helpful advice to market participants and consumers in connection with real estate closing services provided by attorneys.

We noted that the article lists nine states as requiring closing attorneys, but North Carolina was not among them. Nationwide there appears to be a misconception that North Carolina does not require attorneys to close real estate transactions. However, in fact, North Carolina does so. The North Carolina State Bar has stated that only licensed North Carolina attorneys may handle real estate closings in this state, as the collection of services involved in a real estate closing constitutes the practice of law. See Op. # 1 of Authorized Practice Advisory Opinion 2002-1 (Rev. Jan. 2012). Further, since 1936 the North Carolina Supreme Court has recognized that real estate conveyancing constitutes the practice of law in this state. See State ex rel Seawell v. Motor Club, 184 S.E. 540, 544, 1936 LEXIS 309, 14–17 (1936).

We have also noted that many national lenders and settlement companies incorrectly suggest that North Carolina is not an attorney closing state. This has led to many such companies operating closing businesses in North Carolina, which is illegal and has harmed consumers. Allow me to request, therefore, that you add one more state to your list of 10 states requiring that an attorney handle closings—North Carolina.

Thank you for your efforts to outline these important issues for consumers and their attorneys.

Sincerely, Benjamin R. Kuhn

Benjamin R. Kuhn (bkuhn@kuhnlawfirm.com) is immediate past president of the Real Estate Lawyers Association of North Carolina (RELANC), which advocates on behalf of North Carolina real estate attorneys and their consumer-clients. He also serves as the retained Consumer Protection Attorney for the North Carolina Bar Association’s Real Property Section.