Update on State Bar Activities Regarding Diversity and Inclusion Issues

October 28, 2020   |   Abby Hammond

On Friday, Oct. 23, the N.C. State Bar Council met and unanimously approved for publication and comment a proposed rule change that would create a CLE requirement regarding bias, inclusion and diversity. The proposed rule change will be included in the Winter 2021 edition of The State Bar Journal.

NCAJ continues to monitor the State Bar’s activity regarding diversity and inclusion matters via an internal working group led by NCAJ Diversity Officer Stewart Poisson and NCAJ Legal Affairs Vice President Sonya Pfeiffer.

The proposed CLE requirement is among several changes the North Carolina State Bar discussed in recent months, including:

1) the proposed amendment to the Preamble identifying the avoidance of discriminatory conduct as a fundamental value of the legal profession, which was currently published for comment;

2) the creation of a subcommittee to study potential inclusion of anti-discriminatory language in the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct; and

3) the creation of a subcommittee to study the potential inclusion of a new comment to Rule 1.1 (Competency) stating that a lawyer’s competency includes awareness of implicit bias and cultural differences that can impact a client and the associated representation.

The proposed amendment to the Preamble was previously published by the State Bar and received significant comments. That proposed preamble change and the comments have been referred to a subcommittee appointed to study the proposed adoption of anti-discrimination language in the Rules of Professional Conduct.

About the Author

Abby Hammond

Advocacy Consultant

Abby Hammond

Advocacy Consultant

Abby Hammond joined the NCAJ team in March of 2018. She brings a wealth of experience interacting with state agencies, legislators and special interest groups in North Carolina. Prior to joining NCAJ, Hammond served in the North Carolina Industrial Commission, where she worked for three chairs of the commission. She also spent four and half years as commission counsel to the Rules Review Commission within the Office of Administrative Hearings. Before coming to North Carolina, Hammond practiced family law in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hammond’s duties at NCAJ include coordinating advocacy efforts with members and contract lobbyists regarding legislation in the N.C. General Assembly. She also assists NCAJ’s Legal Affairs Program in administering reviews of amicus requests and organizing moot court panels and she works with the NCAJ PAC. Hammond serves as staff liaison to NCAJ’s Workers’ Compensation Section and its Legislative and Legal Affairs committees. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and a member of the Junior League.

Hammond is a graduate of Clemson University and earned her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

She loves spending time with family and friends, traveling to new places and Clemson football. Hammond has two children and a wonderful puppy that is the best behaved of the three. Her husband is an economist, and between the two of them, they make dinner conversation for their kids the worst.