5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Happy New Year!
As 2019 came to a close, and the New Year began, we created our resolutions ready for a new start, a new beginning. Not knowing what was to come, we found ourselves coming together, reflecting, at times debating while navigating through the year 2020. A year that would change our lives for the rest of our lives. However, 2020 hasn’t been all bad news! Join us as we look back on some of our favorite moments. Tissues may be required.
We celebrated some promotions!
Shanae Auguste, Alyssa Campalong, Chandler Roten, and Marcus Nordgren all received promotions this year. Shanae broke barriers becoming the first Woman of color on the Executive team.
We brought on some new faces to the team!
Michael Harrington – serving South Carolina and Cory Busker – serving North and South Carolina became our Senior Associate Attorneys’, along with Crystal Richardson, Associate Attorney serving North Carolina. Kelly Rodriguez joined the team as an Eviction Services Manager serving North Carolina, and Cherish Nosike, Certified Paralegal serving the North Carolina area also, joined our team this year. #HereWeGrowAgain!
We continued to educate the industry on Fair Housing best practices.
We didn’t realize that this would be the last in-person lunch and learn that we would have with the Upper State Apartment Association.
Remember when this was normal?
We had a blast with Bell Partners, and Ellen B found her match on Valentine’s Day.
The Greater Fayetteville Apartment Association recognized Will Brownlee for his service to the association and they recognized us for our #LBAgainstDV social media campaign to help bring awareness to domestic violence in the multifamily industry.
Then, things started to change.
In 2020, we made ‘Law Firm Wellbeing‘ a firm-wide priority. Chris encouraged the firm to take valuable downtime to combat negative stressors. So, to help everyone experience that downtime, Chris sent us a memo telling us to go home. Seriously. Little did we know that we could be working from home for the rest of the year with event cancellations, stay-at-home orders, and restrictions on the horizon.
We found new ways to cope and connect.
We had a virtual homecoming bringing a little joy to our fans’ timeline. At the same time, Tiger King was the only sense of normalcy that we had.
We realized that we have work to do.
After the death of George Floyd, everyone had to take a hard look in the mirror. The multifamily industry was no exception. We strived to listen, to understand, not respond, and thereby better appreciate one another’s challenges. By not abandoning the moment, we stuck together, had tough conversations, not just about race but about how we can be more inclusive and bring awareness to issues that affect us and others. How can we all be better allies? At L&B, we are continuously striving to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Managing Principal Chris Loebsack and Manager of Digital Media Liz Newkirk had a discussion regarding the historic decision from the Supreme Court stating that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. Justice Neil Gorsuch said, “we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender.” The answer is clear. Knowing that we couldn’t stop there, we wanted to have a more in-depth conversation. So we brought in Equality NC to have another conversation headed by Associate Attorney Crystal Richardson to understand how we can move the needle in providing an inclusive and safe environment for those in the LGBTQ+ community and celebrates them and their accomplishments.
Like you, we are trying to find a sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.
We found ways to stand up for what we believe in, celebrate our wins, mourn the loss of friends, loved ones, and legal juggernauts. We soon began to realize that we are all in this together. So while 2020 was basically March, over and over again, and we don’t know when we will go back to normal, one thing is for sure. We learned a lot. We cried, laughed, and we grew. One can only hope that with all of the trials that 2020 brought us, we won’t forget the lessons we’ve learned and the values we gained as we continue to move forward. Thank you for going through this year with us.
See you in 2021…
After we read the terms and conditions.
UPDATE: 1/27/21 – Governor Cooper has issued a new Executive Order #191. The effect of this new Order for our Landlord clients is limited in that it merely extends the end date of his prior Executive Order #184 and by default #171 until March 31; no other tweaks were made.
10/28/2020 – This afternoon, Governor Cooper unexpectedly issued a new Executive Order affecting eviction filings for the State through (at least) Dec. 31. This Executive Order was summarized by our friends at the Apartment Association of North Carolina, and their summary is below.
We are aware that AANC is in communication with the Governor’s Office in order to get additional information and guidance before the Order takes effect at the end of the day on Friday. We are also writing to provide you with a copy of the FAQ document that the Governor’s office put out, so that you can read it for yourself and get some additional background information in the meantime.
Starting next week, then, expect that there will be new and additional requirements in place that we will have to comply with before our Firm can undertake the filing of any new eviction cases. What those are and how they will operate are unknown at this point, but rest assured that we will provide an additional update before Monday, once we know more.
And remember – EO 171 now makes clear that it is IMPERATIVE that you notify us (and provide a copy!) every time you receive a Declaration for any case that you have submitted to us for filing.
As always, we thank you for your trust and continued business.
UPDATE FROM AANC- 10/28/2020
Today Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 171 which will become effective at 5PM on Friday, October 30th. Below you will find a detailed breakdown of the Order by AANC General Counsel Norm Praet. The association will reach out to the Chief Justice and the Administrative Office of Courts to confirm that an affidavit will be forthcoming from the courts to satisfy the requirement of Section 1.
Executive Order 171
CDC Declaration Form
Frequently Asked Questions for Executive Order 171
[AANC] was not aware of the Order prior to the issuance. However, the CDC Order specifically provides that states can supply more restrictive eviction guidelines and this order appears to be consistent with that directive. The association will continue to review the order and provide any additional information.
This executive order clarifies and extends the CDC Orders as follows:
- In an action commenced on or after 5pm on October, 30, prior to filing for a summary ejectment action the landlord must execute an affidavit and present it to the court certifying that the landlord has provided the residential tenant with a blank copy of the CDC Declaration form.
- Only 1 declaration is required per home, despite the CDC Order.
- The Executive Order only precludes evictions for nonpayment or late payment if a CDC Declaration is received and not successfully challenged.
- In the event the landlord believes the action should still proceed despite the filing of the Declaration, the landlord shall submit to the court a response to the Declaration identifying in writing why the landlord believes the action should still proceed despite the protections of the CDC Order. For example, the landlord may respond by indicating that the eviction is for a reason other than nonpayment or late payment of rent. A hearing to determine whether the action should proceed shall be held according to the timeline for hearings for eviction proceedings, or as otherwise established by the court.
- Upon receiving a Declaration, the landlord shall take no actions to request a writ of possession, and the landlord is not entitled to the writ, but the landlord may submit a response to the Declaration and request a hearing as provided in Section 4 of this summary.
- If a court determines that the eviction should proceed under Section 4 of this summary, and ultimately enters a judgment against the tenant, nothing in this Executive Order prohibits a landlord from requesting a writ of possession, and the landlord shall be legally entitled to a writ of possession in those circumstances.
- In actions pending on or commenced after the date of the Executive Order, a landlord who has been provided with a tenant’s Declaration pursuant to the CDC Order shall immediately notify the court that such Declaration has been received and shall submit a copy of the Declaration to the court within five (5) days of receipt.
- The protections from eviction of this Executive Order shall extend to those residential tenants who have applied for the HOPE program and have been notified that they have met the eligibility criteria for participation in the HOPE program, even if those residential tenants would not qualify for protection from eviction under the CDC Order. Once the landlord has executed the HOPE Landlord-Tenant Agreement, the tenant shall be protected from eviction under the terms of that Agreement, and not under this Executive Order.
As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.
Today is National Paralegal Day
According to nationaltoday.com, National Paralegal Day is an annual event that celebrates those who do the legal research (and mountains of paperwork) that enables law firms to function. So, today we shine the spotlight on Lynette McPherson. She is one of the first paralegals to work at Loebsack & Brownlee. This is her “Day in the Life.”
How long have you worked at Loebsack & Brownlee?
I am one of the “originals.” I have worked for Chris for ten years and helped start the firm eight years ago with Erin Noe and Stephanie Richmond. It has been a wild ride, and I’m so glad that I have been a part of this incredible journey Chris has “captained.”
What time do you get up in the morning?
I’m usually awake and going by 6:30 am or so—sleeping in late is a one day a week thing for me if you consider 8 am on Sundays late?
What do you do before you come to work?
Thank the Lord above that I am vertical one more day, and then get ready for work with a good cup of hot decaf tea. I have enough energy that I do not need caffeine. LOL, and then I spend a few minutes with my three precious doggos… Dog-lovin’ in the morning is the best way to start the day, you know!
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a paralegal, there is no typical day. I make lists, check them twice, and then change them as the day progresses. Respond to email, voicemail, regular snail mail (all the ‘mails’), perform research, draft documents, prepare case files, help clients with questions, work with the courts, put out fires, and anything the attorneys may need or want. I like the variety; it keeps things interesting.
What inspired you to become a paralegal?
After almost 25 years in Property Management, I decided it was time for a change. I had reached burn-out. I took a year off and thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up and realized we don’t have to be just one thing…OR even grow up! The other road I considered taking after college in my younger years would have led to law school but decided I didn’t want that kind of stress in my life (lawyers have a lot on their shoulders), so I went back to school for a degree in Paralegal Studies (sort of less stress LOL). Being a student again in my late 40’s was different. My son and I were in college at the same time. It was pretty cool.
If you had advice for someone looking to become a paralegal, what advice would you give them?
Do your research on this career field. Think about why YOU want to take this road. Get your degree through an ABA Approved program to get the most out of the education offered and follow through by getting state-certified. Learn all you can. And remember, there is always something to learn.
You’re known as the “Queen of Puns.” What is your all-time favorite pun?
A Queen loves all her puns! I put them out there with hopes someone will get a good giggle. It feels great to see a smile or hear a laugh.
What is the hardest thing about being a paralegal?
The hardest thing is deadlines. Not everyone manages time effectively and gives deadlines the attention they require. There are consequences for not meeting deadlines that are not pleasant.
How has the industry changed?
Continuing Legal Education becomes more important each passing year-that is a great positive change.
Work/life balance; how do you maintain it?
It’s easier now that my son is grown and on his own, and he and my hubby have been my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. Trying to eat right (except for my M&M addiction-yep-I admit it), practicing yoga, and walking helps with mind-body balance. You must take the time to care for yourself. Your mind and body will let you know when you don’t.
We want to thank all of the paralegals at Loebsack & Brownlee for all of the hard work and dedication they give to the firm to help ensure our clients have a quality experience. Learn more about the team at L&B here.
Late last week, North Carolina’s Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Eviction program (H.O.P.E.) was announced and is now accepting applications. H.O.P.E. is a statewide initiative that may provide rent and utility assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income renters who have experienced financial hardship due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
The H.O.P.E. program is using funds from the State’s CARES Act funding to create a $117 Million fund for tenants to pay up to 6 months of rent, past or future, as well as a separate fund for paying past due utility balances.
Here are some helpful links to read more on this program:
Loebsack & Brownlee PLLC is providing this information as a courtesy to our clients, in hopes that it may help you to help your tenants access these funds and get caught up on balances owed to you. If you have any questions about the program or its details, however, please go to https://nc211.org/hope/ for more resources and information.