To Fight For Your Rights
Polymath in the Law - Janet Ward Black - Part 7
We are joined by attorney extraordinaire Janet Ward Black of the Ward Black Law Firm.
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So I've been practicing in this same building in Greensboro for 30 years, this coming July. And when I joined the firm, one of the senior partners. Was a former N NCAA president. It was called the North Carolina trial lawyers at the time . And within the first two weeks of me joining the firm, he called me in and explained to me that I would be joining the North Carolina association of trial lawyers.
There was not any question about that. I didn't really know what it was because I'd never heard of it before, when I was in Rowan Cobar counties. And now it's caused me to. A much better lawyer as a result of all the years that I've been involved with N CJ. And my guess is bill the sames true for you? It is.
It was. Who was the, your former partner? That bill Horseley. Oh, okay. Okay. And we're on president number. Gosh, I don't even know what number we're at. It's John McCabe right now, most SI most to SI, not 60 years and the past presidents are an amazing group of people. I just love whenever and COVID really has killed this, but I love just, you can sit down and talk to any one of those people and learn something from them and in their all very approachable.
And maybe it's because of what we all had gone through during our respective terms that there's this knowing look. And actually now I think about it, I think. Involved in N CTL in law school didn't even know what it was. And then when I got into private practice, I needed some CLE. And I remember going down to ocean Creek and seeing.
I always tell the story. If I, Wade bird rolls in and his linen and saw Mr. Thorpe dancing that saying dance like you don't care or no, one's watching. And I thought I could, I get this group. And that was that ocean Creek was such a fun time and I got a year's supply of highlighters and. Marketers and pens.
There was a lot of the kids nowadays called swag, but there was so much swag. And I had been in my own practice that I didn't have any of those things. So I'd go and talk to all the vendors which actually then established relationships. So vendors, if you go to NCAA, give swag, that's how you get people to your table.
My mother attended a number of those conventions over the years and she would go visit all of the vendors. So she would end up with more swag than I did because they would all, and they would say, Hey, make sure you give this to your mother. that's great. I met neat people. I met Barry, she in an elevator, he was friends with the David Freeman and some of the guys, some people from court TV, and the speakers were always in.
Excellent. And back in ocean Creek, if y'all don't know where that is, it's in, I guess it's technically north Myrtle beach. It was a little bit different feel. And I'm looking forward to we're having our convention this year in Charlotte. And if you are an NCAA member, please come to convention. And if you're not an N NCAA member, I'm gonna ask you.
Why are you not an NCH member? And so not only have you been active NCH, but you were the president of the bar association, which is, I know what the pipeline is like to get an NCH. I cannot imagine how much more complicated, how much more you've had to do for the bar association. And you did some of it at the same time.
So how did you get involved with the bar association? A member of N NCAA, Melinda Lawrence called me and asked me to serve on when I was a puppy lawyer. Asked me to serve on the North Carolina bar association litigation section council. And at the time I was so dimwitted, I didn't know the distinction between the bar association and the state bar.
The state bar is the disciplinary arm. Whereas the bar association is a voluntary organization, does continue education. And I knew Melinda's reputation. I'm like, wow, this is really great. This gal's calling me. And I said, help me understand why this would be a good thing for me to. And she said a sentence that I will never forget for the entirety of my life, which is I never left a meeting.
I didn't come out a better lawyer. And that has been true for me for N NCAA in the NCBA that the richness of the people that you need, the interesting things that you're trying to conquer, particularly like legislative issues that are happening or difficult practice areas that sort of started my road with the bar Associa.
And then for both the bar association and the N NCAA, it is not something that you run for you. Don't politic , there's not the kind of typical election. And there's a difference in how the presidents are selected. There's a nominating committee and a lot of difference given to the current president on who the president elect should be for the North Carolina advocates for justice, N CJ.
But for the North Carolina bar association, the past presidents choose the presidential nominee. So you end up in a room or on zoom with all of the past presidents arguing about. Who would be the best person to come in line for the bar association. And the bar association is much more inclusive in the types of practice areas that are covered.
And so the things that I got to accomplish with NCAA a little bit different with what I got to do with the N C B, but both of them have greatly enriched the fun I get to have as being a lawyer. And the truth is I love what I do and. Wouldn't trade it for anything. I was thinking I've been on, I have N NCAA people coming to my office here shortly and going to an N NCAA sidebar social at a local bar tonight.