News & Announcements

Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 27 of the firm’s attorneys have been named to the 2014 Super Lawyers Business Edition, an annual guide to the nation’s top business law firms and attorneys.

Bob Singer, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, was recently named to the board of directors for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). Singer is one of 17 business leaders from across the state appointed to the board, which will hold its first meeting on November 21.

Bill Cary, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, presented a report on alternatives to shoreline hardening at the 2014 National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, held November 1 to November 6 in Washington, D.C.

Brooks Pierce has been named a “Highly Recommended” law firm in North Carolina in the 2015 edition of Benchmark Litigation, the only publication to focus exclusively on litigation firms and attorneys. In addition to the firm-wide ranking, eight Brooks Pierce partners were named either a “Local Litigation Star” or a “Future Star.”

Four Brooks Pierce partners will speak about some of the top legal issues facing digital marketing at the 2014 Internet Summit, being held November 11 – 13 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Digital marketing and media attorneys Stephen Hartzell, Charles Marshall, Elizabeth Spainhour and Thomas Varnum will present alongside top industry leaders, including Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak and top executives from companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, ESPN, Google and Yahoo.

Law firm Brooks Pierce, which has a deep media and entertainment practice, is pleased to sponsor the 20th annual Cucalorus Film Festival, being held November 12 – 16 in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. Thomas Varnum, a partner in the firm’s Wilmington office, serves on the Cucalorus board of trustees.

Brooks Pierce Partner Nicole Crawford has been selected to speak alongside Guilford College President Jane Fernandes at the upcoming “Di(ver)sabilities in Business” forum, being held Wednesday, November 12, at Guilford College in Greensboro.

Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 32 of its practice areas received tier-one metropolitan rankings in the 2015 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” Twenty-five of the firm’s practice areas received a tier-one ranking in Greensboro, and seven practice areas received a tier-one ranking in Raleigh.

Brooks Pierce attorney Justin Outling was recently elected chairman of the Greensboro Minimum Housing Standards Commission.

Brooks Pierce partner David Sar was one of three presenters who spoke at a CLE on October 9th.  Sar discussed IP issues relevant to craft brewers and those in the brewing business.

Brooks Pierce has hired three new professionals to direct key areas within the growing firm: Gail Cutter as recruiting director, Laura Hudson as marketing director and Teresa Plunkett as director of information technology.

Triad Business Journal

On October 3rd, Triad Business Journal published an article about patent trolls by Katie Arciera quoting Brooks Pierce partner David Sar.

Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that six attorneys have been selected to become partners (owners) in the firm: Eric David, Clint Morse, Joey Ponzi, David Smyth, Thomas Varnum and Ed West.

Brooks Pierce Partner Coe W. Ramsey will speak at the 2014 World of Bluegrass event hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 30 – October 4.

Ramsey will serve as a panelist at a session titled “The Big Negotiation: The Nitty Gritty of Contracts and Riders” on Sept. 30. The interactive discussion will explore the complexities of contracts and riders and discuss what individuals can do, either as a presenter, venue operator or performer, to minimize their liability and maximize the odds that both parties are satisfied with the agreement.

Brooks Pierce Partner Charles Marshall has been selected to speak at the Agio Cyber Security Incident Response Luncheon on Wednesday, October 1, at Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Marshall, alongside FBI Special Agent Devon Ackerman and Agio CEO Bart McDonough, will lead an in-depth discussion on cyber security for top business leaders in the Triad and the surrounding area.

Brooks Pierce Partner Stephen Hartzell served as a panelist at the 2014 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) District II Regional Conference in Boone, North Carolina, September 26-27. 

Hartzell led a session titled “UAS in the USA: The Regulatory Climate’s Commercial Freeze.” The discussion looked at the regulatory climate of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, including North Carolina’s recently adopted legislation and its implications for the use of drones by broadcasters for newsgathering, promotions and other purposes.

Brooks Pierce will host an event for the members of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) on Wednesday, September 24 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the firm’s Greensboro office. The keynote speakers, Brooks Pierce Partners Charles Marshall and David Sar, will highlight potential legal pitfalls that companies may face when conducting digital media or marketing operations.

Brooks Pierce partner Ed Turlington spoke at a joint meeting of the Boards of Directors of the NC Technology Association and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) on September 16 in Raleigh. The meeting was part of CED’s Tech Venture Conference 2014, which was attended by 700 information technology leaders and entrepreneurs from throughout the Southeast.

National Law Journal

On September 8, 2014, the National Law Journal published an article written by Brooks Pierce attorneys Darrell A. Fruth and Andrew Rodenbough addressing new weapons to combat so-called “patent trolls.”  The article identifies new strategies that savvy companies across the country are adopting to respond to patent demand letters and patent infringement lawsuits.

At its September meeting at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, the War Memorial Commission unanimously elected Brooks Pierce Partner Reid Phillips as its new chairman. 

A September 2, 2014,  Inside Counsel article by Amanda Ciccatelli featured the perspective of intellectual property attorney Darrell A. Fruth on recent developments in state and federal patent law and what they mean for businesses in North Carolina.

Chris McClure, a government relations and policy advisor in the Raleigh office of Brooks Pierce, was recently ranked in the top 4 percent of the Most Influential Lobbyists registered in the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2013 legislative session. The state has 742 registered lobbyists.

Brooks Pierce partner Ed Turlington spoke at the NC Digital Government Summit on August 28 in Raleigh. The Summit was attended by over 250 information technology leaders from state and local government in North Carolina. Turlington’s presentation was entitled “10 Things That IT Leaders Should Know about the 2014 Legislative Session.”

In the August 22nd print edition of the Triangle Business Journal, reporter Lauren K. Ohnesorge includes comments from Raleigh attorney Stephen Hartzell for insight regarding the current status of drones in North Carolina.

The North Carolina General Assembly has completed its 2014 session. During this “short session,” Legislators focused primarily on adjusting the second year of the State budget enacted last year, but also considered a number of other important issues. 

In the August 20th Triangle Business Journal TechFlash Blog, reporter Lauren K. Ohnesorge calls on Raleigh attorney Stephen Hartzell for insight regarding the current status of drones in North Carolina.

The 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© recognized 46 Brooks Pierce attorneys as industry leaders. Nine of the 46 attorneys were also named Best Lawyers® 2015 "Lawyers of the Year" in Greensboro for their respective practice areas. This honor is awarded to one attorney per practice area in each metropolitan area.

Kearns Davis, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, was recently named to the Greensboro Police Foundation board of directors.

Brooks Pierce attorney Stephen Hartzell is closely following the developments in law related to unmanned aerial vehicles- more popularly known as drones.  Stephen has been quoted in an article called “Keeping an eye out:  New NC law regulates drone use” written by Amanda Lehmert of the News & Record.

Mary’s House, a Greensboro nonprofit that provides housing and support services for homeless mothers recovering from substance abuse and their children, has received a critical financial boost as part of an agreement to end a years-long legal battle with the state of North Carolina over the right of Mary’s House to receive federal funds. The disputed funds are a part of the former federal Emergency Shelters Grant Program, which provided money to states specifically to help support individuals and families coping with homelessness. The program is administered in North Carolina by the state Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS).

Mark J. Prak, a partner in the law firm Brooks Pierce, was inducted into the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Hall of Fame at a dinner held as a part of the NCAB 2014 Annual Convention on June 23rdat the Washington Duke Inn and Conference Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Insider Trading, Investigations, SEC Litigation

You don’t see this every day. On Friday, the SEC filed a subpoena enforcement action seeking production of documents from the House Ways and Means Committee and documents and testimony from one of its staff members, Brian Sutter. This is fascinating to me for so many reasons. The almost certainly unhappy respondents in this case haven’t yet responded in writing, so the factual details in this blog come from the SEC’s supporting brief. They may not be true.

Seven Brooks Pierce practice areas and 15 of the firm’s attorneys are ranked among the best in North Carolina in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. The listing of the leading lawyers and law firms in the country is published annually by Chambers and Partners.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized Brooks Pierce partner George House for his role in the cleanup and redevelopment of the Landia Chemical Company Superfund Site in Lakeland, Florida.

Kearns Davis, a partner with Brooks Pierce, was recently appointed to the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission.

Jeff Oleynik, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, serves as the current president of the Law Firm Alliance and recently led the semi-annual meeting held at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

James T. Williams, Jr., a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, recently received the Distinguished Service Award from the Greensboro Bar Association.

Five new members have recently joined the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a national organization advocating for the responsible sourcing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of residential furnishings.

On March 6, 2014, Brooks Pierce attorney Darrell Fruth presented a guest lecture to students in Duke Law School’s Start-up Ventures Clinic.

Four Brooks Pierce attorneys (Jill Wilson, Bob King, Julia Ambrose, and Jennifer Van Zant) recently scored two precedent-setting victories in ongoing litigation involving charter school funding. These cases are expected to help further clarify the roles and responsibilities of local school boards when it comes to financing charter schools (private schools which receive public funding).   

Here’s one of the questions I get from some individual clients when they receive subpoenas from the SEC: Could I get arrested over this? Well, no. First things first – The SEC has civil authority, not criminal authority. Unless the Justice Department or some state criminal authority gets involved, you’re not going to be arrested. But Anthony Coronati may make me modify this answer.

Thomas Varnum, an attorney in the Wilmington office of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP has recently joined the Board of Trustees for Cucalorus.

Here are two things about insider trading law: First, it’s hard to know exactly what the parameters are. The United States doesn’t have a specific statute prohibiting it. It grows out of the general anti-fraud provisions of the Exchange Act and the Securities Act, but the SEC and the courts over the years have outlined what insider trading is and how far one can go in that sphere. Second, it’s not impossible to know what the parameters are. Clues are out there in the form of court cases and, for settled matters, complaints filed by the SEC in federal courts.

One such complaint was filed last Thursday in the Northern District of Georgia. In the litigation release for that complaint, we learn that on November 13 and 14, 2012, Hao He bought $162,000 of short-term put options in Sina Corporation. On November 15, Sina announced it had beaten analyst forecasts for third quarter earnings, but also announced unexpected negative guidance for the fourth quarter of 2012. As a result of this negative guidance, Sina’s stock price declined approximately 8.5%, opening at $48.60 compared to the previous day’s close of $53.10. The next day, He sold all of his put options for $331,530, generating illicit profits of $169,819. Okay, fine. But why was this illegal?

Business North Carolina magazine publishes annually the “Legal Elite,” lawyers throughout the state who are rated best in their fields. In 2014, 24 Brooks Pierce attorneys were named to the list.

Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 39 lawyers, representing 46% of the firm’s attorneys, were recently recognized by North Carolina Super Lawyers.

The inaugural Wade H. Hargrove Communications Law and Policy Colloquium recently presented by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School and School of Mass Communications was televised nationally by cable and satellite on C-SPAN.

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is pleased to announce that four attorneys have recently been selected to become the newest partners of the firm. These exemplary lawyers are Anna Pond McLamb, D.J. O’Brien, Charn Reid and Adam Tarleton.

North Carolina has rewritten its Limited Liability Company Act. New Chapter 57D replaced old Chapter 57C effective January 1, 2014. Brooks Pierce partner Mark Davidson summarizes the more important changes in this client alert.

On November 25, 2013, the NC State Bar Board of Legal Specialization certified Brooks Pierce Partner David Sar as a “Specialist” in Trademark Law. North Carolina’s Trademark specialty is the first such specialty in the United States, and David was selected in the first, or inaugural, class of trademark specialists.