What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?
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This was last month’s riddle and answer:
What has a head and a tail, but no body?
RELANC: The Little Engine That Could
Those of you who have been reading our Newsletter know that for several years now, I have been extolling the virtues of RELANC. For those of you unaware, RELANC stands for the Real Estate Lawyers Association of North Carolina. For lack of a better description, RELANC is a trade association, consisting of “Dirt” Lawyers who are acutely attuned to the issues that impact real estate law and the consumers of legal real estate services. For more information about RELANC, visit this website www.relanc.com. Annual membership in RELANC costs $200. Let me share an anecdote with you that will demonstrate why membership in RELANC is the best $200 you will spend this year.
Many of you are aware that the NC State Bar has been in a protracted legal battle with LegalZoom (hereinafter referred to as “LZ”). For those unaware of LZ and its business model, LZ purports to be a provider of “legal forms.” Now, Legal Forms have existed for a long time and are not illegal in this State, however the way that LZ goes about it has caused conflict with State Bars across the country. LZ’s website produces forms through a question and answer “decision tree”. So, the Consumer answers a series of questions, at the end of which a legal document is created. I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me an awful lot like the practice of law. For years, the NC State Bar agreed that LZ was engaged in the practice of law. Consequently, a lawsuit was filed by LZ challenging the State Bar’s position. After several years, LZ and the State Bar reached a settlement. (Interestingly enough that settlement was reached after LZ sued, in their individual capacities, multiple Bar Councillors and Staff Members of the NC State Bar. . .but, I digress). The Settlement called for a change to the State’s Unauthorized Practice Statute (N.C.G.S. Chapter 84) which essentially made LZ’s business model legal. RELANC vehemently opposed the law and was successful in delaying the passage of the law in 2015 despite support for the Bill by both the NC State Bar and the NC Bar Association. After the Legislative Session ended in 2015, RELANC went to work to try and stop the passage of the bill.
To say that RELANC was met with opposition to its efforts is a vast understatement. Foremost in its opposition was the State Bar. The State Bar had its reasons for why it supported the legislation and while respectful of those reasons, RELANC simply did not agree that a statutory change was an appropriate settlement to a litigation, particularly where one of the Litigants was seeking to change the law for the purposes of “legalizing” its business practices. Before too long, it became apparent that our efforts to stop the passage of the law were going to fail. So, RELANC shifted gears and, while continuing to voice its vehement opposition to the law, began pressing the State Bar to make revisions to the law that would protect consumers of real estate services in North Carolina. RELANC was told at multiple times, by multiple persons and entities, including the State Bar, that revisions to the statute were “IMPOSSIBLE.” Notwithstanding those attempts to dissuade us to give up, RELANC pressed on.
On June 30, 2016, the “LegalZoom” bill was enacted into law. However, the law was enacted with some tweaks that were instigated by RELANC. While LZ’s business model, including its decision tree software, is now recognized as not being the practice of law, LZ is prohibited from providing any services that entail abstracting real estate titles. Additionally, LZ is not legally able to draft Deeds for its customers. These are SIGNIFICANT changes to the law that protect the consumers of real estate legal services in this State. These revisions to the law would not have been made if not for RELANC’s efforts. Most significantly, these revisions to the statute were made after RELANC was told that any revisions to the proposed law were IMPOSSIBLE. The Little Engine That Could indeed.
An achievement of this significance and magnitude was made through the efforts of a handful of real estate attorneys representing a group consisting of approximately 350 Members. Just think of what we could achieve with an even greater talent pool and with the weight of several thousand members behind us. RELANC is a testament that, if we try, we can effectuate change. Come join me as an agent of change. JOIN RELANC NOW!
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REPAM CLE & Happy Hour photos!!!
Meet the newest addition to our family:
Finn is a 9-week-old Goldendoodle. He loves playing tug and is Izzy’s new best friend! Finn is also known as Finnie-pop, Finnie Winnie Boo Boo Bear, the Finnmeister, the Finninator, and the Finnster. Welcome to the family Finn!
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