Grand Opening of the New North Carolina State Bar Building

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The North Carolina State Bar Hosts Grand Opening Celebration for its New Building

RALEIGH, NC (April 17, 2013) – The North Carolina State Bar, the state agency responsible for regulating the practice of law in North Carolina, hosted a grand opening celebration this evening for its new headquarters located in the southwest corner of Blount and Edenton Streets, one block south of North Carolina’s Executive Mansion. Guests and media had an opportunity to tour the new State Bar headquarters.

As part of the program, special remarks were delivered by Chief Justice Sarah Parker, NC State Bar Foundation Chairman John B. McMillan and NC State Bar President M. Keith Kapp. A ribbon-cutting was held prior to the reception.

The Need for the New Building
As the North Carolina economy has grown over the last twenty years, the legal profession has grown with it. There are now over 25,000 lawyers in the state, and that number is expected to double in the next twenty years.

“These lawyers must be highly trained, rigorously licensed and carefully monitored to ensure that they provide legal services of the highest quality to the citizens, governments and businesses of our state,” said Kapp. “The State Bar needs personnel and facilities to keep pace with the growth of the legal profession.”

In recent years, it became evident that the old headquarters on Fayetteville Street had become cramped and outdated, and was unable to accommodate the staff necessary to service a burgeoning lawyer population and a regulatory program that had become greatly diversified.

Over six years ago, the State Bar’s leadership began the search for a new home near the seat of government that would be large enough to accommodate current operations as well as projected growth. Many alternatives were considered, including expansion of the building the agency then occupied and adaptive reuse of other existing downtown buildings, but nothing in the marketplace was appropriate. Finally, the Governor and the Council of State were persuaded that a state-owned parking lot in the block just south of the Governor’s Mansion—within two blocks of the Capitol, the Legislative Building, the Supreme Court and what will be the State’s new Visitors’ Center—would be the perfect location for the State Bar’s new headquarters, and agreed to lease the property to the State Bar. The new facility is now an integral part of the State government complex in downtown Raleigh.

At a cost of approximately $17 million, the new headquarters building contains a total of 60,000 sq. ft. on four floors. Funds for the building came from proceeds from the sale of the State Bar’s present building, existing reserves, the NC State Bar Foundation’s capital campaign, and a loan from First Citizens Bank and Trust Company. No state funds were spent on the project and no dues increase for the lawyers in the state is anticipated.

Capital Campaign to Support the New Building
The NC State Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation formed in 2010, exists for the sole purpose of raising funds for the new building. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is made up of seven past presidents of the State Bar from across the state. The Foundation’s campaign was chaired by Irvin W. Hankins of Charlotte and Barbara B. Weyher of Raleigh, two of the Foundation’s trustees. In anticipation of this effort, the Foundation sought and received approval from the state’s Ethics Commission for the solicitation of contributions from lawyers and law firms. The Foundation operates independently from the State Bar.

With a lead gift of $500,000 from the North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification, a campaign to raise $2.5 million commenced in early 2012. By the end of 2012, the Foundation had exceeded this goal. Thus far, the Foundation has raised over $3 million. “The most gratifying aspect of the campaign was the enthusiastic participation of the lawyers who know best the work of the State Bar,” said McMillan.

The funds raised by the Foundation have made possible state of the art technology and energy efficiency, leading to an anticipated LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. In addition, Foundation funds have been used to beautify the building and enhance the experience of it for visitors and employees.

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