Rules of Practice Amended to Allow Parental Leave for Attorneys
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced that the Supreme Court has amended the rules of practice for North Carolina lawyers to make parental leave available for attorneys practicing in North Carolina courts. The announcement was made at a press conference at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh.
The announcement comes just weeks after the Judicial Branch announced its new policy providing up to eight weeks of paid parental leave for employees of the court system.
“Strengthening families and supporting children is such an important part of the work of our courts,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “It is with great pleasure and in that spirit that we are taking steps to ensure that new parents who work in our courts are able to take time to bond with their new children.”
The rule changes make it possible for North Carolina attorneys to designate up to 12 weeks without court appearances when a child is born or adopted. The Supreme Court amended Rule 26 of the General Rules of Practice and Rule 33.1 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure during its conference in September. Under both rules, an attorney is allowed three weeks of secured leave in a calendar year for any purpose, and 12 additional weeks that can be taken in the 24 weeks after the birth or adoption of the attorney’s child. A “secure-leave period” is one complete calendar week that is designated by an attorney during which the trial courts and the appellate courts will not hold a proceeding in any of the attorney’s cases.
Chief Justice Beasley was joined at the press conference by Kim Crouch, executive director of North Carolina Advocates for Justice. The Advocates proposed the change in support of extended leave for attorneys in North Carolina, and the change was endorsed by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.