CAI’s Common Ground Article on Jim Slaughter

The most recent Common Ground from the Community Associations Institute includes an interview with Law Firm Carolinas’ partner Jim Slaughter following his Don Buck Award recognition. The article includes Jim’s thoughts on proposed HOA/condo legislation, what Board members and owners often forget about community associations, and the need for Board members and homeowners who appreciate their associations to better communicate that message.  The one-page article can be found at https://lsc-pagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=20613&i=819074&p=62&ver=html5.

Who Was Robert and Why Do his Rules Rule?

Originally appeared as Who Was Robert and Why Do his Rules Rule? from the May 23, 2023 Presbyterian Outlook. As an attorney and professional parliamentarian, I’m sometimes asked, “Who was Robert and why do his rules rule?” It’s a timely question. Henry Martyn Robert, the original author of Robert’ Rule of Order, died 100 years ago on May 11, 1923. Since that time, versions of his parliamentary manual have come to dominate meetings. While other parliamentary manuals are available, Robert’s Rules of Order is the 800-pound gorilla of the parliamentary world. It is the most popular and easiest-to-locate book on meeting procedure. Most … Continue reading

Jim Slaughter Receives Lifetime Contribution Award for Association Work

Law Firm Carolinas’ partner Jim Slaughter received the Don Buck Lifetime Contribution Award at the recent 2024 Community Association Law Seminar in Las Vegas. The award recognizes attorneys who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the community association industry. Jim is a past President of the national College of Community Association Lawyers as well as the North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. He has written four books on association meeting procedure, including the recent Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track. Here’s a recent announcement from the Community Associations Institute on the Award. Jim Slaughter presented with the Don Buck … Continue reading

Why the Chair Never Asks “Is There Any Old Business?” (HINT: Because There’s No Such Thing)

At some point in some board meeting, you’re like to hear a presiding officer ask, “Is there any Old Business?” and wait for a reply. It’s intended as an opportunity for members to raise issue that were addressed at an earlier meeting. The problem with this question is twofold: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “OLD BUSINESS“ Whether your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition) or some other parliamentary manual, there’s no category of business named “Old Business.” The proper term for business that carries over from the prior meeting is “Unfinished Business.” The difference is … Continue reading

Taylor Swift and Robert’s Rules?

What do Taylor Swift and Robert’s Rules of Order have in common? Likely not much. However, both were highlighted in the “Top Ten 2023 Outlook Stories” from The Presbyterian Outlook, the magazine of the Presbyterian Church (USA). “What Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Taught Me about Church” made the list. So did “Who Was Robert and Why Do His Rules Rule?” If you’re curious, the list and full articles can be found at Top 10 Outlook Stories of 2023. Want to learn more about Robert’s Rules of Order and proper meeting procedure? Then check out my two most recent books! Both … Continue reading

New Release: AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, SECOND Edition

If your organization follows The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (often referred to as “Sturgis”), or the AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, or you simply want to learn more about parliamentary practices at meetings, there’s a new book to check out: the American Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Second Edition. Stay with me here for some necessary background– Originally by Alice Sturgis, The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure was first released in 1950 as a simpler alternative to the Robert’s Rules of Order of its time. The Standard Code had fewer motions, updated archaic terms, modernized … Continue reading

5 Law Firm Carolinas Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America

Five attorneys at Law Firm Carolinas have been named to the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Carole Albright, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, has been recognized in the practice of Family Law. Keith Black, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, has been recognized in the practices of Family Law and Family Law Mediation. Steven Black, who is a Board Certified Specialist in Residential Real Estate, has been recognized in the practice of Real Estate Law and Community Association (HOA and condo) Law. Jim Slaughter has been recognized in the practices … Continue reading

Parliamentarian Pro Tips: Assisting Large Meetings

Large annual meetings and conventions create special demands on the parliamentarian. For example, numerous business items may move very quickly with lightning speed. The large audience and attendees milling about make it difficult to see who wishes to be recognized to speak. Votes by voice or even standing can be hard to judge, and the organization may not have electronic voting capabilities. Larger crowds gathered in one place create problems that are not present in smaller board or membership meetings. That said, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised and other parliamentary manuals tend to focus more on meeting procedure than … Continue reading

Can Boards Make Decisions By Email?

Recently, a question came up on a national nonprofit list serve about whether boards can and/or should make decisions through unanimous consent by email. Here was my response.   “Since this is a national question and I’m only licensed in North Carolina, what follows is not specific legal advice. Instead, let me provide a general discussion based on my many years of assisting boards as a parliamentarian and attorney. Most states have adopted some version of the model Nonprofit Corporation Act from the American Bar Association. The most recent is the Fourth Edition, but few states have moved to that. Membership … Continue reading

Meister, Slaughter & Marshall Recognized

Law Firm Carolinas Partner Adam Marshall was a presenter at the Community Association Institute’s (CAI) 2023 Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. The conference was attended by over 2,600 community managers, homeowner board members, leaders and business partners from 44 states and 10 countries. Marshall and Augustus Shaw, IV, Esq. of Arizona, presented on “Navigating Board Officer Responsibilities and Avoiding Conflict.” Marshall was also recently appointed by the Greensboro City Council to the Greensboro ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) Board. Marshall has previously served on the Greensboro Human Relations Commission and Greensboro Board of Adjustment as well as Chair of the Greensboro Zoning Commission and … Continue reading

NC Bar Journal Article on Meeting Procedure & Robert’s Rules of Order

In case it’s of interest, the article “Robert’s Rules of Order: An Interview” appears in the most recent NC State Bar Journal (Spring 2023). The article, by Executive Director Alice Neece Mine, covers what lawyers should know about meeting procedure, why Robert’s is still relevant today, changes in the new Robert’s, virtual and hybrid meeting procedures, common mistakes about meeting procedure, tips for keeping meetings short and productive, and more. As a reminder, both the NC Planned Community Act and NC Condominium Act require that unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, association and board meetings must “be conducted in accordance … Continue reading

Parliamentary Lawyers Program – RECORDING

Due to the strong interest in last week’s “Author Chat,” the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers has made the recorded program available online. The free program includes a discussion of my latest books, changes in the new Robert’s Rules of Order, different parliamentary manuals (and why they are important), parliamentarians, some parliamentary history, and more.  The program can be found at:ACPL Author Chat with Jim Slaughter A copy of the original announcement follows. ACPL Educational Webinar – “Author Chat with Attorney & Parliamentarian Jim Slaughter” The American College of Parliamentary Lawyers is hosting our first free educational webinar for any … Continue reading

Parliamentary Authorities: Robert’s Rules of Order vs Sturgis vs The AIP Standard Code

In my work as an attorney, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, and Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher, I work with quite a few different parliamentary manuals. That’s because different organizations use different books as their procedural guide for membership and board meetings. I’m often asked about differences, so here’s a guide to the three parliamentary books most likely to be encountered. (If more information is needed, my Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition goes into greater detail as well as compares specific practices between the books.) A “parliamentary authority” is a book on meeting procedure an organization follows because of a state … Continue reading

Reviews Are in for New Parliamentary Procedure Books!

The reviewing side of Publisher’s Weekly recently posted great reviews of my latest books, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. Each was also selected as an “Editor’s Pick,” which is described as “a book of outstanding quality.” Because the reviews are on a scrolling site (with latest reviews on top), the reviews are reprinted below. Read these and other reviews at Latest Reviews. Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track: The Brief and Easy Guide to Parliamentary Procedure for the Modern Meeting Crisp, clear, and always on-point, Slaughter’s “fast track” guide to … Continue reading

What Can Members Vote on at an HOA or Condo Membership Meeting?

A question came up during a recent online discussion about “what members can do at an HOA or condo membership meeting?” Specifically, the questioner wondered if a member could seek recognition and unexpectedly make a motion to “make the association do most anything.” It’s a good question, and one we community association lawyers spend time analyzing. Hate to say, “It depends,” but facts matters. This is not a question that can be answered in a vacuum without specifics. State statutes and governing documents (usually the bylaws or articles of incorporation) vary as to what authority the membership has versus the … Continue reading

Board of Directors vs. Officers: How to Tell the Difference

What is the difference between the Board of Directors and corporate Officers?  In the community association world there can be some confusion regarding these distinct corporate roles because they can often be the same individuals. However, if we take a step back we can see that they are actually very distinct roles. Here is some guidance as to North Carolina distinctions. Duties: Board members are tasked with guiding the direction of the corporation. They set the broader vision for the corporation. For example, the Board would be responsible for adopting corporate resolutions, rules and regulations, and other policies and procedures … Continue reading

Best Practices for Board Meeting Minutes

A question came up during a recent online discussion about “best practices” for board meeting minutes. The answer to questions of what should (or should not) be included in minutes is more complicated than it seems. This article will give a broad answer, but I have to mention there are chapters in both my recent books, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition, on what to include (or not) in minutes, approving minutes, changing minutes after the fact, handling closed/executive session meeting minutes, as well as model minutes templates and skeletal minutes (writing minutes before … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order in US Court of Appeals Decision

This case mentioning Robert’s Rules of Order appeared in the “Roberts Rules in the News” page of my parliamentary website at www.jimslaughter.com. The decision is a bit of a unicorn. While many news articles mention Robert’s and meetings issues, few court cases do. (Court decisions that make it to published appellate decisions tend to go on for longer and cost more money than most meetings disputes warrant.) Far fewer federal court opinions deal with Robert’s disputes, and this is from a U.S. Court of Appeals, which is shockingly rare. So even though the decision may not be that significant to … Continue reading

Book Review: Run, Don’t Walk, to Buy Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

Ann Macfarlane, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian in Seattle who works with many local governments and is author of Mastering Council Meetings: A Guidebook for Elected Officials and Local Governments, published the following review of Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track on her website: Reader, I am over the moon about Jim Slaughter’s new book, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track. This brief, affordable and funny guidebook will give you the tools to apply Robert’s Rules immediately and effectively. Jim’s humor and focus kept me reading with enjoyment, underlining key phrases, and dotting the text with exclamation points. Jim starts the first chapter, … Continue reading