Judge Gale Joins Haiti Effort
The next chapter in the North Carolina Bar Association’s effort to bolster economic conditions in Haiti will be written this month when a delegation featuring Chief Judge James L. “Jim” Gale of the N.C. Business Court visits the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.
Judge Gale will be in Haiti on May 15-18 to attend a conference being held at the Supreme Court of Haiti in Port-au-Prince. Chief Justice Jules Cantave will preside and Haiti’s minister of justice (attorney general) will attend. Gale’s presentation will focus on the importance of written adjudication and precedents in a stable business economy and will take place on Wednesday afternoon, May 16.
“I am excited about going,” said Gale, whose court is based in Greensboro at the Elon University School of Law. “I am apprehensive in some respects, which is to be expected when you’re traveling for the first time to a new culture, but I am looking forward to being there and participating in this important program.”
Gale has never been to Haiti, but he is well aware of the NCBA’s involvement there, which dates back to 2016 when incoming President Kearns Davis invited leaders from the Haiti and Port-au-Prince bar associations to attend the NCBA Annual Meeting. The NCBA subsequently sent a delegation, including several representatives from Elon Law, to participate in an economic investment conference in 2017.
Davis will also attend and address the upcoming conference.
“Kearns and I know each other well,” Gale said, “and with my chambers here at Elon, I became aware of the bar association’s outreach effort, and I am glad to assist. I knew of the Haiti situation through the church I belonged to in Raleigh and my church now here in Greensboro, and just never had the chance to go.
“But I very much enjoy outreach, and enjoyed meeting some of the folks from Haiti when they would come to Raleigh. I’ve always thought the outreach of the bar was a wonderful thing.”
Gale is no stranger to outreach such as this, having spoken on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Bahrain on the concepts of business courts there and in other Middle East countries. He also chairs the Business Courts Subcommittee of the ABA Business Law Section.
Gale was appointed to the Business Court in March 2011 by Gov. Perdue. He practiced for 34 years with Smith Moore Leatherwood, originally in Greensboro beginning in 1976 and in Raleigh from 1984 until he joined the court.
Gale has been a member of the NCBA throughout his career, which began in 1974. He is a graduate of Eckerd College and the University of Georgia School of Law.
In addition to the upcoming conference, the NCBA will again be hosting bar leaders from Haiti at the upcoming Annual Meeting in Wilmington, and the Young Lawyers Division will host a group of young lawyers from Haiti in September.