CAI Pre-Paid Legal Services Plan
Now Included in Membership
To take our workplace compliance advice and support to the next level, CAI members will now receive employment law advice from experienced attorneys in our pre-paid legal services plan as part of your CAI membership dues. Services are provided by independent, local, licensed NC attorneys assigned to serve CAI members in an open-ended, no-extra-fee environment.
CAI Members will now receive:
Our Advice and Resolution team has ended confusion over conflicting HR rules and principles for decades. We can now provide services through the Plan at a new level. When an issue requires legal advice, you will be seamlessly referred to an attorney serving the CAI Plan. Our goal is time-saving, efficient resolution of 75% of your employment law needs right now by independent attorneys located inside our office.
Frequently Asked Questions and Description of Plan Services:
- What is the CAI PPLSP (Pre-Paid Legal Services Plan)? It is a method authorized by the NC State Bar to provide CAI member organizations with pre-paid legal services on foundational employment law questions and needs. Legal services are provided by a third party law firm not related to CAI, but paid for by CAI through this Plan. The Plan is registered with the NC State Bar.*
- Tell me about the attorneys servicing this Plan. Attorney services under this Plan are provided by attorneys with the Raleigh-based law firm of Soule Employment Law Firm, owned and managed by Mimi Soule, JD. Prior to establishing her own practice, Mimi practiced with a commercial litigation firm in Durham (Hedrick Murray) with a national law firm in Washington, D.C. in its labor and employment practice group (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.) and with Ice Miller, LLP in its Raleigh office (d/b/a SZD Wicker). Mimi is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Boston University School of Law. Mimi’s philosophy toward client service matches well with CAI and our members.
- Why won’t CAI just hire staff attorneys and provide the service directly? We would like to do so, but NC law prohibits most corporations (including a nonprofit like CAI) from providing such services directly. We believe this law is unconstitutional and anti-competitive, and we have filed suit to change the law. If our challenge is successful, we will terminate this Pre-Paid Plan and use staff attorneys to provide these and additional services in the future. In the meantime, we will follow current law and rules, of course.
- What kinds of services will Plan attorneys provide for no additional charge? CAI already provides members unlimited consultation with our HR professionals. These Plan Attorneys will provide unlimited telephone-based legal advice in a very similar way. They will also customize legal templates to help you resolve employment law matters such as separation and release agreements. They will help you understand claims and charges filed against you, and your options. They will give opinions on employee handbook provisions. Their advice is limited to North Carolina and federal employment law matters.
- What kinds of services are not provided by the Plan? Matters that take extended, custom work such as handling an EEOC charge, drafting lengthy original agreements, resolving an NLRB or USDOL investigation, handling litigation and other time intensive work are not included.
- Will the Plan support my in-house corporate attorneys with unlimited employment law advice? Yes. An advantage of this Plan is support for corporate attorneys who have an employment law matter in-house and need to advise their client without incurring outside fees.
- Do you really mean open-ended, unlimited advice? Yes, we do. Unless a member’s usage is very high compared to others, we place no limits, just like we handle our current HR Advice and Resolution services.
- Do I still need my current outside employment lawyers? Yes! CAI’s aim is to provide the regular support you need to resolve everyday workplace issues and confusion. The Plan’s prepaid benefit does not provide case specific work such as handling the investigation of an EEOC charge and drafting the position letter. The Plan does not provide counsel for sub-topics in employment law such as ERISA and benefits law, tax matters, workers’ compensation defense or visas and immigration. Plan Attorneys will not litigate cases in court or agencies for you.
- Will Plan attorneys do fee-for-service work that exceeds the scope of the Plan benefit? Yes, they will if you request the work and if they agree to provide the work. CAI is not involved in billing for the work and will not share in any part of the revenue. CAI’s role is to set the maximum hourly rate for the work to an agreed, member-friendly below market rate.
- Is my conversation with a Plan Attorney protected by the attorney-client privilege? Yes, like any lawyer-client conversation, if the conversation meets the standard for that privilege and the client maintains its confidentiality.
- Will anything about my request for legal advice be shared with CAI? Yes. In order to monitor effectiveness, Plan Attorneys will report how much time they spent with each Member and a broad category for the topic involved, such as “Wage and Hour.” No details or specifics will be shared with CAI. Plan Attorneys will obtain your consent to this limited reporting before providing legal services.
- How will the confidentiality of my legal issues be safeguarded? All legal questions and answers are recorded separately from CAI’s member database by Plan attorneys on a system they provide. Plan attorneys will have private, lockable offices at CAI. Also, internal rules at CAI prevent sharing confidential legal matters with non-attorneys. Only authorized representatives of active member companies can request legal advice on behalf of their company.
- I get all I need now from CAI’s Advice and Resolution team. Why would I want this? We believe most calls to learn about the rules, understand the regulations and to discuss a course of action will still happen in our HR Advice and Resolution team. The Plan Attorneys are here to help you take the next step or provide sensitive, confidential legal advice when an issue requires it. This need occurs in most workplaces at some point in time.
- The CAI PPLSP provides all eligible Plan Members the following Plan Services as part of the membership dues fee in CAI (“Covered Plan Services”):
- Telephone, email and other forms of consultations on foundational federal and NC employment law questions affecting the Plan Member. Limited reading and research to augment or confirm an effective response. Education of the Plan Member in the laws, rules and options relative to their question.
- Initial review and discussion of workplace-related challenges, charges, claims, subpoenas, agency letters, lawyer demand letters and similar issues to assist the Plan Member in understanding the context and to guide them in selecting counsel or a course of action.
- Explanation of legal templates and the reasonable work required to finalize and execute those templates for use in a specific situation in NC.
- Writing and updating templates.
- Review of portions of an employee handbook where legal advice is sought by the Plan Member.
- Training and guidance for CAI’s HR Advice and Resolution team members on workplace rules and regulations.
- Writing on legal topics for Plan Member consumption.
- In person meetings with Plan Members who travel to the lawyers’ office for limited consultation on any Covered Plan Service in lieu of extended phone conversations.
- The CAI PPLSP has the right to prospectively limit a Plan Member’s free use of the Plan where their use is deemed excessive by the Plan Administrator after a review of usage statistics from Plan Attorneys. The Plan Administrator will not do so in a manner that the involved Participating Plan Attorney believes violates an existing professional obligation to that Plan Member.
- The CAI PPLSP may prospectively adjust the scope of Plan services for all Plan Members based on actual experience of the Plan.
- Plan Services do not include drafting original agreements and documents affecting legal rights; ERISA, tax law or obtaining immigration visas; conducting union representation campaigns, R and C cases before the NLRB; court-based litigation and appeals; the review of lengthy files and documents; on site travel; administrative hearings; workers’ compensation defense; representation in any case, matter or conflict; or privileged investigations of workplace conduct and events.
- Participating Plan Attorneys serving Plan Members may use their discretion to accept for-fee projects in workplace law matters requested by Plan Members at a discounted rate (Discounted Plan Services). The agreed Plan Member billing rate for this work is not to exceed $195 per hour (or the rough equivalent if on a fixed fee basis). Travel outside the normal business day will be billed at ½ rate or less. All billing for legal services will be handled directly between the Plan Member and the Participating Plan Attorney and no portion of that fee will be shared with CAI. Participating Plan attorneys will report quarterly on Discounted Legal Services performed for Plan Members including the broad type of service, and the billing calculation of hours- times- rate (without any client identification or matter information).
- Plan Attorneys will carry malpractice insurance coverage.
- Participating Plan Attorneys and law firms who serve Plan Members through the Plan are not employees of CAI. These attorneys must use their own independent professional judgment in serving Plan Members and may not (without express permission from that Plan Member) reveal a privileged communication with that Member to any member of the CAI staff.
- At all times it is the intention of the parties to remain in compliance with North Carolina statutes and rules of the North Carolina State Bar (NCSB). Any concern about compliance with laws or professional standards is welcomed by CAI and Plan Attorneys for prompt resolution.
- This Plan is not intended to establish a plan of insurance.
- The Plan provides advice on behalf of CAI member organizations, not on behalf of individuals employed by these organizations.
- CAI will periodically monitor Plan Member usage statistics, service reports, general topic areas, and other indicators of services provided (such as Plan Member surveys) to ensure quality, future resource needs and effective/efficient service. No information about a specific matter will be shared with CAI by any lawyer without the Plan Member’s consent.
Contact CAI for any additional information or clarification needed: Bruce Clarke, JD, CEO (919 713 5243) or Doug Blizzard, VP Membership, MBA, SPHR (919 713 5244)