After long wait, Lee County attorney officially claims title

Kerry Schmid cleared to practice in North Carolina
May. 15, 2014 @ 07:56 AM

After a year-and-a-half long process to be licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Kerry Schmid was sworn in as the new Lee County attorney when the board of commissioners met this week.

Schmid was hired in 2012, and now having completed her licensure and being sworn in Monday, she said she is both ready and able to represent the county.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "I'm excited for the challenge, and I'm thrilled to represent the board of commissioners and sit with them at their meetings."

Schmid has served previously as the deputy county attorney in Sarby County, Neb., which she said has a similar jurisdiction to North Carolina.

"I had similar job requirements there that I do here," Schmid said. "I worked extensively with the board of commissioners there."

Kirk Smith, vice chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said he is excited to see Schmid licensed and ready to work.

"The North Carolina Bar Association dragged their feet on accepting her credentials," he said. "We're glad she's formally with us and doing her duties."

Until now, Neil Yarborough, senior attorney at Yarborough, Winters & Neville of Fayetteville, has been representing the county.

"We will still hold him on retainer," Smith said of Yarborough. "Kerry is officially the county attorney, but [Yarborough] will still represent us for situations that arose prior to her."

Relieved to be finished with the licensing process. Schmid said it was hard to get direction from anyone on what she had to do or how long it would take.

"It was about 16 months from the time they accepted my application to the time it was all said and done," Schmid said. "It was difficult to get guidance. The Board of Examiners has their process, and I just had to follow it to get licensed."

County Manager John Crumpton also expressed frustration about the lengthy process of getting Schmid licensed in North Carolina.

"In our estimation, it took too long," he said. "I understand the board has their policies and procedures, but they advertise six months, and when it takes 14 or 15 months, it seems a little excessive."

However, Crumpton also recognized the good that came out of the time Schmid spent waiting for her license.

"I think she got to learn some things about North Carolina law and how local government works in North Carolina," Crumpton said. "I think that was a real positive for her, and now she's ready to go."