Ten Alumni Honored at Annual N.C. Bar Association Meeting

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NCBA Professionalism Committee Chair Lisa Sheppard, Dean Martin H. Brinkley
NCBA Professionalism Committee Chair Lisa Sheppard, Dean Martin H. Brinkley '92, and outgoing NCBA President Kearns Davis '95. Photo courtesy of NCBA.

UNC School of Law played an active role during the North Carolina Bar Association’s 119th annual meeting in Asheville, June 22-25. Ten Carolina Law alumni were recognized. At the exhibition hall, Carolina Law representatives met with friends and members of the legal community, in addition to collecting stories of service, volunteerism and leadership from law school alumni, which will be used to quantify and celebrate Carolina Law’s impact on the communities in which they live and work.

The law school also hosted a reception on Friday night, where Dean Martin H. Brinkley ‘92 shared key updates while acknowledging that this is a pivotal moment in the school’s history. He expressed appreciation for the hard work “everyone affiliated with the law school -- from incredible faculty to outstanding alumni” is undertaking to preserve the school’s tradition of public excellence and shared his vision for a future that grows education, provides new experiential learning opportunities and fully equips Carolina Law students for employment across the legal profession. A highlight of the alumni honored with awards includes:

Dean Martin H. Brinkley ’92 Receives H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award

Dean Martin H. Brinkley ’92 was presented with the 2017 H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer award. Brinkley has served as dean of the University of North Carolina School of Law since July 1, 2015. Previously, he was a partner with Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan. Before entering private practice, Brinkley clerked for Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin III of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2011-12 Brinkley served as NCBA president. The H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award recognizes North Carolina attorneys who demonstrate the “Renaissance Lawyer” qualities embodied by Judge McKnight, who died in 2004 while serving on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of N.C. Such qualities include trustworthiness, respectful and courteous treatment of all people, enthusiasm for intellectual achievement, service to the community, and a commitment to excellence in work.

Thomas J. White III ’66 Inducted into NCBA General Practice Hall of Fame

The General Practice Hall of Fame seeks to recognize exemplary service and high ethical and professional standards as a general legal practitioner in North Carolina. A native of Kinston, Thomas J. White III ’66 was inducted into General Practice Hall of Fame at this year’s meeting. Following his graduation from the UNC School of Law, White clerked with Federal District Judge John D. Larkins Jr. in Eastern North Carolina and later joined his father and John R. Hooten to form White, Hooten & White. In 1993, White opened his own law practice, White Law Offices, P.A., and he became a Certified Mediator in 1998. He also served as president of the Lenoir County Bar Association, where he continues as an active member. After retiring in 2012, White has continued to develop his mediation practice, engaging more in state and local bar and civic activities and spending time with family. He currently serves on the NCBA Professionalism Committee.

Mittie Smith '80 and Forrest Ferrell '63 Receive the Citizen Lawyer Award

The Local Bar Outreach Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association announced two Carolina Law alumni as recipients of the 2017 Citizen Lawyer Award. The award was established in 2007 to recognize lawyers who provide exemplary public service to their communities.

  • Mittie Smith ’80, of Mittie R. Smith Attorney at Law in High Point, has provided volunteer leadership to Open Door Ministries of High Point, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing shelter and other services to clients, many of whom are homeless. Smith has also served the High Point Bar Association, Carl Chavis YMCA, the American Cancer Society, Bit Brother/Big Sisters, and United Way of Greater High Point.
  • The Honorable Forrest Ferrell ’63, of Sigmon, Clark, Mackie, Hanvey & Ferrell in Hickory, has provided volunteer service and leadership to the Catawba County Board of Elections, the Commission on the Status of Women in the Legal Profession, the Catawba County Council for the Arts, the Hickory Recreation Commission, the Family Care Center, Catawba County Valley Community College, Catawba Valley AAU, the Judicial Conference of the Fourth Circuit and the Foothills Conservancy Board.

Former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson '79 Receives Legal Legends of Color Award

Patricia Timmons-Goodson '79, a former associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and the first African-American woman appointed or elected to the state's highest court, was recognized as one of three recipients of the 2017 Legal Legends of Color Award. The awards are presented annually by the Minorities in the Profession Committee. Previously, Timmons-Goodson served as an assistant district attorney and legal services attorney before being appointed to the District Court bench in 1984, where she was then elected to three subsequent term, and the N.C. Court of Appeals in 1997, where she served until 2005. Timmons-Goodson also served as a vice president on the NCBA Board of Governors and received the Liberty Bell Award recognizing individuals who have "strengthened the American system of freedom under law." Currently, she serves as vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to which she was appointed by President Obama in 2014. The Legal Legends of Color Award honors lawyers of color who have demonstrated a high level of community service and had a significant impact on North Carolina.

Will Quick ’12 Receives Charles F. Blanchard Young Lawyer of the Year Award

Will Quick ’12, an attorney with Brooks Pierce in Raleigh, was awarded the Charles F. Blanchard Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) Young Lawyers Division. The Charles F. Blanchard Award recognizes young lawyers for their notable and commendable service and is named in honor of Charles Blanchard, the founding chair of the Young Lawyers Division. Quick is actively involved in the community, serving as co-chair for the NCBA Litigation Section Pro Bono Committee, as the division director of the NCBA Young Lawyers Division Law Student Division and as the Young Lawyers Division liaison for the NCBA Zoning Planning and Land Use Section. He was recently recognized by the North Carolina Supreme Court for performing more than 50 hours of community service in 2016, including aiding the Town of Mesic regarding a land dispute over historically significant land as well as providing legal counsel to victims of Hurricane Matthew through the Disaster Legal Services program. He also served as president of the NC State Friends of the Library from 2014 to 2016.

Rachel Blunk ’11 and Brooks Jaffa ’12 Receive Young Lawyer Pro Bono Service Award

Rachel Blunk ’11 and Brooks Jaffa ’12 were two of three recipients of the Younger Lawyer Pro Bono Service Award, which was created by the Young Lawyers Division in 2001 to promote pro bono activities among young or newly practicing attorneys. Blunk and Jaffa were recognized for their leadership in organizing more than 175 volunteer attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to 345 victims of Hurricane Mathew. They also organized a continuing legal education program to better prepare volunteer attorneys seeking to provide disaster-related legal services. The NCBA Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services (DLS) effort following Hurricane Matthew has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as one of the most effective efforts ever mobilized under the ABA DLS program. Blunk was also nominated as chair-elect of the Young Lawyers Division.

Jacqueline D. Grant ’95 Will Serve as NCBA President-Elect

Jacqueline D. Grant ’95, a partner and litigator with Roberts & Stevens in Asheville, was announced as president-elect of the NCBA, led this year by President Caryn Coppedge McNeill of Raleigh. Grant will be installed as the 124th president at the 2018 annual meeting. Previously, she was recognized as a 2016 recipient of the NCBA’s Citizen Lawyer Award. In 2014-15, Grant became the first African-American woman to serve as the president of the 28th Judicial District Bar. From 2010-13 she served on the NCBA Board of Governors, and she has worked on numerous committees within NCBA, including serving as the chair of the Delivery of Legal Services Committee. Grant will be the second African-American woman and third African-American to serve as NCBA president.

Richard E. Myers II ’98 , Henry Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law at UNC School of Law, was elected as one of four NCBA vice presidents who will serve one-year terms. Myers teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Ethics, and a seminar on White Collar Crime.

-June 28, 2017

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