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NCBA award winners

Presented June 21-24 at the N.C. Bar Association’s annual meeting in Asheville

Judge John J. Parker Memorial Award

Henry E. Frye (Greensboro)

The highest honor awarded by the NCBA, it is bestowed in recognition of “conspicuous service to the cause of jurisprudence in North Carolina.” Recipients are chosen as merited, not annually. It is named after the former chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Frye’s legal and professional background includes 25 years in private practice, including founding and serving for 10 years as president of the Greensboro National Bank, which has since merged with Mutual Community Savings Bank.

In 1968, he became the first African American in the 20th century elected to the N.C. House of Representatives, where he served for 12 years before serving two years in the Senate.

He later served as an associate justice of the state Supreme Court from 1983-99 and as Chief Justice from 1999-2000.

He has received alumni awards from N.C. A&T and the UNC School of Law as well as honorary degrees from Shaw, Fayetteville State and Livingstone.

In 2006, Frye and his wife, Shirley, were honored as recipients of the American Judicature Society’s highest honor, the Justice Award, recognizing their outstanding contributions to improving the administration of justice on the national level.

He was the NCBA vice president in 1988-89, and he received the NCBA Young Lawyer Division’s Liberty Bell Award in 2004.

Dr. I. Beverly Lake Sr. Public Service Award

James B. ‘Jim’ Maxwell (Durham)

Honors an outstanding lawyer who has performed exemplary public service in his community through one or more non-profit groups or public service in elective or appointive office. Each winner receives an honorarium through the I. Beverly Lake Sr. Justice Fund that is designated to a non-profit of his choice

Maxwell has committed decades of volunteer service to his community and earned national recognition for his involvement in high school athletics, which included 29 years as a volunteer coach of the Jordan High swim team he established and a stint as chair of the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations.

He also has worked with the Arts Council, YMCA, H.O.P.E. Community Shelter, American Cancer Society, Chamber of Commerce and Child Advocacy Commission in Durham.

Maxwell is a former president of the NCBA, N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers and board chair of Legal Aid of North Carolina.

He designated Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle to receive this year’s honorarium in the amount of $4,000.

H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award

E. Osborne ‘Ozzie’

Ayscue Jr. (Charlotte)

Recognizes an attorney who best demonstrates the qualities embodied by McKnight, a former federal district court judge who died in 2004, including trustworthiness, courteousness, intellectual enthusiasm, commitment to work and an ability to inspire others.

Ayscue is a former president of the NCBA, Mecklenburg County Bar and American College of Trial Lawyers. He has received the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the 4th Circuit and has a professionalism award named in his honor by the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation.

He also is a founding member and chair of the Center for Law and the Humanities.

William L. Thorpe Pro Bono Service Award

Reid Calwell Adams, Jr. (Winston-Salem)

Recognizes lawyers who provide exceptional pro bono legal assistance to the state’s low-income citizens. Adams co-counseled a class-action suit on behalf of low-income children, alleging that deficiencies in the state-run Medicaid program limited dental care to eligible children. He also has provided pro bono assistance to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina victims, worked death penalty appeals and served on several community boards.

Chief Justice Award

Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers Program

Recognizes bar associations that make extraordinary contributions in support of pro bono legal services. MAVLP assists Pisgah Legal Services, with lawyers providing services from Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania counties. During 2006, Pisgah Legal Services referred 743 cases to the program.

Deborah Greenblatt

Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award

Susan W. Gottsegen (Winston-Salem)

Recognizes a legal services attorney who provides exceptional legal service to low-income citizens through a non-profit entity. Gottsegen has spent 25 years with the Legal Aid Society of Northwest North Carolina, including a stint as the LASNNC’s executive director. She is known throughout the state as a consumer law expert.

Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award for Large Law Firms

Womble Carlyle

Sandridge & Rice, PLLC

Recognizes pro bono service by one of the 25 largest law firms in the state. Womble Carlyle’s attorneys logged nearly 13,000 pro bono hours in 2006, including extensive legal assistance provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Law Student Group Pro Bono Project Award

Duke Public Interest and Pro Bono Board

Awards a law school student group that provides legal service beneficial to low-income people in the state. A record-number 17 Duke law school student groups served the community last year, while 368 students (including 31 L.L.M.’s) signed up for 576 pro bono placements.

Younger Lawyer Pro Bono Service Award

Sean Perrin (Charlotte)

Promotes pro bono activities among young or newly minted attorneys. Perrin devoted a good deal of his time to Legal Aid of North Carolina, the Council for Children’s Rights and Guardian ad Litem.

General Practice Hall of Fame

Attorneys comprising the 2007 induction class are Charles M. Davis of Louisburg, William Joslin and Cressie H. Thigpen Jr. of Raleigh, Malvern F. “Mal” King and Sharon A. Thompson of Durham and George B. Mast of Smithfield.

Inductees are chosen for their lifetime of exemplary service and high ethical and professional standards and for serving as a role model for all lawyers in North Carolina.

This year’s class brings membership in the Hall of Fame to 106 attorneys.

Among the career highlights for this year’s inductees are:

Davis: Wake Forest Law graduate who spent his career in general private practice and public service in Franklin County. He also served as a councilor and president of the N.C. State Bar, and he belonged to the state’s Judicial Standards Commission, Disciplinary Hearing Commission and Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.

Joslin: A Columbia Law graduate who clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black. The years of his practice in Raleigh, from 1948-2006, have touched on virtually every aspect of the law, including service as a city attorney, chair of both the Wake County and State Board of Elections and advocate for land conservation.

King: A UNC Law graduate and founding partner of Pulley, Watson, King & Lischer, P.A., where he specializes in the area of corporate law and commercial real estate transactions. His involvement in the NCBA has been extensive, serving as a section chair, treasurer, board liason and member of the Board of Governors. He also has served on several community groups in Durham.

Mast: A Wake Forest Law graduate who has practiced in Smithfield since 1962, with his clients ranging from publicly traded corporations to indigents with legal problems. He has a history of local and statewide community service, and he served on the Wake Forest Board of Trustees and on the NCBA’s Board of Governors.

Thigpen: The Rutgers Law graduate began his career in public service with the Durham County Legal Aid Society and entered private practice in Durham in 1976. He became the first African-American elected as president of the N.C. State Bar in 1999, and he was one of the lead trial attorneys in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Bazemore v. Friday, 478 U.S. 385 (1986), which is cited to this day for the proposition that statistical disparities can be used to show a pattern and practice of discrimination in workplaces.

Thompson: An Antioch Law graduate who has practiced in the Triangle since 1976 as a family lawyer and practitioner in estate planning and probate administration. A large portion of her practice is devoted to providing advice and services to domestic partners and non-traditional families. She is a co-founder of the N.C. Association of Women Attorneys and the N.C. Association of Gay and Lesbian Attorneys, and she served two terms in the House of Representatives. In 2007, she received the ACLU’s Frank Porter Graham Award.

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