By SYLVIA ADCOCK, Staff Writer
About 125 people gathered to recognize excellence in the in-house legal community Wednesday at the third-annual In-House Leaders in Law award ceremony sponsored by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. Eleven attorneys were honored.
“You are the ones who consistently go above and beyond that which is asked of you,” Lawyers Weekly Publisher Tonya Mathis told the crowd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Charlotte, noting that the recipients not only demonstrated excellence in the practice of law but also in contributing to their communities and balancing work and family life.
For the first time, Moore & Van Allen, a sponsor of the event, added category for promoting diversity and inclusion. The award went to the entire legal department at Bank of America.
In giving the award, Moore & Van Allen lawyer Valecia McDowell said the bank had offered much-needed support – economic and leadership – to the Mecklenburg County Bar Association’s diversity task force.
Accepting the award for Bank of America was Stacie McGinn, deputy general counsel.
Diversity is “one of our core values,” McGinn told the crowd. She said that lawyers in the bank’s legal department are required to have goals based on promoting diversity, and those goals are part of their evaluations.
McGinn said in an interview that the commitment to diversity isn’t something that just happened overnight.
“It goes back many years,” she said. And as a female attorney in her 50s, she said she can appreciate the need for the efforts. When she began working in banking law, the male lawyers would say they would use the women to “get in the door” and then bring in the male lawyers to close the deal.
The recipients of the awards represented lawyers who work with everything from hospitals to grocery store chains to energy companies. In each case, the lawyers recognized showed a willingness to tackle the challenges facing their employers.
Those honored were Keith Agisism, Bank of America; Nancy B. Aycock, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina; Y. Canaan Huie, N.C. House of Representatives, Office of Speaker Joe Hackney; Joshua Malcolm, University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Stephen A. Mayo, Bank of America; Richard G. Pratt, Lowe’s Companies Inc.; David P. Sousa, Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina; Susan Sowell, Fair Point Communications Inc.; John P. Stanley, Lenovo; Jason Stevens, Food Lion LLC; and Lisa F. Vaughn, Duke Energy.
For full profiles on each honoree, click here.