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NCAWA AWARDS

Each year, NCAWA recognizes people and organizations that have made significant contributions to the legal profession in North Carolina and support NCAWA's mission of promoting the participation of women in the legal profession and advancing the rights and welfare of women under the law.  NCAWA presents one or more of the following awards each year at its Annual Conference:

 

For more information about these awards, or to make a nomination, please contact admin@ncawa.org

GWYNETH B. DAVIS AWARD

 

Gwyneth B. Davis was a past president and board member of NCAWA.  She died in 1988, following a three-year fight with cancer.  In the time that she lived and worked in North Carolina, she served as a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem, and devoted her considerable energies and talents to founding the Forsyth County Women Attorneys Association and working toward the objectives of NCAWA at both the state and local levels.  As Attorney Ellen Gerber, who was a founding member of NCAWA, described her, “Gwyn was my comrade in arms against the forces that would oppress women... The strongest image is of Gwyn the peacemaker... Gwyn always seemed the neutral party that could thread her way through the warring factions... Another one of Gwyn’s accomplishments was her work to improve the condition of women throughout North Carolina. Gwyn contributed an important effort to write and lobby for the passage of the state’s first equitable distribution law... She was unfailingly generous in her view of people... She cared deeply and had a great commitment to helping her clients. She also was dedicated to improving the lot of women in general and women attorneys...”

Each year, NCAWA presents the public service award in memory and honor of Gwyneth B. Davis, for the promotion of the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession and the rights of women under the law.  

2023 Gwyneth B. Davis Award Winner

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Judge Dorothy Hairston Mitchell

Dorothy Hairston Mitchell is a District Court Judge in Durham, North Carolina. She was appointed by  Governor Roy Cooper on December 3, 2021, and has been on the bench since January 3, 2022.  

Judge Mitchell is a proud “double Eagle!” She attended North Carolina Central University (NCCU), where  she graduated cum laude with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and English. As an  undergraduate student, she served in many leadership roles in Student Government. She competed in  the Model United Nations and served as the college liaison for several state-wide campaigns. Upon  completion of her undergraduate degree, she attended North Carolina Central University School of Law.  While a law student, she served as Class President, and she competed on the Trial Team. She won  several awards for her trial advocacy and leadership skills.  

Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Mitchell practiced as an attorney for 18 years. She served  our wonderful alma mater as an Associate Clinical Professor and the Supervising Attorney of the Juvenile  Law Clinic. She was a member of the full-time faculty from 2016-2021, but she also taught as an adjunct  professor for many years before while in practice as an attorney. In addition to teaching and  supervising law students in the Juvenile Law Clinic, Judge Mitchell also taught Criminal Law and Abuse,  Neglect, Dependency Law. She was also the Legal Director at the Center for Child & Family Health and  the Director of the NCCU School of Law Social Justice and Racial Equity Institute.  

Since Judge Mitchell knew early in life, she wanted to be an attorney, she worked in different capacities  in various law firms since she was 16 years old. Immediately after law school, she spent ten (10) years in  private practice representing clients in the areas of Criminal Law, Family Law, Juvenile Delinquency,  Juvenile Abuse, Neglect, Dependency, Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury, and Bankruptcy. The  bulk of her practice was devoted to representing indigent persons, particularly in the area of Juvenile  Law. In February of 2013, she joined the Durham County Public Defender’s Office, where she primarily  represented parents in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency cases. She practiced in that office for She has  also served as the defense attorney on the Durham County Adult Drug Treatment Court team for nine  (9) years. In that capacity, she advocated for and represented persons on probation who suffer from  substance abuse issues. She has always had a particular interest in working with children and families by  helping them obtain services to assist them in their overall lives. 

Judge Mitchell is very active in the legal and broader community. She has represented Durham County  as a North Carolina State Bar Councilor since 2017, where she serves on many committees. She is Chair  of the NC Indigent Defense Services Commission and has been a commissioner since 2016. She has  served on the Durham County Bar Association and the 16th (formerly 14th) Judicial District Bar  Association board since 2007. She previously served as president, vice president, secretary, and she  currently serves as a board director. She is very proud of the work she has done to improve diversity,  equity, and inclusion within all 3 organizations. In each organization, she chaired committees and was  instrumental in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion statements and plans that were adopted  by each organization, respectively. She is the Vice President of the George H. White Bar Association, 

the minority bar association in Durham, North Carolina whose mission is to provide community service  and bring awareness to Judge Mitchell is also an active member of the North Carolina Association of  Women Attorneys and the Durham Orange Women Attorneys (DOWA).  

 

Judge Mitchell has volunteered as a judge for Durham County Teen Court since 2002. She frequently  teaches Continuing Legal Education courses to other lawyers and judges with the UNC School of  Government and other entities. She is also is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of a local school,  Global Scholars Academy.  

She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., having been initiated in the Alpha Chi  Chapter in 1999. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years and  2 sons.  

Judge Mitchell was also previously honored as a NCCU 40 under 40 recipient. 

Previous Gwyneth B. Davis Public Service Award Winners
  • 2022 Judge Linda Stephens

  • 2021 Susan Strayhorn Barbour, Judge Wanda G. Bryant

  • 2020 Betsy Martin

  • 2019 Ashley Huffstetler Campbell, Yolanda L. Taylor

  • 2018 Judge Christine Walczyk, Diane (Dee) Wallis

  • 2017 Judge Lori Christian, Kate Woomer-Deters

  • 2016 Beth Posner, Chris Brook, Julie Klipp Nicholson

  • 2015 Suzanne Chester

  • 2014 Justice Cherri Beasley, Leah Broker

  • 2013 Harriett Smalls

  • 2012 Lisa Grafstein

  • 2011 Susan M. (Smitty) Dotson-Smith

  • 2010 Barbara (Bonnie) B. Weyher

  • 2008 Justice Robin E. Hudson

  • 2007 Stella Boswell, Judge Joyce Hamilton, Sally H. Scherer

  • 2006 Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson

  • 2005 Robin L. Ames, Michelle Frances Robertson

  • 2004 Sorien K. Schmidt

  • 2003 Anne R. Slifkin

  • 2002 Senator Ellie Kinnaird, Anne Winner

  • 2001 Elizabeth F. Kuniholm

  • 2000 Hon. Catherine C. Eagles

  • 1999 E. Ann Christian

  • 1998 Bertha (Bea) Holt

  • 1997 Melinda Lawrence, Senator William Nelson Martin, Jennie Leake Hemrick

  • 1996 Rep. Eva Clayton, Hon. Linda McGee, Elaine Marshall, Suzanne Reynolds

  • 1995 Marcia H. Armstrong, Lynn Burleson, Allyson Duncan

  • 1994 Hon. Janice McKenzie Cole, Jane Madden, Ellen Gelbin

  • 1993 Dorothy Bernholz, Sharon Parker, Kathryn Jones-Cooper

  • 1992 Hon. Patricia Love, Hon. Jacqueline Morris-Goodson

  • 1991 Brenda Campbell, Mary Wright

  • 1990 Ann C. Barnes, Charlotte Brody, Anne Mackie

  • 1989 Russell Walker, Judith Wegner

  • 1988 Mary Margaret Flynn, Pamela Gann, James B. McMillan

  • 1987 Hon. Jane Harper, Pam Silberman, Sharon Thompson

  • 1986 Gwyneth B. Davis, Annie Brown Kennedy, Hon. Sarah Parker

  • 1985 Brenda McGhee, Sue Perry, Leslie Winner

  • 1984 J. Ray Elinburg, James B. Hunt, Carol Spruill, Wilma Woodard

  • 1983 Katharine Robinson Everett, Elreta Alexander Ralston, Carolyn McAllaster

  • 1982 Ruth Easterling, Karen Galloway, Rachel Gray, Jane Patterson, Ellen Gerber

  • 1981 Meyressa Schoonmaker, Carolyn McAllaster

OUTSTANDING JUDGE OF THE YEAR AWARD

 

Since 1998, the NCAWA Judicial Division has periodically presented the Outstanding Judge of the Year Award to North Carolina judges who have contributed to the judiciary, NCAWA, and the community. 

2023 Award Winner

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Judge Julianna Theall Earp, North Carolina Business Court

The Honorable Julianna Theall Earp is a Judge of the North Carolina Business Court with chambers in Greensboro. She was appointed as a Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases in May 2021.  She is the first woman in North Carolina to serve on the Business Court.

 

After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in management (B.B.A. summa cum laude) and law (J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif), Judge Earp practiced as a civil litigator with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP and its predecessors from 1986-2018, when the firm joined Fox Rothschild LLP. Over the course of that time, she tried cases and resolved conflicts for clients that varied widely in size and by industry. She spent the final seven years of her time with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP as Chair of its Management Committee and, in that role, facilitated the combination with Fox Rothschild LLP. From November 2018 until she joined the Court in May 2021, Judge Earp managed the Atlanta, Charlotte and Greensboro offices of the combined firm while also continuing her practice.

 

Judge Earp and her husband Steve Earp, also an attorney, have five grown children, five grandchildren, and one very old house cat.

Previous Outstanding Judge of the Year Recipients
  • 2022 Justice Robin E. Hudson, Judge Carla Archie, Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell

  • 2021  Chief Judge Donna Stroud, Judge Phyllis Gorham, Judge Debra Sasser

  • 2019  Justice Cheri Beasley

  • 2018  Judge Yvonne Mims Evans, Judge Rebecca Thorne Tin

  • 2017  Judge Linda Stephens

  • 2016  Judge Marcia Moray

  • 2014  Judge Wanda Bryant

  • 2008  Judge Kimberly Taylor

  • 2007  Judge Shelly Holt

  • 2006  Judge Allyson K. Duncan

  • 2005  Judge Jane V. Harper

  • 2004  Judge Joyce (Joy) Hamilton

  • 2002  Justice Sarah Parker

  • 2000  Judge A. Elizabeth Keever

  • 1999  Judge Linda M. McGee

  • 1998  Judge Shirley L. Fulton

BALANCED LIFE WORKPLACE AWARD

 

The Balanced Life Workplace Award (BLWA) is presented annually by NCAWA to an employer that has distinguished itself by establishing employment policies and practices that assist lawyers in achieving balance between their work and personal lives.  Any legal employer in either the public or private sector, employing at least two or more individuals, is eligible for consideration.  We will consider, among other factors, the employer’s policies and practices on work hours, office benefits, part-time employment, flexible work schedules, leave options, and remote work arrangements. 

Nominations are open until August 4th, 2023.  Nominate HERE.

2023 Award Winner

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Waldrep Wall Babcock & Bailey PLLC

Waldrep Wall Babcock & Bailey PLLC is a business law firm focused on bankruptcy, commercial transactions, healthcare, commercial real estate, litigation, and mediation, serving its clients with efficiency and expertise, both inside and outside of the courtroom.
 

The firm was started to create an environment that encourages a collaborative team culture.  Its unique culture allows its attorneys, staff, and other legal professionals to handle complex work while being fully present in their daily lives. They value their firm, their team, and their communities, and they strive to balance their work and the responsibilities of their personal lives.

GOOD GUYS AWARD


On the heels of the inaugural North Carolina GOOD Guys event on March 17th 2023, NCAWA recognizes the importance and need to recognize the GOOD Guys throughout our state and their dedicated efforts to promoting women lawyers. Given this need, NCAWA for the first-time will recognize a GOOD Guy during its Annual Banquet and celebrate his contributions to the North Carolina legal community. 

 

NCAWA seeks to recognize the "GOOD Guys" (Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity) that have shown a dedication to NCAWA’s goals of increasing the effective participation by women in the justice system, in public office, and within the legal profession and promoting the rights of women under the law and the welfare of the women attorneys of North Carolina. A GOOD Guy can be any leader who is demonstrably responsible for increased leadership and career progression opportunities for women and minorities lawyers in their organization and beyond. 

2023 Award Winner

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Attorney General Josh Stein

Josh Stein was sworn in for his first term as North Carolina’s 50th Attorney General in 2017 and his second term in 2021. As Attorney General, he is focused on protecting North Carolina families from crime and consumer fraud.

 

Stein works to protect taxpayers, seniors, students, and military families from fraud. His Department of Justice has won awards or settlements of more than $2.5 billion from scam artists since he’s taken office, and he’s won back more than $260 million in restitution for Medicaid fraud. He is working to keep children safe online, improve data security, and leading a national effort to combat robocalls.

 

Stein is also leading national efforts to combat the opioid crisis and get treatment and recovery resources for North Carolinians struggling with addiction. He’s helped secure more than $50 billion toward opioid recovery and is working hard to confront the fentanyl crisis by prosecuting dealers and traffickers. Stein is also working to make North Carolina’s law enforcement and criminal justice systems fairer, protecting clean air and water, and fighting the teen vaping epidemic.

 

His Department of Justice also houses the North Carolina State Crime Lab, which analyze evidence to help law enforcement investigate crimes, and the North Carolina Justice Academy and the Sheriffs’ and Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Divisions, which work to train and certify public-spirited law enforcement officers.

 

Stein previously served as a state Senator and as Senior Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Department of Justice. In those roles, he successfully led efforts to put more violent criminals behind bars by expanding the state’s DNA database, wrote the School Safety Act and the Identity Theft Protection Act, worked to protect kids from online sexual predators, and helped run payday lenders charging loan shark interest rates out of the state.

 

Stein grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, and earned law and public policy degrees from Harvard University. He and his wife Anna have three children.

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