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.  

2022 Gwyneth B. Davis Award Winner

Judge Linda Stephens

Judge StephensJudge Linda Stephens brings nearly four decades of experience to her clients, including eleven years as a NC Court of Appeals Judge, four years as a Deputy Commissioner at the NC Industrial Commission, and over 20 years of private practice. At Hedrick Gardner, she serves a client base ranging from small and medium size businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Linda’s distinguished career includes many firsts. She was the first person in her family to graduate high school and became the first female law clerk to Court of Appeals Judge Fred Hedrick, brother of Hedrick Gardner’s founder, Phil Hedrick. After serving four years as a Deputy Commissioner at the NC Industrial Commission, she became the first female associate at a Raleigh law firm and five years later, its first female partner. She served as the first female president of the NC Association of Defense Attorneys and was the first person to ever receive the highest awards from both the NC Association of Defense Attorneys and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

Judge Stephens was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Mike Easley in 2006. During her years as a judge, she earned a reputation of applying the law fairly to everyone. In her last campaign, she earned the endorsements of both the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, representing opposing sides in the courtroom.


Gwyneth B. Davis Public Service Award Winners

  • 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