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Legal Legends of Color

Launched in 2016, the Minorities in the Profession Committee’s Legal Legends of Color Award publicly recognizes attorneys of color who have had undeniable impacts on the legal profession and whose legacies represent ceilings broken for all attorneys who follow in their footsteps.

The Legal Legends of Color Awards Celebration began with an NCBA goal of increasing diverse member attendance at the Annual Meeting. MIP wanted to publicly recognize diverse attorneys of color and believed that the LLOC Award would help accomplish this goal. This event draws increasing numbers of attendees year after year and its selection of awardees is highly anticipated.

The Legal Legends of Color Awards Celebration demonstrates the NCBA’s commitment to embrace diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. The celebration is a time to recognize and honor attorneys and other legal professionals of color whose legacies represent ceilings broken for all attorneys who follow in their footsteps and whose impacts on the legal profession are undeniable.


Legal Legends of Color Honorees

To pin down one reason for their impact on the profession is a challenge. Many of the honorees were firsts in the paths they chartered. They impacted the judiciary, the advancement of the civil rights movement, the legal academy, increased access to justice for North Carolinians, and served in local, state and federal government. Many have benefited from their efforts, legal acumen and lifelong contributions to the profession and its members.

  • 2023 Honorees – Pamela B. Cashwell, Attorney Brenda Ford Harding, Judge Addie M. Harris Rawls, Judge Joe L. Webster, the late Annie Brown Kennedy
  • 2022 Honorees  – Judge Ola M. Lewis (posthumously), Attorney Arlinda F. Locklear, Attorney Margaret Dudley, Attorney Georgia Jacquez Lewis
  • 2021 Honorees – Judge Elreta Melton Alexander (posthumously), Attorney Karen Bethea-Shields, Judge Wanda G. Bryant, Professor James E. Coleman, Jr., Attorney Julian Pierce (posthumously)
  • 2020 Honorees – Judge Yvonne Mims Evans, Attorney Anthony Fox, Attorney J. Kenneth Lee (posthumously), Senator Dan T. Blue, Jr., Professor George R. Johnson, Jr.
  • 2019 Honorees – Professor Charles Daye, Former U.S. Attorney Janice McKenzie Cole, Former Legislator H. M. “Mickey” Michaux Jr., Judge Sammie Chess, Attorney Julius Chambers (posthumously)
  • 2018 Honorees – Judge Shirley Fulton, Judge Paul Jones, Attorney Glenn Adams, Attorney Victor Boone
  • 2017 Honorees – Judge Albert Diaz, Former Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Professor Irving Joyner
  • 2016 Honorees – Former Chief Justice Henry E. Frye, Attorney James E. “Fergie” Ferguson II, Chief Justice Cheri Lynn Beasley

Nomination Criteria

To be eligible for nomination, a person must be:

  1. a lawyer of color practicing (or practiced most recently) in North Carolina for at least fifteen (15) years;
  2. have had a legal career with a significant impact in North Carolina;
  3. demonstrated a high level of service to his/her local community and/or on an statewide basis; and
  4. be a member in good standing of the North Carolina State Bar (active or inactive).

Nomination Guidelines

Nominations for the LLOC Awards should consist of a nomination setting out the name of the nominee and the reasons for the nomination (including information on the nominee’s outstanding career, service, and achievements). Nominations are encouraged for members from any practice area, any employment type (including but not limited to: private practice, government, public interest, the judiciary, corporate/in-house counsel, and academia), and regions across the state.

Nomination submissions for the 2024 award season are now closed. 2025 LLOC nominations will open in the fall. View the Nomination page for more details.