A Few Words From This Year’s Hall of Fame Inductees

On Friday, Oct. 2, the Senior Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association inducted five new members into the Legal Practice Hall of Fame (formerly General Practice Hall of Fame). The inductees, who share between them 244 years of experience in the legal profession, were subsequently asked to comment on their induction, their legal mentors and heroes/heroines, and their advice for members of the bar who are following in their footsteps. Their responses follow below; additional background information on each inductee is accessible here.

Marshall A. Gallop Jr.Marshall A. Gallop Jr., Rocky Mount

Battle, Winslow Scott & Wiley

What does your induction into the Legal Practice Hall of Fame mean to you?

As I noted in my acceptance remarks, this is clearly the highest professional honor I have ever received. Most gratifying to me is to become aware of the amazingly nice things people who do know me and have worked with me, some together, and some on the other side, had to say in support of my nomination. I cannot think of any more of an honor than to be well thought of by your peers.

Who were some of your legal mentors and heroes/heroines? And why?

This, and whatever else I may have accomplished over the last 44 years, would have never happened without the years of support and mentoring by three of the finest lawyers, but more importantly, three of the finest human beings, I have ever had the great fortune to know and learn from: Brian Scott, the late Bob Wiley and Sam Woodley; along with my contemporary colleagues at Battle Winslow such as my long-time partners, Greg Crumpler and Vince Durham – and, of course, the support of my wonderful wife of 50-plus years, Martha.

I was also very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from many others as a result of my North Carolina Bar Association activities in the Litigation Section and on the Board of Governors, such as three past presidents: the late Don Cowan, Charlie Burgin and (the current Senior Lawyers Division chair), Rhoda Billings.

If I had felt there was time during the induction ceremony, and that I wouldn’t miss anyone, I would have recognized some lawyers from other firms that “I grew up with,” including Dan Hartzog who was in attendance for the induction ceremony. He is someone I have known for essentially my whole career and who I admire greatly. And while I did mostly defense work when I was actively doing trial work, I would have included plaintiff attorneys as well, such as Bill Thorp who was a contemporary of Brian Scott and Bob Wiley. But there were just too many like Dan and Bill to mention.

Looking back on your career at this point, what advice would you give to the attorneys who are following in your footsteps?

I would advise them that I simply tried my best to be the most prepared person in the courtroom or other venue; to establish a reputation with the judges and other lawyers that I would never mislead them; and to treat with the utmost respect and courtesy all the lawyers I dealt with.

Bob HunterJudge Robert C. “Bob” Hunter, Marion

Supreme Court of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee (present); Hunter & Evans Inc., N.C. General Assembly, N.C. Court of Appeals (previous)

What does your induction into the Hall of Fame mean to you?

It means I have practiced for a long time and been involved successfully in a number of areas to have qualified for this honor in the profession I love. I am indebted to Hank Van Hoy for his eloquent nomination that enabled me to obtain it and to the Senior Lawyers Division for my selection. To join all of these other distinguished Hall of Fame Lawyers is one of my highest achievements.

Who were some of your legal mentors and heroes/heroines, and why?

Paul Story, my first law partner, who was a respected member of the bar and the N.C. House of Representatives in which I served. Former Representatives Jim Morgan and Paul Pulley (deceased), who taught me how to chair a judiciary committee, and former Representative Parks Helms, who taught me how to chair the N.C. Courts Commission. All were respected lawyers and leaders in the N.C. Legislature.

Judge Jim Wynn, who gave me advice on how to be a successful judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals. “Hire excellent law clerks and let them do their job. Tell them to not let you screw up and make you look as good as possible.” It worked well for me and I passed it on to other COA judges whom I mentored, including former Judge Linda Stephens and Justice Mark Davis.

Former Judge Linda Stephens is like a sister to me, whom I mentored when she came on the COA, but who became my heroine. She counseled me not only on how to be a better judge but how to be a better person.

Former Senator Lindsey Warren (deceased), whom I always admired. When I was in the legislature, Max Boxley (deceased), a prominent Raleigh lawyer, told me I reminded him of Senator Warren. In my mind, I could not have received a higher compliment.

Governor Jim Hunt, whose career I have followed for many years. He is a lawyer and dedicated public servant who has worked diligently to make our state better. I am indebted to him for the confidence he showed in appointing me to the COA. Similar to him after retirement from elective office, I have continued to remain active and work to serve my community and state.

Looking back on your career at this point, what advice would you give to the attorneys who are following in your footsteps?

Lawyers are sought out in various capacities to serve their community and state. Get involved! I hope many good lawyers will become public servants, especially serving as legislators and judges. I told my daughter, Claire H. Duff, (Deputy County Attorney of Wake County), a good mind is important in the practice of law, but a good heart is needed to make you a successful and happy lawyer in this wonderful profession. 

Glenn KetnerGlenn E. Ketner Jr., Salisbury

Ketner & Associates, Ketner Center, Inc., Rowan Investment Company, Inc., Ketner Foundation, Inc.

What does your induction into the Legal Practice Hall of Fame mean to you?

I view induction into the Hall of Fame as a distinct high personal honor and also as a special recognition of lawyers who have demonstrated an assiduous devotion, over time, not only to the practice of law, but also to our legal profession (which inevitably involves community service). As I told Allan Head frequently, I especially relished my time with the Board of Governors because “it was all about the profession!”

Who were some of your legal mentors and heroes/heroines? And why?

Mentors in the law in Salisbury must include W. C. (Bill) Coughenour (UNC), who taught me the art and skill of searching titles to real property; W. Talmadge (Tam) Shuford (Harvard), W. Clarence Kluttz (Yale) and Lewis P. Hamlin, Jr., (Shuford, Kluttz & Hamlin, with whom I practiced initially in Salisbury); and George Burke (Duke) with whom I worked as we defended a first-degree murder case in Rowan County. This was before there was pay for defending indigents; you simply took your turn. Beyond that, I must also claim as mentor the Honorable Sam J. Ervin, Jr., who chaired the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, for which I served as Counsel for three years in Washington. I could tell lots of stories, but suffice it to say that we worked diligently against “no knock” search warrants 50 years ago!

Looking back on your career at this point, what advice would you give to the attorneys who are following in your footsteps?

Embrace the twin challenges and responsibilities that we must own as members of the bar. First, when we finished law school, passed the bar and then went into the practice of law (or otherwise used our skills and training to engage the real world), we already stood on a platform of excellence. Our accomplishments to that date and time had prepared us to serve not only clients but our communities in many ways. Assuming responsibility for that, service within our communities has always been a hallmark of our profession. The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in a session on “Great Lives In The Law” at Duke Law School a few years ago, urged students to engage in volunteer service at the earliest stages of their careers. As she said then, “Whatever the community organization … you will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get any other way.” Time after time I have found that to be true, and I am convinced that “giving back” is an integral part (perhaps the very heart) of being a lawyer.

Second, we must never forget that, as members of this profession, we are the guardians of the “rule of law”; we are the defenders of judicial independence which lies at the foundation of our constitutional democracy; and we are charged with protecting and advancing the doctrine of “separation of powers” under our constitution. The mantle of responsibility for guarding, defending, and protecting these vital elements of our democracy rests squarely upon our shoulders as members of this profession and as members of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Pender R. McElroyPender R. McElroy, Charlotte

James, McElroy & Diehl, P.A.

What does your induction into the Legal Practice Hall of Fame mean to you?

Induction into the Legal Practice Hall of Fame is a great honor. To be recognized by your peers is humbling and gratifying. This was a great class. I enjoyed learning about the other inductees and their views on the practice of law and life.

Who were some of your legal mentors and heroes/heroines? And why?

One of my great mentors was Justice William Bobbitt of the N.C. Supreme Court, for whom I clerked for a year just after law school. He was a great intellect who sought in every case to reach a just result. He was meticulous with his opinions. He was witty. He had a thousand stories – don’t know if I heard all of them. He maintained a relationship with his clerks for years after they moved on – and did so until his death. I greatly respected and admired him. My heroes are the fine lawyers who serve our justice system representing those who cannot pay for legal services. These men and women could make far more in private practice, yet choose to give their skills to those who would otherwise go without legal representation. In my career, I was honored to know and work with many of these great attorneys and consider it a meaningful learning experience to understand and interact with these lawyers, who put service to humanity above all else.

Looking back on your career at this point, what advice would you give to the attorneys who are following in your footsteps?

My advice would be: work hard and learn every day; build your relationships with your clients; always practice law with integrity; take time for your family and loved ones; contribute to society through public service; and, support and serve your local, state and American bar associations.

Kenneth A. MoserKenneth A. Moser, Winston-Salem

Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, 1968-2012

What does your induction into the Legal Practice Hall of Fame mean to you?

I am honored more than I can express. To be included with some of the most distinguished lawyers in North Carolina makes me incredibly happy and proud beyond any expectation I ever had. I see my induction as affirmation of some career decisions I made as a young man. After graduating from high school, I was forced because of a lack of funds to get a job and defer my college education for a year. However, I never wavered from my plan to get a college education. I wanted to become a lawyer. I did not know why; it was just something I wanted to do. There were no lawyers in my family, and I knew no lawyers from whom to seek advice. I did know that I wanted to spend my life helping others. Of course, I wanted to support myself and my family, but I did not want money to be my primary objective. Except for weekly food money from my wonderful parents, I paid all of my college costs through work and student loans. Law school was funded much the same way except for a small law school scholarship and my wife’s salary as a schoolteacher. With perseverance and hard work, I succeeded in becoming the first attorney in my family. I consider my induction as additional evidence that my early decisions were sound.

Who were some of your legal mentors and heroes/heroines? And why?

I have been incredibly fortunate to consider a number of folks as legal mentors and heroes. Wake Forest Law School Dean Carroll Weathers has to rank very high on my list. I almost worshipped that man and hoped that at the end of my career, I had lived up to his expectations. He was probably the most sincere, ethical and honorable person I have ever known. Dr. Ed Wiggins was my criminal law professor my first year of law school. I, as did my classmates, considered Dr. Wiggins as one of the finest professors among a very strong law faculty. I surprised myself and no doubt many others by receiving the top grade in Professor Wiggins’ criminal law course. Dr. Wiggins and I stayed in touch for several years thereafter. While I was in law school, he sadly for me left WFU to became President of Campbell University. His departure was Wake Forest’s great loss and Campbell’s great gain. Another mentor among my law school professors was Professor Jim Webster, the faculty advisor for my law review article. Professor Webster later wrote an excellent treatise on real estate law in North Carolina revered even until now by lawyers, judges and scholars.

I was indeed fortunate to have excellent mentors at Womble, my law firm for 43 years. I will name only a few of those mentors, but rest assured, I considered every lawyer at Womble when I joined the firm in 1968 among the finest in North Carolina. I was number 18 or 19 in the firm when I was hired, and I worked with every one of them from time to time as the “newest kid on the block.” There were several attorneys with whom I worked more closely during my career at Womble. Calder Womble gave me the opportunity to work very closely with him after Wade Gallant suffered a heart attack in his late 40s. Calder and Wade were brilliant and superb corporate, business and banking attorneys. They then spent considerable time representing Wachovia Bank. At that time, a young attorney did not always get to choose his area of practice. He might be “asked politely” to “gravitate” toward the firm’s greatest needs. Nevertheless, I was greatly honored and indeed blessed to receive that “request”. For me, it was the best decision the firm could have made. Later, when Wade came back after a doctor-ordered rest for several months, both Calder and Wade continued to serve as mentors for me. They were excellent mentors, and I learned so much from them, although I must say for the record that I was never able to master Wade’s very fine and refined delegation skills. I think my friend Murray Greason would, if asked, back me on that point.

Other attorneys in Womble I considered mentors included Grady Barnhill and Murray Greason, with whom I worked closely for several years in firm management and Les Browder in commercial real estate. I even did considerable trial work early in my career, serving as second chair for Charlie Vance, Allen Gitter and Grady Barnhill. They even trusted me to try a fair number of cases on my own. I later found that my litigation experience greatly benefited me in all areas of my practice.

I should also mention my friend and former colleague, Betty Quick. We had no female lawyers in the firm until Betty was hired in the mid-1970s. I remember vividly interviewing Betty before she joined the firm and thinking she had a very bright future. Betty proved me right by becoming an excellent wills and estate attorney known throughout the state of North Carolina and a president of the North Carolina Bar Association. A few years ago, when I was ready to step down from my role as office managing attorney for Womble in Winston-Salem, I thought Betty was the right one to succeed me in that position, thereby permitting Betty again “to break a glass ceiling in the firm”. I am proud of the role I played in Betty’s subsequent selection.

I also count my older brother, Harold Moser (now deceased), as a hero and mentor. Harold had an immense influence on me. He attended Wingate Junior College (now, Wingate University) for two years and then transferred to Wake Forest. He was the primary reason I chose to attend Wake Forest. Harold had faith that I could, with considerably more effort than I had theretofore demonstrated, handle the academics. He cautioned me constantly, however, that I would have to work harder than I ever had before. He was right, and I will be grateful to him always for that. Harold later earned his Doctorate degree in American History from the University of Wisconsin. For his career, Harold was a co-editor of the Daniel Webster Papers at Dartmouth and later the editor of the Andrew Jackson Papers at the University of Tennessee. I miss him greatly.

Of course, without the constant love and support of Mary Nan, my wife of 54 years, no success that I may have had would have been possible. I am also grateful for my sister, Joyce, who had a wonderful career in medicine as a nurse and nurse practitioner. Joyce has been a blessing throughout my life. I should mention my assistant, Laura Carlyle, who worked with me for the last 35 years of my practice. I cannot imagine what my law practice would have been like without her assistance. I called Laura when I knew of my induction to share the news and honor with her.

Looking back on your career at this point, what advice would you give to the attorneys who are following in your footsteps?

The best way I can answer this question is by mentioning a few rules I attempted to follow in my practice, with the hope that some younger lawyers starting their careers might find them useful:

  • Always return your phone calls, and try to do that on the same day they were received. Wachovia used to have a “Sundown Rule” asking its bankers to try to return phone calls the same day received. I liked that rule, and given the firm’s and my relationship with Wachovia, I made considerable efforts to follow that rule in my own practice. Emails and text messages, I leave to the young lawyers’ good judgment, but some comparable rule would be wise. Also, try to answer your own phone calls without the intervention of an assistant if you can. And by all means, instruct your assistant never to answer your calls by asking who is calling and then after receiving an answer, tell the caller that you are not available.
  • If you promise to do something for a client by a certain time, try your absolute best to meet that schedule. If it turns out that you cannot meet that schedule, do not wait until after the time has expired to inform the client. Instead, call the client before your deadline expires and let the client know your situation. On most occasions the client will understand and agree to a later schedule. If the client cries foul, however, then be prepared to burn the midnight oil.
  • Everyone you meet is a potential friend, client, witness or juror. Try always to treat them with respect and kindness.
  • If a young lawyer I supervised sought my advice about some strategy or legal issue, I would not respond until the lawyer told me what their solution would be if I was not available. I wanted the young lawyer to have thought through the issue before seeking my response.
  • Never take a client with you to the clerk’s or register of deeds’ office to sign a document that you prepared unless you were confident it was perfect or you had cleared that document with the official beforehand. It is embarrassing, to say the least. I learned that the hard way.
  • We have all heard it said that law is a jealous mistress. I found that to be true but try as best you can to save time for yourself and your loved ones. Try not to take your work home with you unless absolutely necessary. Try to get home in time to have quality time with your spouse and children each day if you can, even if you must take some work home with you or you must go back to the office later.
  • We all make mistakes. When you make a mistake, do not try to hide it. Hit it head on as quickly as you learn of it. It is highly unlikely that the problem will disappear on its own.
  • There is a tendency for the young attorney to think he or she is expected to provide answers to legal questions “off the top of their heads” to show that he or she, having just passed the bar, is indeed worthy of the title of trusted counselor. Resist that temptation. Sooner or later your answer may be wrong and cause trouble for you, particularly if the recipient of the erroneous advice relies on the advice to the recipient’s detriment. It is better to say you do not know or are not sure of your answer, but that you will find out and then advise.

To conclude, rest assured, I am proud of my induction. My great thanks to the Bar Association and those instrumental in my selection.

Russell Rawlings is director of external affairs and communications for the North Carolina Bar Association.

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