2015 Citizen Lawyers: Judge Ralph A. Walker
By Nathan A. Chrisawn
GREENSBORO – Judge Ralph A. Walker has been named a 2015 recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Citizen Lawyer Award. The award will be presented at the Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Asheville on Friday, June 19, 2015. The Citizen Lawyer Award recognizes attorneys who have provided exemplary service through volunteer work and civic involvement in their communities outside the practice of law.
A resident of Greensboro, Judge Walker is a veteran of the United States Army and North Carolina National Guard. He received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University in 1958 and law degree from Wake Forest University in 1963. He is a former trial lawyer, prosecutor, county attorney, Guilford County Superior Court judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals judge, and director of North Carolina’s Administrative Office of the Courts.
Judge Walker has served as a mentor to members of the 4-H Club for the past twenty years, including as a judge for those finalists who travel to Raleigh each summer to compete in service-learning projects in science, writing, public speaking, and citizenship. He has also been a member of the Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee for the past six years, which assists in the development of programs across North Carolina to help guide young people through the court system and overcome addiction. In addition, Judge Walker is an active participant with the Greensboro Step-Up Ministry and enjoys ringing the bell for the Salvation Army each December.
As Judge Walker puts it, “I learned in law school [that] a lawyer should not only be involved in the legal profession but be involved within the various aspects of the community. My participation of giving back has been very rewarding in helping to make a difference in our community and state.”
Judge Walker has been active in his church, First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, as a Sunday school teacher, elder, deacon, and usher. He has also served for many years as a basketball referee for the YMCA. In addition, he is a past board member of the Greensboro Urban Ministry and a past member of the Greensboro Mental Health Association. Judge Walker has also served as chair of the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission and is a past board member of Carolina Dispute Settlement Services.
Currently, Judge Walker is a mediator, an arbitrator, an emergency Superior Court judge, and an emergency recall judge for the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He is also a public member of the North Carolina Medical Board and a member of the North Carolina Rules Review Commission.
The Citizen Lawyer Committee of the NCBA Young Lawyers Division, in conjunction with the NCBA Citizen Lawyer Committee, provides expanded coverage of the 2015 Citizen Lawyer Awards in recognition of their volunteer service and leadership in their communities and beyond.
Nathan A. Chrisawn is an attorney at Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler LLP in High Point.