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Business Law Honors Pappas

Business Law Honors Pappas

William Pappas accepts award from Catharine Arrowood.

The Business Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association presented the first Alfred L. Purrington III Memorial Public Service Award on Friday, Feb. 14, at the section annual meeting in Pinehurst.

William G. Pappas of Parker Poe in Raleigh is the initial recipient of the award. Pappas has been with the firm since joining one of its predecessors, Sanford, Adams, McCullough & Beard, in 1979. He is a partner and leader of the firm’s Life Sciences Industry Team.

Pappas is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1974) and UNC School of Law (1977), and a former chair of the Business Law Section (1997-99).

“When I started practicing law,” Pappas said, “the more senior partners, Al Adams in particular, said ‘you’ve been licensed by the State of North Carolina to earn a good living, but it is also something that requires you to give back to the communities in which you live. We expect you to get out there and do things for the community that do not necessarily equate to generating business.’ For me, and I think for a lot of my peers, it was important to get involved in the community as young lawyers.”

Pappas, who has fulfilled those high ideals tenfold, still never expected this recognition from his peers.

“I joked that I may have been the only person in Pinehurst who didn’t know I was getting this award,” Pappas said. “It was certainly a well-kept secret, and I was really humbled by it. You don’t expect that anyone is keeping a tally, so getting this award and the related recognition was the farthest thing from my mind.”

Pappas was nominated by his longtime law partner, NCBA Past President Catharine Arrowood.

“Bill has a passion for children that has shown in his leadership with the Marbles Kids Museum and the Raleigh Kiwanis Foundation,” Arrowood wrote. “Bill served on the board of directors for Marbles from 2002 to 2010 and was a passionate advocate for the Museum’s mission: creating a vibrant destination for a diverse population of families, school groups, and community organizations to come together, learn, and play.

“More recently, he has given back to the Raleigh Kiwanis Foundation, joining its board of directors two years ago and currently serving as its vice president.”

Arrowood also cited Pappas for providing board leadership to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Research Triangle Chapter, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company.

Pappas’s commitment to the NCBA Business Law Section has also made a powerful impact.

“I think the most important thing about the Business Law Section is that it provides business lawyers with the ability to significantly influence the statutes and regulations that govern various aspects of organizing, governing and expanding businesses,” Pappas said. “Whether it’s the Business Corporation Act, the Limited Liability Company Act or other laws, the Bar Association and primarily the Business Law Section have been important in guiding the legislature, regulatory agencies and courts on issues that facilitate North Carolina business.

“The result of that is that we have a state-of-the-art business and commercial law structure which has been a key factor in the rapid development of business in North Carolina.”

The new award, as stated on the nomination form, “was established in 2019 and presented for the first time in memory of Alfred L. Purrington III, a distinguished member of the NCBA and a founder of the Business Law Section, who served his community freely and quietly in multiple capacities.”

“The intent behind the award is to recognize outstanding public service by a member of the Business Law Section. The award may be given to an attorney who, through application of his or her professional skills, has given freely and selflessly of his or her time and energy in public service, through charitable and service organizations, for the benefit and betterment of his or her community.”