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Leonard Receiving McKnight Award

Leonard Receiving McKnight Award

Dean Rich Leonard

The North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors has selected J. Rich Leonard of Raleigh to receive the H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award at the 2018 NCBA Annual Meeting, scheduled June 21-24 in Wilmington.

The Board of Governors affirmed the selection of Leonard during its winter meeting on Jan. 25. The recipient was recommended by the Professionalism Committee and placed in nomination by Chair Greg Scott.

Leonard has served as dean of Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law since July 15, 2013. A native of Davidson County, he is a 1971 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He earned a master's degree in education from UNC‐Chapel Hill in 1973, and then earned a law degree from Yale Law School in 1976.

Leonard served as a U.S. Bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina from 1992 to 2013, including service as chief judge from 1999 through 2006. He also served the Eastern District of North Carolina as a magistrate judge from 1981 to 1992 and as clerk of court from 1979 to 1992. Leonard began his legal career in 1976 as a law clerk for Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. and practiced from 1978 to 1979 with Sanford, Adams, McCullough & Beard.

The H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award, established in 2006 by the NCBA’s Professionalism Committee, recognizes attorneys who demonstrate the “Renaissance Lawyer” qualities embodied by Judge McKnight, former chair of the Professionalism Committee who died in 2004 while serving on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of N.C.

The award seeks to recognize those North Carolina attorneys whose trustworthiness, respectful and courteous treatment of all people, enthusiasm for intellectual achievement and commitment to excellence in work, and service to the profession and community, inspire others.