Duncan Justice Fund Dedicated
The Alan W. Duncan Justice Fund of the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation was dedicated Friday, Aug. 26, at the N.C. Bar Center in Cary.
Fellow Greensboro attorney and current NCBA President Kearns Davis presided. Longtime colleague Doug Ey of Charlotte and law partner Allison Mullins of Mullins Duncan Harrell & Russell PLLC were the featured presenters.
Remarks were also provided by Beth Langley, chair of the NCBA Foundation Development Committee, and Judge Julian Mann III, chair of the NCBA Foundation Endowment Committee.
Executive Director Allan Head directed unveiling of the Justice Fund plaque.
Duncan served as president of the NCBA in 2013-14. He is a graduate of Davidson College and Vanderbilt University School of Law. He practiced for 34 years with the firm of Smith Moore Smith Schell & Hunter and its successor firms (now Smith Moore Leatherwood) before the formation of Mullins Duncan Harrell & Russell in 2013.
Duncan has served on the Guilford County Board of Education since 2000 and has served as its chair since 2002.
Throughout his distinguished legal career, Duncan has been heavily involved with the NCBA. Prior to serving as president, he spent three years on the NCBA Board of Governors and chaired the Litigation Section.
He also served on the CLE Committee, chaired its Trial Practices Subcommittee, and served as a course planner and speaker at countless programs. Following his term as president, he served as chair of the Past Presidents’ Council.
Most recently he served as chair of the Legislative Advisory Committee and as the NCBA’s ABA Delegate.
Duncan has received numerous honors, including the NCBA’s Citizen Lawyer Award and what is now known as the Lake Family Public Service Award. He is also a former recipient of the Litigation Section’s Advocate’s Award.
He is a past president of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, from which he has received its highest honor, the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellency.
He is also a two-time recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for community service, once upon his graduation from Davidson College in 1976 and again in 2005 from Guilford College.
A Justice Fund is a named endowment that honors those North Carolina lawyers, past and present, whose careers have demonstrated dedication to the pursuit of justice and outstanding service to the profession and the public. One or more contributors may establish a Justice Fund to honor a colleague, family member or friend.
Lawyers designated and honored by the creators of a Justice Fund receive special recognition in the form of a permanent plaque and biographical sketch maintained at the N.C. Bar Center. One or more contributors may establish a Justice Fund to honor a colleague, family member or friend through a combined gift of $45,000.
The NCBA Foundation Endowment was established in 1987 to enable the foundation to fund programs and activities to better serve the public and the legal profession. As of June 2016, the endowment had awarded grants totaling $5.4 million for 682 projects.
The biographical sketch accompanying the Alan W. Duncan Justice Fund reads as follows:
Alan was born in Falkirk, Scotland, and immigrated with his parents, Margaret and Bill Duncan, to the United States in 1957. He remains proud of his Scottish heritage, but is grateful for the privilege of having become a United States citizen. He grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, thus having been exposed to two different areas of the country and being able to appreciate the varied strengths of different regions of our country.
Alan had the good fortune to attend Davidson College, graduating in 1976. Davidson faculty and fellow students instilled a sense of service and generosity of spirit, and Alan benefitted greatly from being around such faculty, students, and friends while obtaining a wonderful education. Many of those fellow students who exerted such positive influences remain close friends.
Alan graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1979, surrounded by an extraordinarily talented group of classmates who have gone on to have extremely distinguished careers in law, business and politics. These classmates established a standard of excellence for all professional work done. The lesson learned was that a law license is not just a means to earn a living; but when done with excellence, helps people in their time of need and can help to effectuate meaningful modifications to the law that better further the purpose of serving all citizens.
Alan practiced for 34 years with the firm of Smith Moore Smith Schell & Hunter and its successor firms, surrounded by many Past Presidents and legends of this Bar Association. His many mentors in that firm provided an enriching environment to learn how to practice law. In his litigation practice, Alan has also worked with and in opposition to many extraordinarily talented attorneys, and has benefitted tremendously from such associations through the years.
Alan now practices with the firm of Mullins Duncan Harrell & Russell PLLC. He is very grateful to each of his partners and all of the employees of the firm for the work environment that they have created of a collaborative team effort in seeking to provide excellent legal services for their clients while enjoying the work and the fellow employees with whom they are working. The firm has also embraced a culture of public service for the betterment of the community and the profession.
The North Carolina Bar Association has been an important source for the development of professional and personal relationships for Alan. He has served in several different capacities for the Bar Association, culminating in his service as President of the Bar Association from 2013 to 2014 in what was a tremendously rewarding year.
Membership in the Bar Association truly highlights the concept of standing on the shoulders of those who came before you, and Alan is grateful for the service of so many Bar Association members and staff who have made such great contributions to our profession and our state. In this regard, Alan would highlight the dedicated service of Executive Director Allan Head, who has served this Bar Association so faithfully over his 43-year career.
Alan is also very committed to the importance of public education for all of our children in our state, and has served on the Guilford County Board of Education for the past 16 years. As he would say, please thank an educator every chance that you get, and please support all of our children in every way that you are able.
Most importantly, Alan is very thankful for his family. His wife, Pam, has been a partner in and supportive of every endeavor to which he is committed, and is a very accomplished member of the Bar and significant volunteer in their community. Alan counts his blessings every day that he met Pam because of her friendship, love and caring that has made their family life such a joy. Pam and Alan have two daughters, Molly and Abby, and they are very proud of their daughters’ ongoing accomplishments as they continue to grow as fine young women.
Because of family, friends, faith, profession and the opportunity for service, Alan has been fortunate to live a full and wonderful life, and believes the North Carolina Bar Association was one of the many reasons for that good fortune, for which he gives thanks.