Individual Awards Presented at Annual Meeting

Four longstanding annual awards of the North Carolina Bar Association were presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting in Winston-Salem. The awards were presented on Friday, June 24, during the Awards Dinner and Presidential Installation.

The awards and their recipients are:

H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award – Robert C. (Bob) Sink
Distinguished Paralegal Award – Grace Ward
YLD Charles F. Blanchard Award – Michele Livingstone
YLD Robinson O. Everett Professionalism Award – Andrew Atkins

Biographical information on each recipient and additional information regarding their awards was provided in the event program as follows:

H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award
The H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award 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.

From left, NCBA Executive Director Jason Hensley, Bob Sink, Professionalism Committee Vice Chair Leanor Hodge, and NCBA President Jon Heyl.

Bob Sink has practiced law with Robinson Bradshaw in Charlotte for 57 years with a concentration in construction and commercial real estate law. He has principally represented general contractors, developers (including a bank subsidiary engaged in revitalizing center-city neighborhoods) and Charlotte’s housing authority.

A native of Racine, Wisconsin, he moved to North Carolina with his family at an early age. Sink is a 1959 graduate of Duke University, where he inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and a 1965 graduate of Duke University School of Law, where is graduated Order of the Coif and served as associate editor of the Duke Law Journal. Between his undergraduate studies and law school, Sink served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Sink has served as a trustee or director on the boards of Discovery Place (six years), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library (15 years, chair two years), Museum of the New South (six years, chair two years) and Legal Services of North Carolina (4 years).

Sink was president of the Mecklenburg County Bar in 1986-87 and in 2014 received the Ayscue Professionalism Award from the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation. Sink served as president of the North Carolina State Bar in 1998-99 and was a State Bar councilor for 12 years. He also served four years as an ABA Delegate. Sink has three adult children and is married to one of his law partners, Caroline Wannamaker Sink.

Distinguished Paralegal Award
The Distinguished Paralegal Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, professionalism and contributions to the paralegal profession by a member of the NCBA Paralegal Division. The recipient of the award is a paralegal who has actively participated in paralegal activities including professional leadership, education, promotion of the profession and civic/community volunteering.

From left, NCBA Executive Director Jason Hensley, Grace Ward, Carolyn Timmons, who chaired the Paralegal Division Awards Committee, and NCBA President Jon Heyl.

N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal Grace Ward uses Charles Dickens’ quote, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another,” as her compass. She has over 35 years of legal experience primarily in family law, received her associate degree in paralegal technology from Davidson County Community College and her business administration degree from Salem College. She held various positions in the NCBA Paralegal Division from council member to chair and has taught seminars and webcasts. Her employer, Allman Spry Davis Leggett & Crumpler of Winston-Salem, encourages her professional development and service to the community Grace supports the State Bar’s Paralegal Certification program, and she was nominated for two terms on the board.

Grace continues to promote paralegal education as she serves on the Davidson-Davie Community College Paralegal Advisory Board. Recently, she organized donations of legal books for the Davidson-Davie paralegal library. Grace volunteered to assist lawyer Beth Bunce with the closing of a deceased lawyer’s practice. Her desire is to make a positive difference for others.

YLD Charles F. Blanchard Award
The Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association elected Charles F. Blanchard as it first chair in 1953 and he served until June 1955. The Division annually recognizes one of its members for their distinguished and meritorious service not only to the community and/or the profession, but also to the Division; and the member who is recognized is presented with the “outstanding” Young Lawyer Award.

From left, NCBA Executive Director Jason Hensley, Michele Livingstone, and NCBA President Jon Heyl.

Michele Livingstone practices civil litigation in Durham with Kennon Craver, PLLC. Michele is originally from California and received her Bachelor of Science in political science and economics from Santa Clara University. After completing her undergraduate studies, Michele returned to North Carolina, where she graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2016.

Shortly after entering her practice, she became involved in the Young Lawyers Division. She became cochair of the Legal Feeding Frenzy in 2020 and continued in that role through 2021. She was instrumental in making two of the most challenging years of the program a huge success despite the uncertainty in the world. Michele now serves as the YLD Community Outreach Division Director.

Robinson O. Everett Professionalism Award
In June of 2010, the Young Lawyers Division decided to honor recently deceased Robinson O. Everett by naming a special “Professionalism” Award for him. The award is given to an attorney whose commitment of time to be active in civic, bar, law school education and community service activities exemplifies enthusiasm for achievement and excellence in the betterment for all.

Andrew Atkins

Andrew Atkins is a member of Smith Anderson’s Construction and Commercial Litigation practice groups. Andrew represents owners, contractors and developers in multi-party disputes involving public and private commercial projects, and regularly counsels clients on risk management issues and claim development during construction.

Before joining Smith Anderson, he worked for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and clerked for Justice Mark D. Martin on the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Andrew is committed to public service. Within the NCBA, he is currently communications co-chair for the Construction Law Section and has held several leadership positions in the Young Lawyers Division. In addition, he is currently vice chair of the North Carolina Rules Review Commission and was previously a reporter for the Public Trust and Confidence Committee of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice.

Andrew is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC School of Law.