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McCormick Receives Barrett Award

McCormick Receives Barrett Award

Tom McCormick accepts award from Nicolette Fulton.

The North Carolina Bar Association Government & Public Sector Section presented the Grainger Barrett Award for Excellence to longtime Raleigh City Attorney Thomas A. McCormick Jr. during the section’s annual meeting and CLE on Thursday, April 12, at the N.C. Bar Center.

Section Chair Nicolette Fulton presented the award. Fulton, Dan McLawhorn and Hunt Choi nominated McCormick, who retired last year. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC School of Law.

McCormick has been involved in numerous organizations, serving as board chair for the Centennial Authority, and a member of the City of Oaks Foundation, the International Municipal Lawyers Association and the N.C. League of Municipalities. Within the NCBA he has been a member of the Construction Law, Litigation and Government & Public Sector sections and the Senior Lawyers Division.

“Tom McCormick has served as the City Attorney for the City of Raleigh for forty years, during which he has served in the role of friend, mentor, or colleague to nearly each attorney walking down the growing corridor he helped create,” his nominators stated.

“He has been at the forefront of the City of Raleigh’s boom from a sleepy downtown to a bustling capital city, through facilitating millions of dollars in construction, billboard ordinances … increasing municipal infrastructure (including water supply), fighting for municipal legislation on multiple issues, and securing extra park land, including Dix Park which will undoubtedly become a legendary park for Raleigh and the State.”

Under McCormick’s leadership, the nomination continues, the Raleigh City Attorney’s Office has grown from a three-person office to a 15-person firm.

“His understanding that issues before the Raleigh City Attorney’s Office involved more than just being a lawyer, but being human, is one that helped make our office what it is today,” stated his colleagues, all of whom work in the City Attorney’s Office. “Tom was the soul of the City Attorney’s Office. He encouraged professional development and community service by all employees, as is evident by the myriad of titles and awards by Raleigh City Attorney’s Office employees; their achievements are his achievements.”

His nominators also addressed McCormick’s commitment to the NCBA, which in turn has helped them and their colleagues take active roles within the bar association.

“Tom believes strongly in the NCBA and the work of the (Government & Public Sector Section). Through his leadership, the Raleigh City Attorney’s Office has been a member of the NCBA’s 100% Club. In addition to the financial support for the Office attorneys, Tom authorized his attorneys to accept leadership roles with the NCBA which required significant time demands.

“Attorneys from the Office have served on the Board of Governors, chaired the YLD, Sections, NCBA Committees, and participated in the NCBA’s Leadership Academy. Through his mentorship, the Raleigh’s City Attorney’s Office has a culture of leadership and active participation in the legal community of N.C.”

The Government & Public Sector Section award is named for the late Grainger Barrett who served as county attorney for Cumberland County. Barrett died in 2009 and received the award posthumously in 2010, at which time it was named in his honor.

The purpose of this award is to honor an outstanding government or public sector attorney as an exemplar of the excellence, dedication and passion for justice of North Carolina’s government and public sector attorneys.

The recipient of this annual award shall be selected from among nominated active, practicing government or public sector attorneys, and must meet the following criteria:

  • The attorney must have at least five years of recent, continuous practice in public sector law.
  • The attorney must have an exemplary record and reputation in the legal community, and must follow the highest ethical standards.
  • The attorney must have an exemplary record of community service.
  • 4. The attorney must be an exemplar of the quiet excellence of North Carolina’s government and public sector attorneys.

Previous recipients of the Grainger Barrett Award for Excellence are: M. Ann Reed (2001), Jo Anne Sanford (2003), John Stuart Bruce (2004),  Gill P. Beck (2005), Dan McLawhorn (2006), Ann B. Wall (2007), Curtis B. Venable (2008), Jeffrey P. Gray (2009), Grainger R. Barrett (2010), James B. Blackburn III (2011),  M. Lynne Weaver and Philip A. Lehman (2012), Ellis Hankins (2014), Chief Justice (ret.) Sarah Parker (2015), Frayda Bluestein (2016) and Judge Frank Whitney (2017).