myNCBA Member Profile

Join or Renew

Whichard Receives McKnight Award

Whichard Receives McKnight Award

Willis Whichard

Willis P. Whichard of Chapel Hill is the 2016 recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association’s H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award. The award was presented at the NCBA Annual Meeting in Charlotte by President Shelby Benton.

Whichard holds a special place in North Carolina history as the only individual to serve in both chambers of the General Assembly and both divisions of the appellate courts.

Whichard served in the N.C. House of Representatives from 1970-74 and in the N.C. Senate from 1974-80. He also served on the N.C. Court of Appeals from 1980-86 and on the N.C. Supreme Court from 1986-98, and was a member of the N.C. General Statutes Commission from 1969-73.

Whichard is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC School of Law. He also holds a master of law and doctor of judicial science from the University of Virginia.

He served as dean of the Campbell Law School from 1986-98 and as adjunct professor at the UNC School of Law from 1986-99.

A native of Durham, Whichard practiced law there with Powe, Porter, Alphin & Whichard from 1966-80. He also practiced with Moore & Van Allen in its Research Triangle Park office from 2006-13 and since 2013 with Tillman, Hinkle & Whichard in Chapel Hill.

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.

Previous recipients are Peter Gilchrist (2006), E. Osborne Ayscue Jr. (2007), Wade Smith (2008), Mark Bernstein (2009), Woody Connette (2010), Catharine Arrowood (2011), Mark Merritt (2012), Jon Harkavy (2013), Harrison L. Marshall Jr. (2014) and Suzanne Reynolds (2015).