Whichard Receiving McKnight Award
Willis P. Whichard has been selected to receive the 2016 H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award. Confirmation of his selection occurred on Thursday, Jan. 21, at the winter meeting of the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors.
The recipient is recommended annually by the NCBA’s Professionalism Committee, which established the award in 2006. Committee Chair Lisa Sheppard placed Whichard’s name in nomination and his selection was confirmed unanimously.
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. He served in the N.C. House of Representatives from 1970-74 and in the N.C. Senate from 1974-80.
Whichard served on the N.C. Court of Appeals from 1980-86 and on the N.C. Supreme Court from 1986-98. He was a member of the N.C. General Statutes Commission from 1969-73.
Whichard also served as dean of the Campbell Law School from 1986-98 and as adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina 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.
He served as a vice president of the NCBA Board of Governors in 1983-84 and 2001-02 and as president of the UNC Law Alumni Association in 1978-79.
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. Following law school, Whichard served as law clerk to Justice William H. Bobbitt of the N.C. Supreme Court, who later became chief justice.
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.
Whichard will receive the award on Friday, June 24, at the 2016 NCBA Annual Meeting in Charlotte. Presentation will take place at the Westin Charlotte, headquarters hotel for the annual meeting, during the President’s Luncheon.
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).