Young Lawyers Division Conducts Law Day Celebration
Students from across the state gathered in Raleigh on Friday, May 5, as the North Carolina Bar Association observed Law Day 2023.
The culminating awards ceremony and the Law Week events were conducted by the NCBA Young Lawyers Division and supported by the North Carolina Bar Foundation Endowment through the Beverly C. Moore and Douglas Carmichael McIntyre II Justice Funds.
Middle and high school students were recognized for their efforts in essay writing while elementary school students competed in the poster art category. The finals of the Moot Court Competition were conducted in the morning at the N.C. Supreme Court and speeches by the four finalists in the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge were presented at the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Sam Ervin IV, a former justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, received the Liberty Bell Award. The award is presented annually by the Young Lawyers Division in recognition of an individual “who has strengthened the American System of freedom under law.”
Ervin, who served on the Supreme Court from 2015-23, now serves of counsel with Brooks Pierce. He is a native of Morganton and practiced law there before serving on the North Carolina Utilities Commission from 1999-2009.
A graduate of Davidson College and Harvard Law School, he represents the third generation of his family to receive the award. His grandfather, former U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin Jr., received the first Liberty Bell Award in 1983, and his father, Judge Sam J. Ervin III, who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, was honored in 1999.
The national observance of Law Day was first proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on February 3, 1958, and is celebrated annually by the NCBA on the first Friday in May.
This year’s student winners are:
MCINTYRE YOUTH LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE (Grades 5-12)
1st Place – Krish Attaluri, North Carolina Cyber Academy, Durham
2nd Place – Nolan Dixon, Uwharrie Charter Academy Middle School, Asheboro
Finalist – Juliet Johnson, MCS Noble Middle School, Wilmington
Finalist – Ella Pyon, Panther Creek High School, Cary
ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS (Grades 6-12)
1st Place – Haytham Osama Khatib, John T. Hoggard High School, Wilmington
2nd Place – Itzelle Heinberg, Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wilmington
3rd Place – Lillie Nichols, Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wilmington
POSTER CONTEST WINNERS (Grades Kindergarten-5)
1st Place – Saanvi Ankush Girhe, Morrisville Elementary School, Morrisville
2nd Place – Saloni Bhure, Hunter Elementary School, Raleigh
3rd Place – Celia-Gray Brown and Lena Slusser, Hunter Elementary School, Raleigh
MOOT COURT COMPETITION (Grades 9-12)
1st Place – Keller Best and Grant Clark, Charlotte Catholic High School, Charlotte
2nd Place – Veronica Burnett and Evelyn Grady, Charlotte Catholic High School, Charlotte
Speakers included YLD Chair Lisa Williford, who provided the welcome; NCBA President Clayton Morgan who provided the history of Law Day; former Congressman Mike McIntyre who provided the history of the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge; and former Chief Judge Linda McGee of the N.C. Court of Appeals who presented the Liberty Bell Award.
Ashley Oldfield and Ashle Page co-chaired the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge and presented the awards; Nicholas Sorensen chaired the Essay Contest and presented the awards; Chris Flurry chaired the Poster Art Contest and presented the awards; and Justice Trey Allen of the N.C. Supreme Court presented the Moot Court Competition awards.
William Walton, who chaired the Liberty Bell Award and provided the history of the award, and Sidney Thomas, who chaired the Moot Court Competition, served as co-chairs of the Law Week Committee and provided the closing remarks.
Justice Trey Allen of the N.C. Supreme Court and Judge Allison Riggs of the N.C. Court of Appeals judged the Moot Court Competition. Judges Chris Dillon, John Tyson and Toby Hampson of the N.C. Court of Appeals judged the McIntyre Youth Leadership Challenge.