Every year NCAJ honors legal professionals and others who advance the cause of justice in exemplary ways with awards presented at the NCAJ Annual Meeting in June. Attorney members, paralegals, judges, legislators and journalists are eligible. 

NCAJ Award Nomination Form

Click on the button below to nominate an individual for an award. The NCAJ Nominating & Awards Committee will consider all nominations.

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Annie Brown Kennedy Award

Given for commitment to acquiring “full freedom” for all citizens of North Carolina and exceptional advocacy that protects individual liberties. Recognizes active service in their local community with a focus on the status and welfare of families and minority citizens.

Charles L. Becton Teaching Award

Given for excellence in the teaching of trial advocacy.

Excellence in Journalism Award

Recognizes a print or broadcast journalist whose work has contributed to protecting people’s rights.

Kellie Crabtree Award

Given to an attorney and his or her client in cases where the client’s story and the attorney’s representation has made a real difference in protecting people’s rights.

Robby Price Award

Presented to a paralegal that has made significant contributions in the fight for justice on behalf of their clients and the citizens of North Carolina.

Thurgood Marshall Award

Established to recognize extraordinary and selfless service to the people of North Carolina in keeping with the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Walter Clark Award

The highest award given by the Advocates for Justice. For extraordinary service to justice and to the Advocates for Justice in the tradition of former Chief Justice Walter Clark of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Special Award

Given in circumstances such as outstanding leadership during a legislative session or outstanding leadership/assistance in a public service project.

Outstanding Appellate Judge Award

Outstanding Legislator Award

Outstanding Trial Judge Award


Janet Ward Black – Walter Clark Award
Tom Maher – Thurgood Marshall Award
Justice Anita Earls – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Judge Marvin Blount – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Representative Sarah Stevens – Outstanding Legislator Award
Cheri Beasley – Annie Brown Kennedy Award
Valerie Johnson – Charles L. Becton Teaching Award
Sean Campbell – Excellence in Journalism Award
Jamie Lau – Kellie Crabtree Award
Ronnie Long – Kellie Crabtree Award
Debbie Dante – Robby Price Award


Rick Glazier Charles L. Becton Teaching Award
Senator Danny Earl Britt Jr. – Outstanding Legislator Award
Judge Paul C. Ridgeway – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Chief Justice Cheri L. Beasley – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award


Burton Craige Thurgood Marshall Award 
Judge Thomas H. Lock – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Judge Richard Dietz – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Judge Robert N. Hunter, Jr. – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Judge Valerie J. Zachary – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy & Kennedy LLP – Special Award in recognition of their status as the oldest law firm of African American attorneys in our state and their 65 years of service to the people of North Carolina.


Joseph B. Cheshire V Walter Clark Award 
Bernadine S. Ballance – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Ernest L. “Buddy” Conner, Jr. – Charles L. Becton Teaching Award
Annemarie Pantazis – New Lawyers Division Award


Christine Mumma – Thurgood Marshall Award
Leonard Jernigan – Charles L. Becton Teaching Award
Judge Carl Fox – Outstanding Trial Judge   
Belen Gomez-Jordana – Excellence in Journalism Award


James E. Williams, Jr. – Thurgood Marshall Award   
Seth Langson – Kellie Crabtree Award 
Robby Price – Kellie Crabtree Award  
Judge Orlando Hudson, Jr. – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Judge Linda Stephens – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Franiece ThresherRobby Price Award


Janet Ward Black – Kellie Crabtree Award
Graham Yates – Kellie Crabtree Award (posthumously)
Laura Leslie – Excellence in Journalism Award
Rebecca Britton and M. Gordon Widenhouse, Jr. – Special Award
Judge Mary Ann Tally – Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Judge Linda McGee – Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Richard M. Taylor, Jr. – Walter Clark Award


David Pishko – Charles L. Becton Teaching Award
Judge Lucy Inman – Outstanding Trial Judge Award 
Hoppy Elliot, Griff Morgan and Frank Goldsmith – Special Award in recognition of their tremendous work advocating for the civil rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Chris NicholsNew Lawyers Division Award


The Ebbie Award was established in 2003 in honor of Ebbie Bailey, wife of founding member Allen Bailey. The President of NCAJ gives this award to members in recognition of service and inspired commitment to the organization.

2021 Recipients:
Helen Baddour, Kristen Beightol, Abby Hammond, Scott Harris, Jon Moore, Matt Sullivan, Hank Teich

2020 Recipients:
Michael Adkins, Kim Crouch, Carmaletta Henson, Jennifer Lechner, Jason Orndoff, Kimberly Wilson White

2019 Recipients:
David Henson, Valerie Johnson, Lou Ann Vincent

2018 Recipients:
Janet Ward Black, Joseph Cheshire V, Narendra Ghosh, Mary Lee, Karonnie Truzy

2017 Recipients:
Andrew Banzhoff, Katie Bryant, Bartina Edwards, Chris Fialko, Darrin Jordan, Philip Miller, Ann Ochsner, Stewart Poisson, Toussaint Romain, Jason Taylor

2016 Recipients:
Eric Doggett, Philip Isley, Laura Noble, Sonya Pfeiffer, Michael Rothrock, Amy Page Smith, Laura Wetsch

2015 Recipients:
Matt Ballew, Kevin Bunn, Tom Comerford, John McCabe, David Rudolf

2014 Recipients:
Andrew Banzhoff, Charlie Blanchard, Burton Craige, Sarah Olson