NCAJ Honors Leaders In the Profession At Convention
The North Carolina Advocates for Justice honored 10 lawyers at its Annual Convention, held virtually via Zoom, on Thursday. Advocates for Justice recognized leaders in the legal field for their dedication to NCAJ’s mission of protecting people’s rights in North Carolina.
Rick Glazier of Fayetteville Receives Charles L. Becton Teaching Award
Rick Glazier is the executive director of the N.C. Justice Center. Previously, he had been elected seven times to the North Carolina House of Representatives from Cumberland County. Glazier received his B.A. Degree from Penn State University and JD from Wake Forest University in 1981. He served as a visiting professor in criminal justice at Fayetteville State University for eight years, taught criminal justice-related courses at Methodist University, N.C. State University and Fayetteville Technical Community College for many years, and has been teaching pre-trial civil litigation, as well as trial and appellate advocacy, state legislative policy-making and ethics, and advanced civil trial advocacy (in various combinations) at Campbell University School of Law for 26 years.
Former NCAJ President Charles Becton presented the award to Glazier. Former NCAJ President Charles Becton presented the award to Glazier. He said the award honors not just Glazier’s expert teaching of trial skills, but also his advocacy for the poor and for marginalized people.
“Rick Glazier’s guiding principles are NCAJ’s guiding principles: Lawyers helping people is his mantra,” Becton said.
Sen. Danny Earl Britt Jr. of Lumberton Receives Outstanding Legislator Award
Sen. Danny E. Britt is serving his second term in the N.C. Senate, representing District 13, which comprises Columbus and Robeson counties. He is a major in the Army National Guard, having served 21 years with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Britt attended Appalachian State University, where played defensive back with the Mountaineers. He attended law school in Oklahoma and has five years’ experience as a prosecutor and 10 years in private practice.
NCAJ Board of Governors member Jennifer Lechner presented the Outstanding Legislator Award to Britt. She described his sponsorship and advocacy of the Second Chance Act, which was unanimously approved by both houses of the N.C. General Assembly this week, as “phenomenal.”
The law automatically expunges criminal charges that are dismissed or disposed “not guilty” after Dec. 1, 2021. It also allows individuals to petition for expungement of all nonviolent misdemeanor convictions after seven years of good behavior as well as certain youthful felony and misdemeanor convictions.
Judge Paul C. Ridgeway Receives Outstanding Trial Judge Award
Judge Paul Ridgeway is the senior resident superior court judge in the 10th Judicial District (Wake County). He has served as a superior court judge since 2007. Ridgeway received his bachelor of science degree and a masters of public administration from North Carolina State University. He received his juris doctorate, cum laude from Campbell University School of Law. He received a postgraduate degree from the University of Amsterdam in the law of the European Community. Prior to being elected as a judge, Ridgeway practiced law in a wide variety of areas, including commercial litigation, commercial transaction, and administrative law matters.
NCAJ President-elect John McCabe, who presented the Outstanding Trial Judge Award to Ridgeway, described him as “inherently fair at his core.”
“He is respected for his integrity, objectivity, his knowledge and his application of the law,” he said. “You’ll never hear a lawyer complaining about having to appear before him.”
Chief Justice Cheri L. Beasley Receives Outstanding Appellate Judge Award
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley began her judicial career as a district court judge in Cumberland County where she served for a decade before being elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2008. She served as an associate justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court for seven years before being appointed by Gov. Cooper to lead the North Carolina Supreme Court last year. She is the first African American woman in the Supreme Court’s 200-year history to serve as Chief Justice. She is a graduate of Douglass College of Rutgers University, the University of Tennessee College of Law and Duke University School of Law where she obtained her LL.M.
NCAJ Board of Governors member Sonya Pfeiffer presented the Outstanding Appellate Judge Award to Beasley. She said she has looked up to Beasley since becoming an attorney.
“We thank you for your leadership, particularly now when you have taken such an incredible leadership position with COVID and how it has impacted attorneys across the state,” Pfeiffer said.
In addition to these awards, NCAJ honored six members with Ebbie Awards, named for Ebbie Bailey, the first lady emeritus of NCAJ, who helped founding member Allen Bailey establish the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers over 50 years ago. The Ebbie Award was established in 2003 to recognize service and inspired commitment to NCAJ and its mission. Ebbie Award winners for 2020 are:
Michael S. Adkins of Salisbury
Michael S. Adkins practices in Salisbury at AdkinsCarter P.A., where he handles personal injury, motor vehicle collisions, wrongful death and elder abuse matters. He is a 1984 graduate of Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, and a 1987 graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law. Mike is the 2019-2020 chair of the Auto Torts and Premises Liability section and lives in Rowan County with his wife Cindy, a just-retired teacher.
Carmaletta L. Henson of Raleigh
Carma Henson is a partner at Henson Fuerst, P.A., where she practices with her husband, David Henson, her brother-in-law Thomas Henson Jr. and Rachel Fuerst. She joined Henson Fuerst, P.A. when she graduated from UNC Law School in 1999, and has spent her career fighting to protect the rights of people who have been hurt, abused or neglected through no fault of their own. Her practice is focused on handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases, which means battling the large corporations that operate nursing homes with a primary goal of making a large profit instead of fulfilling their obligations to take care of our most vulnerable and frail population.
Jennifer Moeller Lechner of Garner
Jennifer Moeller Lechner is the executive director of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, a position she has held since 2008. Before moving to North Carolina, she founded and operated a Maine-based company focused on legal association management. She served as the first executive coordinator of the Justice Action Group, Maine’s access to justice entity, and as the first coordinator of a unified statewide fundraising campaign for all Maine legal aid providers. She currently serves on the NCAJ board of governors.
Jason A. Orndoff of Hickory
Jason A. Orndoff is a solo practitioner in Hickory handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. He earned his bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his law degree from UNC School of Law. A member of NCAJ since 2001, he has served as chair of the Auto Torts Section, on the board of governors, and as a PAC trustee. He lives in Hickory with his wife Nikki, and son Graham.
Kimberly Wilson White of Raleigh
Kimberly Wilson White is the managing shareholder of Wilson Law, P.A. in Raleigh. She received her law degree from West Virginia University, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For nearly 20 years, White has represented plaintiffs in personal injury cases involving dangerous pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, defective products and medical malpractice. Recently, she was appointed to the Expert and Science Committee in the 3M Products Liability Litigation pending in the Northern District of Florida. White has served NCAJ as a lobbyist, PAC trustee and member of the board of governors, Finance and Nominating & Awards committees.
Kim Crouch of Cary
Kim Crouch has served for three years as executive director of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Crouch has spent her career serving the public and the legal profession. Prior to serving as executive director of NCAJ, she was the Director of Governmental Affairs for the North Carolina Bar Association for over 10 years. Before her time at NCBA, Crouch served as Director of Public Affairs for the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Currently, Crouch serves on the board of North Carolina’s Equal Access to Justice Commission, which works to expand access to the civil justice system for low income people. Crouch is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy and public relations from Syracuse University. Crouch and her husband, Ed, reside in Cary with their two children Cooper and Casey.