About 125 people gathered to recognize excellence in the in-house legal community today at the third annual In-House Leaders in the Law award ceremony sponsored by The Mecklenburg Times and North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
Eleven attorneys were honored.
“You are the ones who consistently go above and beyond that which is asked of you,” Mecklenburg Times and Lawyers Weekly Publisher Tonya Mathis told the crowd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Charlotte, noting that the recipients not only demonstrated excellence in the practice of law but also in contributing to their communities and balancing work and family life.
For the first time, a special category was added for promoting diversity and inclusion. The award went to the entire legal department at Bank of America.
In giving the award, Valecia McDowell said the bank had offered much-needed support — economic and leadership — to the Mecklenburg County Bar Association’s diversity task force.
Accepting the award for Bank of America was Stacie McGinn, deputy general counsel.
Diversity is “one of our core values,” McGinn said. She said lawyers in the bank’s legal department are required to have goals based on promoting diversity, and those goals are part of their evaluations.
McGinn said in an interview that the commitment to diversity isn’t something that just happened overnight.
“It goes back many years,” she said. And as female attorney in her 50s, she said she can appreciate the need for the efforts. When she began working in banking law, male lawyers would say they would use the women to “get in the door” and then bring in the male lawyers to close the deal.
The recipients of the awards represented lawyers who work with everything from hospitals to grocery store chains to energy companies. In each case, the lawyers recognized showed a willingness to tackle the challenges facing their employers.
Those honored were Keith Agisism of Bank of America, Nancy B. Aycock of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, Y. Canaan Huie of the office of North Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Joe Hackney, Joshua Malcolm of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Stephen Mayo of Bank of America, Richard G. Pratt of Lowe’s Cos., David P. Sousa of Medical Mutual Insurance Co. of North Carolina, Susan Sowell of Fair Point Communications, John P. Stanley of Levano, Jason Stevens of Food Lion and Lisa F. Vaughn of Duke Energy.
Click here to download the event publication featuring profiles of the winners.