We are proud to announce that Howard Gum is the recipient of the North Carolina State Bar’s John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the legal profession. The award will be presented at the October 2016 luncheon meeting of the 28th Judicial District Bar.
The Distinguished Service Award committee evaluates nominees based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:
- Cultivating knowledge of the law beyond its use for clients, employing that knowledge in reform of the law, and working to strengthen legal education.
- Furthering the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system.
- Devoting professional time and resources and providing civic leadership to ensure equal access to our system of justice for all those who, because of economic or social barriers, cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel.
- Aiding the legal profession by helping the bar regulate itself in the public interest and by seeking to improve the administration of justice and the quality of services rendered by the legal profession.
- Providing professional services at no fee or a reduced fee to persons of limited means or to public service or charitable groups or organizations, by service in activities for improving the law, society, the legal system or the legal profession, and providing financial support for organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.
- Treating opposing counsel with courtesy and respect; encouraging and counseling peers by providing advice and mentoring; and fostering civility among members of the bar.
Promoting diversity and diverse participation within the legal profession.
Mr. Gum is an active member of the Family Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has served several terms as a councilor, Committee Member, and two terms as Chair of the Family Law Section. He is the only lawyer in North Carolina to have served two terms as chair of the Family Law Section. In 1987, the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization formed the Family Law Specialty Committee for the purpose of establishing a Specialty Certification in Family Law. Mr. Gum chaired the initial committee and continued to serve in that capacity for six years while the standards for certification of family law were developed. In 1996, Mr. Gum was appointed to the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization which oversees the administration of all specialty certifications permitted in North Carolina. He served as both Vice Chair and Chair of the Board of Legal Specialization through June of 2001.
In 2000, Mr. Gum was appointed by the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court to serve on committees of the North Carolina Administrative Office of Courts. At the time, he was one of only two attorneys in private practice serving on the Family Courts Advisory Committee of the Administrative Office of Courts. Mr. Gum was reappointed in 2001 and again in 2004 to three year terms on the FCAC. Prior to 2000, he served on the Administrative Office of the Courts Ad Hoc Advisory Committee chaired by Judge John Snow, to develop a NC Uniform Continuance Policy. He also served on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Lawyer Effectiveness and Quality of Life Committee, and previously served on the Board of Directors of North Carolina BarCARES, Inc.
In 2006, he was elected as the 28th Judicial District Councilor to the North Carolina State Bar, the state regulatory agency charged with regulating lawyers and the practice of law in North Carolina, where he served on the grievance, administrative and authorized practice of law committees. He served the 28th in this capacity through 2015. Also in 2006, the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization established the Howard L. Gum Service Award, honoring his commitment to excellence in the profession through his service towards legal specialization in North Carolina. He served as president of the NC Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a 6-year commitment (president-elect, president and immediate past president) as well as other committees within that organization.
He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1992 and was a charter member of the North Carolina Chapter. He has been included in Best Lawyers in America consistently for more than 20 years and listed as the 2014 Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Asheville. He has been included in North Carolina Super Lawyers since its inception in North Carolina in 2006 and included in its Top 100 list in 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, Mr. Gum was awarded the Leaders in the Law Award, given by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly and Elon University School of Law. In 2012, he was awarded the North Carolina Bar Association Family Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award, a recognition which hasn’t been awarded since 2000.
He speaks frequently at continuing legal education programs for lawyers, has written and presented manuscripts on several different topics relating to Family Law, and has presented in arbitration training programs on behalf of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.