Howard L. Gum Service Award Established in 2006

Public: Recent News

State Bar Presents New Awards Named for Specialization Founders

Excerpt of Press Release from North Carolina Bar Association Dated: 4/7/2006

The efforts of three NCBA members who helped establish the State Bar’s specialization program two decades ago have been commemorated by the N.C. State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, which recently named new awards for NCBA members James E. Cross, Jr., of Oxford and Asheville, attorneys Howard L. Gum and Sarah H. Davis. Initial presentation of the service and excellence awards took place last week at the annual specialists luncheon in Charlotte. All three of the initial recipients are also NCBA members.

Christine L. “Christy” Myatt of Greensboro received the Howard L. Gum Service Award; the James E. Cross Jr. Leadership Award was presented to Joseph B. “Joe” Cheshire, V, of Raleigh; and the Sara H. Davis Excellence Award was presented to Maria L. Lynch, also of Raleigh.

Edward P. “Ted” Tewkesbury of Greensboro, who serves on the Board of Legal Specialization, provided the following commentary which precedes the summaries of each recipient: For the first time in its 20 year history, the Board of Legal Specialization has established a way to recognize the excellent work of board certified specialists across the state.  As you know, board certified specialists represent the best of the image that the legal profession strives to show the public. They are committed to excellence in their practice areas, they continue to educate themselves about the latest developments in their fields, they receive high praise from their peers, and they studied for, and passed, a rigorous examination, even after swearing to all of their friends and family members that if they passed the Bar Exam, they were done with tests forever! The Board takes its goals of providing a service to the public and encouraging competency among the bar, very seriously. We are proud and honored when you all do such good work.

When we established these awards, we looked through our own history and named the awards for three people who were instrumental in setting the standards for one of the top legal specialization programs in the country. Today, we are honoring three board certified specialists, who were nominated by their peers for the following awards: The Howard L. Gum Service Award is given to a specialty committee member who consistently excels in completing committee tasks. The eight specialty committees are the life blood of the specialization program. They are responsible for evaluating every application for certification, including peer references, and writing and grading the examinations. The recipient of the Howard Gum award must be highly dedicated to legal specialization, donate his/her time to committee responsibilities, and respond to the needs of the State Bar staff and the Board, in exemplary fashion.

Howard Gum served as chair of the Family Law Specialty Committee of the board from 1988 until 1995. He organized and oversaw the preparation and administration of the first examination in family law ,and, during his six years as chair of the committee, established the highest standards of organization and fairness, in the administration and grading of the specialty examinations and the peer review process. He helped to organize the informal association of family law specialists known as the “Family Law Roundtable” which still meets annually for professional development and camaraderie.

As a member of the Board of Legal Specialization from 1995 to 2001, Howard gave unselfishly of his time and talent, chaired numerous committees and review panels, helped to implement the board’s Professional Development Plan, heard complex appeals from denials of certification and re-certification, and encouraged the creation of advanced CLE courses. Howard also served as chair of the board from 1999 to 2001. He utilized his organizational skills, his enthusiasm for specialization, and his great humor to lead and inspire the members of the board, to take the creation of the web site for specialization from an idea to a reality, and to weather the vicissitudes of shepherding the new specialty of workers compensation law through a two-year approval process, thus honestly earning the nickname “Hired Gum”.

Howard’s ability to be tactful while getting straight to the point, to disagree without being disagreeable, to bring intellectual insight to problems while maintaining a common-sense approach, to treat everyone with courtesy and generosity regardless of station, and his impassioned support for and dedication to the specialization program led us to establish this award in his honor.

2006: Christine L. Myatt
2008: Jaye Meyer
2009: William “Ned” Manning

Firm Awards