Byte of Prevention Blog

Legal Legends of Color Honorees Announced

Lawyers Mutual congratulates the recipients of the North Carolina Bar Association’s annual Minorities in the Profession Legal Legends of Color Award. Each year, at the NCBA's annual meeting, the NCBA awards several well deserving minority members of the legal profession with the Legal Legends of Color Award. The awardees are nominated by their peers and this year's awardees have made enormous contributions to the profession and had a significant impact on our judicial system. 

This year's awardees include the Honorable James Andrew Wynn, Charles Becton, the Honorable Patricia A. Hinnant (Ret.), Cindy Marie Patton, and Karl Adkins (posthumously).

The Honorable James Andrew Wynn
Judge Wynn has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit since 2010. He recently announced his plan to step down from the 4th Circuit. Prior to serving in that role, Judge Wynn was a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 1990 to 2010 and briefly served as a justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Judge Wynn has received numerous awards during his career, including the NCBA Liberty Bell Award.

Charles Becton
Charles Becton served as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 1981 to 1990. Becton is a litigator who has received numerous awards for his service and accomplishments. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Board of Trial Attorneys and the International Society of Barristers. He is a past president of the NCBA and the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. In addition to his service on the bench and work in private practice, Becton teaches trial advocacy skills. 

The Honorable Patrice Hinnant
Judge Hinnant served on the bench for twenty-two years, including nine years as Resident Superior Court Judge and thirteen years on the Guilford County District Court. Hinnant, who serves as a State Bar Councilor, has been a pioneer in the Guilford County legal community. She was the first Black female Assistant Public Defender, the first female elected District Court Judge from the Democratic Party, the first Black female and first sitting judge elected President of the Greensboro Bar Association, First Black female Resident Superior Court Judge, and first Black female elected State Bar Councilor.

Cindy Marie Patton
Cindy Marie Patton began her career as a staff attorney for Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont. While at Legal Services, she became the Team Leader for the family law unit and was later promoted to Managing Attorney. She later joined Legal Aid of North Carolina. For more than 30 years, she has represented low-income residents of North Carolina in areas including landlord/tenant, domestic violence, unemployment benefits, bankruptcy, and consumer law. Under her leadership as Managing Attorney, Patton grew the staff and expanded the services offered to low-income clients.

Karl Adkins (posthumously)
After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1971, Karl Adkins started his legal career as a clerk for District Court Judge Damon Keith in Detroit, Michigan. He later joined the law firm of Chambers, Stein, Ferguson and Lanning. Adkins focused his practice on criminal defense and personal injury. After thirty-two years of private practice, Adkins was appointed as a Superior Court Judge in 2005. He served for three years on the bench. He served as President of Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, member of the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners, President of the North Carolina Bar Association of Black Lawyers, and as a member of the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers.


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