Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

NC Advocate of Justice is One of Nation’s Largest Trial Groups

Did you know the NC Advocates of Justice is the third-largest trial lawyers association in America and has been around for more than 60 years?

Or that it produces more than 40 original CLE programs each year, in addition to sponsoring high school mock trial competitions, mentorship outreach, and women’s advocacy events?

With that legacy, it’s no wonder the NCAJ boasts more than 2,000 members and is stronger than ever.

Visit the NCAJ website here.

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60 Years of Empowering Trial Lawyers

From the NCAJ website:
“In the 1960s in North Carolina, the plaintiffs’ bar was just emerging, and large, corporate firms dominated. A small group of solo and small-firm trial attorneys – Eugene Phillips, William Thorp, Allen Bailey, Charles Blanchard and James Clontz to name a few – shared a passion for representing individuals against the big firms. In 1962, they banded together with a handful of likeminded lawyers to create a collegial society for plaintiffs’ attorneys. Their vision was to share information and support one another, provide practical legal education for trial lawyers and advocate for clients’ rights at the legislature, in the courts and through general elections. They christened their group the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, and it is today the North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

Presidents of the NCATL and NCAJ

  • James W. Clontz, 1962-1969 
  • Charles F. Blanchard, 1970-1972
  • Judge Eugene H. Phillips, 1972-1974
  • William L. Thorp, 1975-1976 
  • Allen A. Bailey, 1977-1978
  • William H. Holdford, 1979-1980 
  • Alfred S. Bryant, 1980-1981 
  • Howard F. Twiggs, 1981-1982 
  • John D. Warlick Jr., 1982-1983 
  • James R. Van Camp, 1983-1984 
  • James L. Nelson, 1984-1985 
  • Walter W. Baker Jr., 1985-1986 
  • James B. Maxwell, 1986-1987 
  • William O. King, 1987-1988 
  • Henry C. Babb Jr., 1988-1989 
  • James C. Fuller Jr., 1989-1990 
  • Mary Ann Tally, 1990-1991 
  • William F. Horsley, 1991-1992 
  • Adam Stein, 1992-1993 
  • Richard S. Hunter Jr., 1993-1994 
  • Charles L. Becton, 1994-1995 
  • Douglas B. Abrams, 1995-1996 
  • Wade E. Byrd, 1996-1997 
  • M. Gordon Widenhouse Jr., 1997-1998
  • Elizabeth F. Kuniholm, 1998-1999 
  • William S. Mills, 1999-2000 
  • James E. Ferguson, 2000-2001 
  • Burton Craige, 2001-2002 
  • Janet Ward Black, 2002-2003 
  • Mark T. Sumwalt, 2003-2004 
  • E. Spencer Parris, 2004-2005 
  • Clifford Britt, 2005-2006 
  • Rebecca Britton, 2006-2007 
  • Joseph B. Cheshire V, 2007-2008 
  • Margaret Abrams, 2008-2009 
  • David C. Pishko, 2009-2010 
  • Philip A. Baddour Jr., 2010-2011
  • Gary W. Jackson, 2011-2012 
  • Guy W. Crabtree, 2012-2013 
  • David Teddy, 2013-2014 
  • Danny Glover Jr., 2014-2015 
  • Christopher Nichols, 2015-2016 
  • Bill Powers, 2016-2017 
  • Bradley Bannon, 2017-2018 
  • Mary S. Pollard, 2018-2019 
  • Vernon Sumwalt, 2019-2020 
  • David Henson, 2020-2021
  • John McCabe, 2021-2022 


History | North Carolina Advocates for Justice (

For the Media | North Carolina Advocates for Justice (


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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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