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Board of Legal Specialization Recognizes Milestones, Announces Service Awards 

Luncheon (1)The Board of Legal Specialization at its annual luncheon recognized newly certified specialists as well as specialists who have been certified for 25 and 30 years. The board also announced the recipients of the Service and Excellence Awards at the luncheon on May 17, 2019. The awards were established in 2006 and were named for three individuals (Howard Gum, Jim Cross, and Sara Davis) who were instrumental to the establishment and maintenance of the standards for what is now recognized as one of the most successful legal specialization programs in the country.

Pictured, left to right, are Chalk Broughton, Justice Robert Edmunds, Alice Neece Mine, Parker Herring, and Brian Oten

Congratulations to the recipient of the 2019 Howard L. Gum Service Award – Immigration Law Specialist Tom Fulghum. Tom has exemplified dedicated leadership by serving as chair of his specialty committee since 2017.. He has focused his specialty committee on bettering the exam as well as challenging each committee member to improve questions assigned to them. He has worked with the committee as a whole, and with committee members individually to be sure that the exam exemplifies what attorneys should know in order to call themselves specialists.

Congratulations to the recipient of the 2019 James E. Cross Jr. Leadership Award – Privacy and Information Security Law Specialist Matt Cordell. Matt has been an attorney since 2007 and a specialist since 2018. He is the author of dozens of blogs about cutting edge issues in his field, has frequently spoken at CLE and other educational events, and has been a leader and innovator in his specialty. He is the founder and chair of his specialty area, and through his dedication and hard work has established the first ever state bar specialization program of its kind. His commitment to his specialty led to the certification of the first class of specialists this past fall, and set the NC State Bar and the state of North Carolina apart from the rest of the nation in a groundbreaking area of legal specialization.

DoughtyThe 2019 Sara H. Davis Excellence Award was presented to Trademark Law Specialist Angela Doughty. Angela has been a specialist since 2013. She has participated in the North Carolina Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section since 2007, and has served in various positions including committee chair and council member, and worked on the executive committee in officer positions including secretary, treasurer, vice-chair, and chair. She worked with the North Carolina State Bar and Bar Association to create her specialty committee, on which she served from 2012-2018, and she was one of the first individuals certified in her specialty area. In addition, she has spoken at various events for lawyers and has been recognized by clients and peers with numerous other awards.

Spotlight: Robert A. Mason

Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law and Chair, Board of Legal Specialization 

MasonAs a part of the annual meeting of the board, Larry Rocamora, vice-chair, conferred the following Resolution of Appreciation to Robert A. Mason (pictured far left) for his service as chair of the Board of Legal Specialization. 

WHEREAS, the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization desires to recognize the service of Robert A. Mason and his contributions to the legal profession and to the North Carolina State Bar; and

WHEREAS, Bob’s belief in the importance of specialty certification to the public and to his own professional development were demonstrated by contributions to the creation of the Elder Law specialty in North Carolina, as well as his certification as an elder law specialist by both the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization and the National Elder Law Foundation; and

WHEREAS, from 2007 to 2013, Bob served on the Elder Law Specialty Committee, including one year as its chair and, in 2013, Bob was appointed by the North Carolina State Bar Council to serve on the Board of Legal Specialization and has served continuously on the board, including the past two years as its chair; and

WHEREAS, Bob never takes himself too seriously but has always taken the business of certifying lawyers as specialists very seriously; and

WHEREAS, Bob has guided the Board of Legal Specialization through difficult policy issues with a wise but gentle hand, including the streamlining of the program’s recertification process, the creation of the Privacy and Information Security Law specialty and the administration of its first exam in 2018, and the effective campaign to express support for North Carolina’s protection of the terms “specialist” and “specialize” in the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct; and

WHEREAS, Bob pursued and deservedly achieved a reputation for running efficient meetings that lasted no longer than necessary; and

WHEREAS, Bob has served as a member of the Board of Legal Specialization with enthusiasm, sincerity, wisdom, and humor; and

WHEREAS, Bob treats the members of the specialization staff as peers and friends, for which the staff is grateful; and

WHEREAS, Bob’s strong, and intelligent leadership will be missed by the board, the Specialty Committee members, the staff, and the lawyers of North Carolina.


That the members of the Board hereby express their appreciation and gratitude to Robert A. Mason for his outstanding devotion to and service with the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Please Support NC LEAF

NC LEAFDeonte’ Thomas (pictured on the left), board certified specialist in state criminal law, spoke at the Annual Luncheon about his experience with the NC LEAF (Legal Education Assistance Foundation) specialization scholarship program. Deonte’ received scholarship funding in 2015 when he applied for certification. NC LEAF specialization scholarships cover application fees, up to $250, for prosecutors, public defenders, and legal services providers. Donations were accepted at the luncheon, and the total amount of funding raised was $1,182! This will cover approximately five new scholarships for 2019. Thank you to all who contributed. If you would like to support this program, please send tax-deductible donations to: NC LEAF Specialization Scholarship, 217 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27601-1015. Online donations are accepted at