Janet Ward Black of Ward Black Law in Greensboro was honored on Feb. 7 as the 10th recipient of The Advocate’s Award. Presented as merited by the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, the award recognizes “superstars” of the section and the legal profession.
Amanda Martin, section chair, presented the award in Greensboro during a special reception held in conjunction with a meeting of the Litigation Section council.
Attorneys and staff from Ward Black Law also participated in the event. Black is the principal owner of the 36-person firm, which is one of the largest woman-owned law firms in the state, and the first woman to receive The Advocate’s Award.
Black served as president of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Foundation in 2007-08, initiating the annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day that celebrated its 11th anniversary on March 2.
Black is also a past president of the North Carolina Association of Trial Lawyers (now N.C. Advocates for Justice), the Rowan County Bar Association and the Rowan County Democratic Women. She was the fourth woman to serve as president of the NCBA, the third woman to serve as president of the N.C. Association of Trial Lawyers, and only the second lawyer in history to serve as president of both organizations.
A native of Kannapolis, Black graduated from Davidson College cum laude with a degree in economics and attained her law degree at Duke University. While in college, she was awarded the title of Miss North Carolina in 1980, and won the Grand Talent Award at the 1981 Miss America pageant.
She has been a motivational speaker to over 50 civic, community and youth organizations since 1985, was named one of the “Outstanding Community Leaders of America” in 1987 and has received the N.C. Jaycees’ Award of Excellence.
Black was the first woman member of the Salisbury Rotary Club. Her favorite current endeavor, however, is the C12 Group, a national Christian organization of business owners dedicated to turning the workplace into a benevolent mission.
In the NCBA, she has served as a member and chair of the Litigation Section and Strategic Planning Committee, and co-chair of the Tort Reform Task Force. She was a member of the Board of Governors and its Executive Committee, Lawyer Effectiveness/Quality of Life, Women in the Profession and Law School Liaison committees. She has been a regular speaker on the NCBA’s CLE circuit since 1989.
Black is also a frequent, tireless volunteer in the Greensboro community for a sheaf of charitable projects, including the Appalachian Service Project, Save a Generation-Nicaragua and El Salvador, and Habitat for Humanity in Honduras. She has made countless mission trips to all corners of the world.
Previous recipients of The Advocate’s Award are (2006) Charles L. Becton, (2007) J. Donald Cowan Jr., (2009) H. Grady Barnhill Jr., (2010) James T. Williams Jr., (2011) Alan W. Duncan, (2012) Charlie Blanchard, (2013) A. Ward McKeithen), (2015) James E. Ferguson II and (2016) Bill Womble Jr.