Seeking Nominations for 2023 Bar Awards

The Executive Committee invites your nomination of members of the Buncombe County Bar to receive the 2023 Centennial, Professionalism, Distinguished Young Lawyer and Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Awards are presented at our annual meeting, which this year is June 7, 2023. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, April 28, 2023.

The North Carolina Bar Association Centennial Award honors an individual member of each Judicial District for outstanding service which benefits our local community. Examples of such service include: elected and/or appointed service to local government; civic involvement on boards of community agencies; involvement in public service projects; and volunteer involvement with schools, churches, or other nonprofit organizations. The award is named in honor of the Bar Association’s Centennial (1899-1999).

The Buncombe County Bar Professionalism Award annually recognizes an individual member of our Bar whose consistently courteous, respectful, and professional conduct toward the Court, attorneys, clients, and other parties exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism.

The Distinguished Young Lawyer Award recognizes the contribution to the legal profession and society made by a member of the Buncombe County Bar. To qualify the person must be nominated by a member of the Buncombe County Bar, have been a member of the Bar for less than 10 years; be under 40 years old; and be someone whose contribution to the legal community and society exemplifies high achievement in the legal field along with a dedication to professionalism, ethics and community service.

The Buncombe County Bar Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes extraordinary excellence throughout the career of a member of the legal profession with connections to Buncombe County, as an officer of the legal system and as a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.  This award is given only when it is obviously apparent that an appropriate individual serves to embody of the very highest ideals of the legal profession.

Nominations should be submitted to Lisa-Gaye Hall, Bar Administrator, at Please supply a statement about your nominee and why you recommend them for the award, and your contact information. We welcome letters of support. Thank you for helping the Executive Committee to honor deserving members with these significant awards.

NC Board Certification Notice

Lawyers often limit the kinds of matters that they handle in order to acquire expertise in a specific field of law. Board certification provides formal recognition of that concentration of knowledge and experience.

Although the requirements vary from one specialty area to the next, the minimum standards for certification as a board certified specialist include the following five key requirements:

• Licensed in NC and in good standing with the North Carolina State Bar.
• Substantial involvement in the practice area during the five calendar years prior to the year of application.
• Completion of a certain number of CLE credit hours in the specialty area during the three calendar years prior to the year of application.
• Satisfactory showing of qualification in the specialty area through peer review.
• Passage of a comprehensive examination in the practice area.

Specialty Certification Areas
Appellate Practice ∙ Bankruptcy (business and consumer) ∙ Child Welfare ∙ Criminal (federal, state, and juvenile delinquency) ∙ Elder ∙ Estate Planning and Probate ∙ Family ∙ Immigration ∙ Privacy and Information Security ∙ Real Property (commercial and residential) ∙ Social Security Disability ∙ Trademark ∙ Utilities ∙ Workers’ Compensation

Application period: March 1 – May 1, 2023 : Apply in the State Bar Members Portal Application fee: $250, early application discount of $50 available through April 1.

Contact Denise Mullen at or Sheila Saucier at or call 919-828-4620 for additional information. The North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization:

Nominations Invited for Bar Executive Committee for 2023

The Buncombe County Bar invites nominations for President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three members of the Executive Committee for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

Suggestions for persons to fill these vacancies are welcome. Nominations can be mailed to the Bar Administrator, P.O. Box 7391, Asheville, NC  28802 or emailed to, and must be received by 3 p.m., Monday, April 10th, 2023.  According to the Bar’s By-Laws, any member whose name is submitted for consideration for nomination to any office must have indicated willingness to serve in such office if elected.  Please contact Immediate Past President and Nominating Committee Chairperson Carter Webb with any questions.

The election of officers for the fiscal year of July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024 will occur at the annual meeting of the Bar on June 7, 2023. Additional nominations may be made from the floor at the meeting when the election is held.

Court Navigator Pilot Program Launches at Buncombe County Courthouse

As part of a widespread effort to reduce instances of missed court dates and offer more support to justice-impacted individuals, Buncombe County Justice Services is launching a Court Navigator pilot program.

Justice Services is happy to welcome Betsy Chavez to the Court Navigator role. Chavez is bilingual (fluent in Spanish and English) and will serve as that first point of contact for courthouse visitors and provide immediate and direct assistance and customer service. The pilot program strives to help reduce failure to appear charges by helping connect people to the court reminder notification program and will be based at an information kiosk in the main lobby of the Buncombe County Courthouse. The Court Navigator can provide:

  • Directions/wayfinding to assist people in getting where they need to go in the building
  • Help people sign up for an automated court reminder system
  • Linkage/referrals to justice system and/or community resources for supportive services such as the Justice Resource Center

“The innovative Court Navigation Program can challenge the barriers of access to our Court System,” notes District Court Judge Honorable Julie M. Kepple. “Many folks that walk through our courthouse doors experience anxiety, fear, concern and even trauma. Just trying to find the right courtroom or juggling multiple court dates can be stressful and overwhelming. A trained Courthouse Navigator can intervene by providing a more user-friendly approach to navigating our courts.”

This pilot program is funded by the Safety and Justice Challenge and is contracted through Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina. Through collaboration with the Justice Resource Center, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, and Judicial Branch partners, the Court Navigator can help address initial needs for court appearances. “More than 9,000 individuals have entered the Buncombe County courthouse so far in 2023,” says Buncombe County Sheriff Miller. “We know navigating the criminal justice system can be very challenging, but this new position will make a difference and assist our deputies in better serving our community as they conduct business and go to court.”

For help in the courthouse, individuals can find the kiosk in the lobby, or contact the Justice Resource Center at (828) 250-6401. Sign up for automated court date reminders at