By Alyssa Pressler
The North Carolina Bar Association has a new face leading the charge. Jackie Grant, a partner at Roberts & Stevens in Asheville, became president of the 119-year-old organization on June 23. She is the eighth woman to lead the group, and the second African-American woman.
The Cary-based organization connects more than 20,000 lawyers, paralegals, judges and law students throughout the state, providing educational information, opportunities for volunteer work and publications. It also introduces legislation to the N.C. General Assembly and suggests changes to existing laws.
Grant, 48, will hold the position for one year. She spent the last 12 months shadowing previous president Caryn Coppedge McNeill, an employment attorney at Smith Anderson in Raleigh.
To become president of the N.C. Bar Association, a candidate must be nominated by a group of living former presidents then elected by the members. Both groups considered Grant’s professional reputation, work in the community — she has served on the boards of the YMCA of Western N.C. and Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity — and involvement within the association.
As president, Grant is responsible for conducting meetings, overseeing member correspondence and reviewing the group’s annual report. In addition, Grant says she aims to expand public-service activities and community involvement. “A lot of people have no clue the [N.C.] Bar Association is behind the things it is,” Grant says. “We want to connect our members more with their communities.”
She plans to do this through events such as the annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day, when residents can call in and speak with a lawyer for free. She also plans to start a dialogue with the public about current legislation and how changes might affect them, such as the constitutional amendments that lawmakers put on the November ballot.
Grant will continue her full-time work at Roberts & Stevens, where she’s spent 23 years as a litigator specializing in medical malpractice defense and employment law.
The Asheville native earned degrees at Western Carolina University and UNC School of Law. She returned immediately to her hometown, where she has worked ever since.
“It’s home,” she says. “I have to either be in the mountains or near the ocean.”
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