Students from across the state gathered in Raleigh on Friday, May 5, as the North Carolina Bar Association observed Law Day 2017. Joining the students who are being honored for their efforts in the annual Law Week competitions was Chief Judge Linda McGee of the N.C. Court of Appeals who received the Liberty Bell Award.

The students were recognized for their efforts in essay writing, poster art, photo essay and moot court. The finals of the moot court competition were conducted Friday morning before a distinguished panel of N.C. jurists.

The Liberty Bell award is presented annually by the NCBA’s Young Lawyers Division, which organizes Law Week festivities, in recognition of an individual “who has strengthened the American System of freedom under law.”

A native of Marion whose home is now in Corolla, McGee is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC School of Law. She served as executive director of the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers (now Advocates for Justice) from 1973-78, after which she practiced for 17 years in Boone with di Santi, Watson and McGee.

McGee was appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 1995 and elected to eight-year terms in 1996, 2004 and 2012. McGee has served as chief judge since August 2014.

Previous winners of the Liberty Bell Award are Judge Beth Keever, Judge Sammie Chess Jr., Maj. Gen. (retired) James B. Mallory III, Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Earl Britt, Burley Mitchell, Harry C. Martin, Janice McKenzie Cole, Stacy C. Eggers Jr., E. Maurice Braswell, Herbert L. Richardson, William Joslin, Henry Frye, Robert R. Browning, Lacy Thornburg, James B. Hunt Jr., William C. Friday, Sam J. Ervin III, Terry Sanford, Herbert H. Taylor Jr., James Dickson Phillips Jr., Wade E. Brown, Hiram H. Ward, Kathrine Everett, L. Richardson Preyer, J. Frank Huskins, McNeill Smith, Franklin T. Dupree Jr., Thad Eure, Joseph Branch, Dr. Robert E. Lee, William B. Aycock, Susie Sharp and Sam Ervin Jr.

The national observance of Law Day was first proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on February 3, 1958, and is celebrated annually by the NCBA on the first Friday in May. The national theme for Law Day 2017 is The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy