Faculty Member Cheryl Howell Receives State Bar’s Distinguished Service Award

The North Carolina State Bar recently honored North Carolina Judicial College faculty member Cheryl D. Howell with a John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award. In recognition of her “exemplary service to the legal profession,” Howell was presented with the honor by the State Bar President Marcia H. Armstrong at the North Carolina District Court Judges Conference in June 2023.

The Bar recognized Howell’s more than three decades of service to the “legal profession and the citizens of North Carolina as an educator of both judges and attorneys.” The honor celebrates the legacy of its namesake, John B. McMilllan, former president of the Bar and a fellow titan of the state’s legal community.

Howell has served an array of roles in the state’s legal system, including as a member of the Family Court Advisory Commission since its inception in 1998 by appointment of the Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, and as a member of the N.C. Child Custody and Visitation Mediation Advisory Committee by appointment of the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

In supporting her colleague's nomination for the award, Dean Aimee N. Wall sought to celebrate Howell’s devotion to providing dependable, essential education and resources to the state’s legal actors.

“Since arriving at the School, Howell has established herself as a trusted educator and advisor for judicial officials and attorneys in several fields,” she said. “They rely on her research and writing. They seek out her instruction. They can count on her to regularly respond to phone calls and emails from across the state to answer countless legal questions.”

At the School, Howell is regarded by her colleagues as a committed champion of the School’s mission, working steadfastly to leverage her scholarship in the pursuit of improving the lives of North Carolinians.

“She does not seek the limelight.  She is dedicated to her craft and to her people,” said North Carolina Judicial College Director Shea Riggsbee Denning. “These people include the state court judges whom she has spent more than 30 years teaching and advising, her colleagues at the School of Government, and countless lawyers across North Carolina who seek her sage advice.”

The Distinguished Service Award program was approved by the State Bar Council in 2008. Since its inception, over 80 lawyers have received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award. Howell joins six other attorneys who have been honored thus far to join the 2023 list.

Howell’s latest honor adds to her impressive record of accolades in the legal sphere: she was awarded the Women of Justice Legal Scholar Award in 2013 and the North Carolina Bar Association’s prestigious Liberty Bell Award in 2022.

Howell has served on the School’s faculty since 1992 and is an Albert Coates Professor of Public Law and Government. Her publications include articles and bulletins relating to family law and family court, as well as chapters created for the Trial Judges’ Bench Book, District Court Edition. Howell earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Appalachian State University and a J.D. with honors, Order of the Coif, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.