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Moore & Van Allen celebrates service contributions at 17th annual Public Service Luncheon

Firm recognizes philanthropy of attorneys, staff and community partners
July 2018

Moore & Van Allen PLLC honored select firm attorneys and staff at its 17th annual Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Luncheon in June. Litigation Member Randel E. Phillips received the hallmark 2018 Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award for his commitment to public service. Additionally, the Outstanding Volunteer Staff Member Award was presented to Human Resources Administrative Coordinator Patty LaQuay and the Outstanding Legal Department Partner Award was given to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office.

The annual Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Luncheon celebrates the many public service and pro bono hours that Moore & Van Allen (MVA) attorneys, staff and community partners have donated over the course of the previous year. In 2017, MVA attorneys and staff collectively donated 10,111 pro bono and public service hours. The Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award, which bears the name of two honored members of the Moore & Van Allen family, is presented internally to recognize one individual’s superior commitment to public service. The Van Allens’ trail-blazing commitment to the good of the community continues to inspire firm pro bono and public service efforts today. 

“It’s a privilege to practice law, a privilege that’s deserved only to the extent that an independent legal profession continues to serve the public interest. That means every generation of lawyers must spend time maintaining the profession as a vehicle for public service. Part of that is the hard work needed to make the benefits of the rule of law accessible to the poor and struggling middle class. If only the rich and powerful have quality legal representation, the motto on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court—‘Equal Justice Under Law’—can become a cruel joke,” Phillips stated after accepting the award, which was presented by MVA General Counsel Caroline Hubbell Yingling.    

Phillips, who practices in the firm’s Litigation group, has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and effort to improve the legal profession throughout his career. In the past 13 years, Phillips has served on the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners, the statet agency charged with admitting attorneys to practice law in North Carolina. During his tenure on the Board of Law Examiners, he served for two years as board chair and served as the Board’s liaison to North Carolina law schools, liaison to the North Carolina State Bar, and liaison to the North Carolina Bar Association. Phillips has played a role in many of the Board’s initiatives, including North Carolina’s recent adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam; he has graded thousands of Bar exams, and spent hundreds of hours in hearings dealing with bar applicants character and fitness issues. Phillips has also provided numerous other organizations with his sound guidance and leadership, including but not limited to: theommunity School of the Arts; Charlotte Arts & Science Council; Friends of the Arts at Davidson Advisory Board; the Urban Ministry Center; the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation Board of Directors, and former chair of the Bar Foundation’s McMillan Fund Committee, which awards McMillan Fellowships to promising law students for summer work in the public service and public interest sectors.

LaQuay received the Outstanding Volunteer Staff Member Award for her dedication to reducing the high euthanasia rates of animals that have been abandoned or forgotten within our community. In 2011, LaQuay founded Paws4Life, a non-profit organization formed primarily to better the lives of stray, feral and abandoned homeless cats in Union County.

The Outstanding Legal Department Partner Award was presented to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. Over the past six years, the District Attorney’s Office has collaborated with MVA’s civil litigation team to offer a secondment program that provides one MVA associate with the opportunity to serve as a sworn assistant district attorney for six months. The partnership allows select firm associates to gain valuable courtroom experience while also serving the community at-large.

Firm Chairman Tom Mitchell gave the opening remarks at the luncheon. Christine DeBiase, chief administrative officer and general counsel of Brighthouse Financial, served as the keynote speaker. The event was held at Charlotte Marriott City Center.