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Platt D. Walker Planned Giving Society Class of 2020

The Platt D. Walker Planned Giving Society recognizes those individuals who have made a planned gift to support the North Carolina Bar Foundation. Established in 1996, the Society honors the name of Platt D. Walker, who was elected the first president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1899.

Class of 2020

  • LeAnn Nease and Charles Gordon Brown – Chapel Hill
  • Stokely G. Caldwell – Charlotte
  • Edward G. Connette III – Charlotte
  • Jane P. Gray – Raleigh
  • Marcus Harris – Charlotte
  • Linda Funke and Steven W. Johnson – Fuquay-Varina
  • Evan G. Lewis – Washington
  • Erik Mazzone – Raleigh
  • Kimberly Bart Mullikin – Apex
  • Nancy Black Norelli – Charlotte
  • Ramona C. O’Bryant – Greensboro
  • Brandon Alexander Robinson – Durham
  • Robin J. Stinson – Winston-Salem
  • Tamara Jean Stringer – Charlotte

LeAnn Nease Brown and Charles Gordon Brown of Chapel Hill practice with Brown & Bunch, PLLC. Gordon founded the firm, which has offices in Chapel Hill and Raleigh, in 1981. LeAnn and Gordon are longtime members of the North Carolina Bar Association and distinguished bar leaders. LeAnn served as president of the NCBA and North Carolina Bar Foundation in 2019-20.  Gordon has represented District 18 (formerly 15B) on the N.C. State Bar Council since 2017 and is a past president of the Judicial District 15B Bar.

The Browns have a blended family of five children (spouses): James Braxton “Brac” Webb, Edward Austin Webb (Mallory), Charles Mann Brown (Alyssa), Virginia Brown Mallory (Sean) and James Gordon Brown. They have two grandchildren, Sydney Brown and Hayden Brown.

LeAnn holds three degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history (1977), a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the School of Medical Allied Health Sciences (1981), and a Juris Doctor from the UNC School of Law (1984). Gordon received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1972) and his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law (1975).

Stokely Caldwell has vast experience primarily including representation of professional motorsports race car drivers (names such as Gordon, Earnhardt, Harvick, Jarrett, Truex, Patrick, Ambrose); teams (such as Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Wood Brothers Racing, Hi-Rev Racing, Ricky Carmichael Racing); crew members, sponsors; sanctioning bodies; and other industry entities in NASCAR, INDYCAR, Formula 1, World Rally Cary, IMSA, Pirelli World Challenge, MotoAmerica, AMA Supercross, American Flat Track and others.

He also represents entertainment entities in television, film and live entertainment; and representation of sponsors (such as Bank of America) in major arrangements with MLB teams, NFL teams, NBA teams, colleges, and NASCAR and NASCAR teams; as well as venues and events; including representation of athlete representation and marketing agencies; and sports teams such as the Charlotte Hornets; and a major theme park in licensing and entertainment.

Stoke has served on the board of the Sports Lawyers Association for over 15 years and is a frequent speaker on sports and entertainment law, including seminars for the NCBA, the Sports Lawyers Association, The Racing Attorney Conference and the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries.

Edward G. (“Woody”) Connette of Charlotte is a partner with Essex Richards, P.A. After finishing UNC School of Law in 1977, Connette spent three years practicing in Connecticut before returning to North Carolina in 1980. He has been a North Carolina Bar Association member ever since. He has served on the Board of Governors and in leadership positions with various bar committees through the years. He is a recipient of the H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Professionalism Award and the Mecklenburg County Bar’s E. Osborne Ayscue Professionalism Award. Connette is married to Jane Harper, a retired District Court Judge and former North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors member.

Woody has served on the national Board of Trustees and as President for United Cerebral Palsy, based in Washington, D.C., as President of Easter Seals/UCP of North Carolina, as Executive Board Chair for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and as Chair of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbytery of Charlotte.

He has climbed the highest point in all 50 states, including Denali and Mount Rainier. Among those 50 peaks, he successfully reached the highest point in Delaware (442 feet) without Sherpas or supplemental oxygen.

Jane P. Gray of Raleigh is a member of the Charter Class of Campbell University School of Law whose legal career covered all three branches of our government, serving almost 20 years in the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, 3 with the Speaker’s Office of North Carolina General Assembly and 10 years as a District Court Judge.  She is a past Vice President of the NCBA Board of Governors, past President of the Wake County Bar Association, and past Board member of Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Though retired, she is active in the Bar Association and in other community endeavors, including being a current Board member of Family Promise of Wake County and the Women’s Forum.

Her community activities include Highland United Methodist Church serving in every job from Sunday School teacher to chair of the Church Council; member of Altrusa International of Raleigh for the past 27 years and currently Vice-President; current member of the Board of Family Promise of Wake County; Past Chair of the Board of the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill.

Marcus Harris of Charlotte is a graduate of Duke University School of Law, served on the NCBA Board of Governors from 2008-10 as Vice President and on the NCBA Investment Committee from 1988-2019.

He was a certified mediator and has been a FINRA Dispute Resolution Services arbitrator since 1990.  Before retirement in 2020, Harris practiced for 21 years at Helms, Mulliss & Johnston, and its successors, and for 27 years as a partner at Poyner Spruill LLP.  During the early years of his practice, he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve, as President of the Charlotte Duke Alumni Association and as President of the Charlotte Employee Benefits Forum.

He also served as President of United Family Services in Charlotte and as President of the Friendship Trays Board and on the Southminster Board   His activities at Christ Episcopal Church included serving on the Vestry for 12 years in a number of capacities, including Senior Warden.  For the past 25 years, he has served as Chair of the Carolinas College of Health Sciences Board of Directors.

Linda Funke Johnson is the sole shareholder of Senter, Stephenson, Johnson PA in Fuquay-Varina. Her principal areas of practice are Estate Planning, Probate, Real Property, and Guardianship. Ms. Johnson is a Board Member of the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors (2019-2022) and a member of the Elder Law Section, Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section, and Real Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Linda is previously a Co-Editor of two of her sections’ publications, The Will and the Way and North Carolina Estate Administration Manual, Supplemented Sixth Edition (2006/2008). Ms. Johnson is formerly the Chair of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section (2017-2018), Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee of the same section (2015-2017), and Chair of the North Carolina State Bar Legal Specialization Committee, Estate Planning and Probate Law. She earned her Specialization designation in 2007 and became a Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in 2018.

Linda is licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Hawaii, and Connecticut. She earned her B.S. from Fairfield University in 1982 and her Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac College School of Law in 1985.

Evan G. Lewis is a 1977 graduate of the College of William & Mary in Virginia, Evan made the all-conference team as an offensive tackle and was elected to the economics honor society.  He is a 1981 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.

Evan was the managing attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s New Bern and Greenville offices for 14 years.  He was also LANC’s Community Economic Development Practice Group Manager, coordinating and supervising the work of its advocates with non-profits and other community groups throughout the state.

He opened his solo law practice in Washington, North Carolina in 2014.  He specializes in non-profit and small business creation and compliance, consumer protection, social security claims, and civil litigation.   His business clients include hotels, shopping center owners, retail businesses, transportation companies, funeral parlors, restaurants, licensed professionals, local government entities, and many churches and charities.

He lives in Chocowinity, North Carolina, in Beaufort County.  He was formerly chief executive officer of Martin Community Action, Inc., an anti-poverty organization that provided Head Start, Family Self-Sufficiency, and Weatherization assistance in Martin, Pitt, Beaufort, and surrounding counties.

Erik Mazzone serves as the Senior Director of Membership Experience for the North Carolina Bar Association. He leads the membership, practice management, continuing education, communities, and member services teams to deliver the best possible experience and value for NCBA members.

He previously served as the Director of the Center for Practice Management within the NCBA for nine years. His knowledge and technical experience make him one of the best-known practice management experts within the bar community. He has served on numerous American Bar Association technology initiatives and task forces.

He is a graduate of Boston College and Boston College Law School receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1996.

Kim Bart Mullikin serves as Senior Director of the North Carolina Bar Foundation. Previously, Kim worked in legal academia, most recently as Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono at Duke Law School. She also taught at Alabama School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center. Kim is passionate about pro bono and public service work and engaging lawyers, paralegals and law students in service to their communities.

Kim earned her law degree from Duke University, an LLM in Advocacy from Georgetown University and a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University.

She represents the North Carolina Bar Foundation with numerous statewide groups including the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center, the Chief Justice Commission on Access to Justice and Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Nancy Black Norelli was an honors graduate at Wellesley College and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law. She is a member of the NCBA General Practice Hall of Fame and has more than 40 years of legal experience, including nine years as a District Court Judge.

She leads Norelli Law, which represents individuals, fiduciaries and businesses throughout the United States and serves as a neutral at Miles Mediation and Arbitration in Charlotte.

Judge Norelli is past Chair of the NCBA’s Dispute Resolution Section and is a past President of the Mecklenburg County Bar.  She served for nine years as a State Bar Councilor, chaired the NCBA Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee and co-chaired the NCBA Centennial Celebration in 1999.

Mona Cunningham O’Bryant of Greensboro is a partner with Williams Mullen where she focuses her practice on environmental and other regulatory matters. She is a graduate of Alderson Broaddus University (1979) and the University of North Carolina School of Law (1985). O’Bryant served on the NCBA/NCBF Board of Governors/Directors from 1994-97 and is a past chair of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section, CLE Committee and Endowment Committee.

She practiced for 33 years with Smith Moore Leatherwood and its predecessor firms, where her commitment to this organization and community involvement was influenced by former law partners and NCBA/NCBF Past Presidents Beverly Moore, Ozzie Ayscue, Don Cowan, Larry Sitton, Clark Smith and Alan Duncan.

Mona has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading environmental attorney in North Carolina (2007-present) and listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for Environmental Law (2018, 2019). She has been named the Best Lawyers’® “Lawyer of the Year” for Environmental Law in Greensboro (2019) and Raleigh (2020). In 2011, she was selected to Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame in Environmental Law.

Brandon A. Robinson of Durham is a solo practitioner licensed since 2014 and currently serves on the NCBA Board of Governors and NCBF Board of Directors.  He has been an active member of NCBA’s Membership and Judicial Independence committees.

Robinson also currently serves on the Durham County Bar Association Board of Directors and the Western Carolina University Foundation Board, and is presently Vice President and President-Elect of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina Board of Directors.

As a part-time historian, Robinson is also highly active as a member and collaborator of The White House Historical Association in Washington, D.C.  A seventh-generation native of Davie County, Robinson developed his interests in corporate law, estate planning and business litigation were nurtured under the tutelage of NCBA Past-President, Henry P. “Hank” Van Hoy.

Robin J. Stinson focuses her practice on family law and dispute resolution. Robin has practiced in the Triad area for more than 35 years. She is certified as an NC State Bar Family Law Specialist and she is a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Robin currently serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Bar Foundation and she has previously served on the NCBA Board of Governors and as Chair of the Family Law Section. Robin received her undergraduate degree at Duke University, cum laude, and her law degree from UNC School of Law. In 2019.

She was recognized by NC Lawyers Weekly in the inaugural class of Women of Justice.  In 2007, she received the James E. Cross, Jr. Leadership Award presented by the Board of Legal Specialization of the North Carolina State Bar. Robin has been listed annually in Best Lawyers in America in Family Law and Family Law Mediation, in “Legal Elite” for Family Law, and in Super Lawyers (including Top 100 Super Lawyers and the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in North Carolina).

Tammy Stringer is the general counsel for Truist Insurance Holdings. She also serves as secretary for the Truist Insurance Holdings Board of Directors. She joined Truist predecessor BB&T in 2008.

Prior to joining BB&T, Ms. Stringer served in various legal roles at Royal & SunAlliance, USA, Inc. before being named the company’s vice president/assistant general counsel. Prior to that, she was an attorney with Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P. Ms. Stringer began her career in 1987 at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement in Washington, DC.

Ms. Stringer serves on the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Bar Association, the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Bar Foundation, the NCBA Audit and Finance Committee, and is a former Chairman of the NCBA Corporate Counsel Section. She is also past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Stringer received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati and her Juris Doctor from the American University, Washington College of Law.