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Women of Justice Awards Honor North Carolina Judicial Members
News imageNorth Carolina Lawyers Weekly celebrated several North Carolina judicial members during the first Women of Justice awards reception on November 15, 2012. Those receiving this inaugural award included Chief District Court Judge Lisa C. Bell, Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell, Judge Ty Hands, and Judge Elizabeth Trosch (all of Mecklenberg County); Judge Gwynett Hilburn (Pitt County); and Tammy West (Prosecutorial District 25).

North Carolina Lawyers Weekly strives to celebrate the achievements of the legal community through events that work to connect North Carolina's legal professionals. The Women of Justice awards recognize women across the state of North Carolina who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice, and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession. The awards will reach out to women in various segments of the legal community, including the bar, the bench, public office, business, academia, non-profits, and the state-at-large.

Chief District Court Judge Lisa C. Bell had the additional distinction of receiving the Woman of the Year award. This award, the biggest of the evening, recognizes that woman whose fulfillment of the above ideals truly stands out in making an extraordinary difference in improving the quality of justice or exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession.

Judge Lisa Bell has served as chief district court judge for Judicial District 26 since January 2009, when she was appointed by Chief Justice Sarah Parker. She has served as a district court judge in Charlotte since 1998. In her career, she has presided over everything from criminal trials to juvenile delinquency court to mental health court. She is a state certified juvenile judge. Prior to her election in 1998, Judge Bell was in private practice as a family lawyer and had also served as an attorney advocate with the Children's Law Center. Judge Bell graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina, School of Law.

Judge McKoy-Mitchell has served as a district court judge since 1998. Prior to her judicial position, she worked for the District Attorney's Office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Social Security Administration, and Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont. Judge McKoy-Mitchell received both her B.A. and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was one of the youngest recipients of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, a prestigious award presented by the governor of North Carolina to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.

District Court Judge Ty Hands was appointed by Governor Beverly Perdue to the district court in 2009 and was re-elected in 2012. Earlier in her career, Judge Hands clerked on the Supreme Courts of North Carolina and Nevada before coming to Charlotte to practice complex commercial litigation. Judge Hands earned her B.A. from Winston-Salem State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

Judge Elizabeth Trosch took office in 2009. She was re-elected in 2012 for a term that expires in 2016. Judge Trosch received her B.A. degree (Philosophy and Social Psychology) from Hollins College in 1998 and her J.D. from the Wake Forest University School of Law in 2002. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as an assistant public defender in Charlotte.

Judge Gwynett Hilburn of Pitt County has been a district court judge for more than 25 years. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of South Florida and attended Tulane University Law School. She is passionate about juvenile law because of the real change it can have on families and the paths children's lives will take.

Tammy West received the citizenship award. She currently serves as the administrative assistant in the district attorney's office in Prosecutorial District 25. West is passionate about helping victims of abuse and sexual assault. She is especially proud of educating and working with students in the Criminal Justice Career Summer Internship Program and the Mock Trial Program.

More information on the awards and their recipients can be found at

Information provided by Charles Keller, community access and outreach administrator.
Publish Date: 12/03/2012
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