The NCBA Citizen Lawyer Award was established in 2007 to recognize lawyers who provide exemplary public service to their communities. Honorees include elected and appointed government officials, coaches, mentors and voluntary leaders of non-profit, civic and community organizations.
The 2010 recipients are:
- Marcia High Armstrong, Smithfield
- W. Louis Bissette, Jr., Asheville
- Judge Brenda Green Branch, Roanoke Rapids
- Frank Edward Emory, Jr., Charlotte
- Alan Scott Hicks, Roxboro
- Jimmie Banks Hicks, Jr., New Bern
- Henry H. Isaacson, Greensboro
- Mark West Owens, Jr., Greenville
- Thomas W. Ross, Davidson
- Kimberly Woodell Sieredzki, Clayton
- Harriett Twiggs Smalls, Greensboro
- Luther Donald Starling, Jr., Clinton
President of McGuire, Wood & Bissette, PA since 1999, Bissette has practiced law with the firm since 1976. He recevied his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University in 1965, his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1968, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Virginia in 1970.
Regarding his community service and leadership, Bissette remarks, “Over the past 34 years, the private practice of law has afforded me the independence and flexibility to fully participate in the life of my community. These experiences have allowed me to get to know my community and its people. I am truly grateful for having been able to serve my clients as a North Carolina lawyer and for the opportunity it has afforded me to also serve the people of my community in many other ways. It has been a wonderful experience.”
Bissette’s extensive civic and community service include two terms as Mayor of the City of Asheville, from 1985 to 1989. He has served as chairman of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the I-26 Corridor Association, the North Carolina Arboretum Society, and the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation, and vice chairman of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Buncombe County Economic Development Commission, and on numerous other boards and foundations. He is the current vice chairman of the Wake Forest University Trustees and a past trustee of Western Carolina University. He has helped the YMCA, Red Cross, Helpmate, Pisgah Legal Services, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Industries for the Blind and other non-profit organizations raise funds for much needed services.
Numerous awards for his dedication to community life include the J.D. Cooley Award from the Western North Carolina Community Development Association, the Citizenship Award from the Land of Sky Regional Council, the Big A and Chairman's awards from the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Centennial Award from the North Carolina Bar Association.