UNC School of Law Announces Annual Alumni Association Awards

February 19, 2020

Four will be recognized for their significant contributions to the legal field.

RESCHEDULED: Law Reunion Weekend has been rescheduled for September 25 and 26, 2020. With guidance from the Carolina Law Foundation Board of Directors, the leadership of the Law Alumni Association has decided to postpone Law Reunion Weekend. Given travel bans currently in place at many firms and companies, and the fluid nature of responses to the COVID-19 spread, your leadership team believes it is prudent to make this change now so all attendees can plan accordingly. In the meantime, however, please mark your calendars for our new date—September 25-26, 2020. The Law Alumni Leadership Awards will be presented during the North Carolina Bar Associations Annual Meeting in Charlotte on Friday, June 26, 2020.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law Alumni Association will honor three exceptional graduates and one exemplary faculty member at its annual Leadership and Awards Dinner on Friday, May 1, 2020 at The Carolina Inn.

The awards recognize members of the UNC School of Law community who embody the law school’s mission to serve the legal profession; the people and institutions of North Carolina; the nation; and the world with ethics and dedication to the cause of justice.

Doris R. Bray ’66
Robert “Bob” C. Hunter ’69
Brooks F. Jaffa ’12
Deborah Gerhardt
Deborah R. Gerhardt

Four Law Alumni Association Awards will be presented:

  • Doris R. Bray ’66, of Greensboro N.C., a former partner and current of counsel at Schell Bray PLLC, will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her career that has been highly distinguished as well as her achievements and contributions that are widely recognized as significant and outstanding in the legal field.  Bray’s practice concentrates in the business and transactional areas. Over the years, Bray has represented both buyers and sellers in hundreds of business acquisitions—through mergers, stock acquisitions and sales and purchases of business assets in both taxable and tax-free transactions. Bray is an experienced securities lawyer, having acted as legal counsel in connection with public offerings and private placements of both equity and debt securities. She has represented public companies in connection with their compliance obligations under the federal securities laws. Bray has also represented clients, including buyers, sellers and management, in leveraged buyouts, private equity and venture capital investments. Bray served for 20 years as a member, and as vice chair and chair, of the North Carolina General Statutes Commission, a state commission charged with monitoring and updating the statutory laws of North Carolina. She also served on the drafting committees for the rewrites of the North Carolina Business Corporation Act and the North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act.
  • The Honorable Robert “Bob” C. Hunter ’69, of Marion, N.C., a justice on the Supreme Court of the Eastern Band of Cherokees and former judge to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, will be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award, for his accomplishments and contributions that have enhanced the school and the profession of law at the local, state, national and international levels. During his 16 years on the Court of Appeals, he decided over 5,000 cases and authored over 1,600 opinions. He retired at the end of 2014. Currently, he serves as a justice on the Supreme Court of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and chair of the NC Property Tax Commission. Hunter’s appointment and then election to the Court of Appeals capped two distinguished careers; one, as a practicing lawyer for 29 years and another as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for almost 18 years. He is former chair of the Council of State Governments, the Southern Legislative Conference, and the North Carolina Courts Commission. Among Hunter’s proudest achievements were his helping secure passage of the Highway Trust Fund, Natural Gas Expansion, Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund, Certificates of Participation (COPS), Limited Liability Company Act, Decriminalization of Minor Traffic Offences, and Lake James State Park legislation.
  • Brooks F. Jaffa ’12, of Charlotte, N.C., an attorney with Cranford, Buckley, Schultze, Tomchin, Allen & Buie, will receive the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award for his achievements that have brought credit to the school, the legal profession, and our society. After law school, Jaffa was an associate with Davies Law, PLLC in Charlotte, practicing primarily in the area of estate planning, before beginning a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Frank D. Whitney, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Jaffa practices in fiduciary litigation, commercial litigation, estate planning, and estate administration. He was recognized by Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite in the category of Tax/Estate Planning and as a “Young Gun” for the last three years, as well as in the 2019 and 2020 editions of the The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Trusts and Estates. Jaffa is active in the North Carolina Bar Association. He is chair of the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section’s Pro Bono Committee, is on the Legislative Committee and is administrative division director of the NCBA’s Young Lawyers Division (YLD). He oversaw the provision of disaster legal services to victims of Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew. For his efforts with the Hurricane Matthew response, Jaffa received the Younger Lawyer Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award from the NCBA and the Pro Bono Award for Outstanding Collaborative Project from the Mecklenburg County Bar.
  • Deborah R. Gerhardt, of Chapel Hill, N.C., Reef C. Ivey II Excellence Fund Term Professor of Law, will receive the Professor S. Elizabeth Gibson Award for Faculty Excellence for embodying the outstanding qualities of integrity, legal scholarship, exemplary teaching, and commitment to service to UNC School of Law and the University. Gerhardt joined the faculty in 2009 and specializes in intellectual property law, with a particular focus on the intersection of law and creativity. She teaches Arts Entrepreneurship, Art Law, Copyright Law, Trademark Law and Contracts. In 2018, she was awarded UNC’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction. Gerhardt has written many influential essays and articles on copyright, trademark and law and entrepreneurship. Her work has appeared in the Notre Dame Law Review, the Journal of the Copyright Society and Slate. Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Gerhardt clerked for the Honorable Judge John M. Manos in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and practiced in the intellectual property section at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her A.B. degree from Duke University and her J.D. degree cum laude from Case Western Reserve School of Law where she was the executive notes editor of the Law Review.

Read more about the Law Alumni Association’s awards.

Tickets to the awards dinner are available for purchase through Law Reunion Weekend registration.

Please contact Kelly Mann (assistant director of alumni and donor relations) at mann@unc.edu or 919.445.0170 with questions.