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  • 03 Jul 2024 4:18 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) announced the recipients of its highest honors this year on Friday, June 13th during the 47th Annual Meeting in Asheville.  This year, the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence was awarded to Kent L. Hamrick, and Isaac N. Northup, Jr. was awarded the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.

    Kent L. Hamrick, a partner at Davis & Hamrick in Winston-Salem, has long been recognized for his commitment to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethics. These traits, alongside his contributions to the organized Bar and community, underscored his selection for the J. Robert Elster Award. Lee Davis, his long-time law partner, commended Kent during the award presentation, emphasizing that "Kent is the epitome of professionalism and integrity." With a legal career spanning over thirty years, Kent distinguished himself in various litigation fields, including insurance defense, professional defense, and construction, and has tried over a hundred jury trials to verdicts in North Carolina. Kent has demonstrated unwavering dedication to justice and the legal profession.

    Isaac "Ike" N. Northup, Jr. was recognized with the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy for his exceptional skills and advocacy for clients in state and federal courtrooms. As a partner at Hall Booth & Smith, with offices in Asheville and Denver, Ike has carved a niche in medical malpractice defense litigation, tackling complex cases involving catastrophic injuries and birth injuries, among others. His colleague, Adam Peoples, praised Ike's ability to engage jurors and create compelling narratives, highlighting his "encyclopedic knowledge of medicine." During Ike's career, spanning over four decades, he has tried in excess of 75 medical malpractice trials to jury verdict and has also tried multiple other cases involving will caveats, theft of trade secrets, arson, fraudulent lending and a host of automobile and general liability cases.

    The NCADA's annual awards shine a light on the remarkable achievements of North Carolina's civil defense trial attorneys who not only excel in their profession but also contribute significantly to the development of the legal community and society. The J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy reflect the NCADA's commitment to fostering a culture of excellence and integrity within the legal profession.

    Please join us in extending heartfelt congratulations to Kent L. Hamrick and Isaac N. Northup, Jr. for their outstanding achievements and their profound impact on the legal profession and the broader community.

  • 20 Jun 2024 2:25 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) is pleased to announce the election of its new leadership at its 47th Annual Meeting from June 13-16, 2024.

    JD Keister has been confirmed as the 47th President of NCADA. Keister, with his practice at McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLP in Raleigh, specializes in civil and complex litigation including construction and insurance defense. He graduated from Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law.

    George Simpson, IV, founder of Simpson Law, PLLC in Raleigh, steps into the role of President-Elect. Simpson, a UNC and UNC Law School alumnus, chaired the latest annual meeting seminar, focusing on AI in litigation and mental wellness.

    Christopher R. Kiger transitions to Immediate Past President after his term. A partner at Smith Anderson, LLP, Kiger's practice focuses on products liability, mass tort, and commercial litigation.

    Erin McNeil Young has been elected as Executive Vice President, setting her up for the presidency in 2026-2027. With 23 years of experience, Young currently manages litigation for Extended Stay Americas and is a UNC School of Law graduate.

    Daniel M. Nunn continues as Treasurer for his second term. A partner at Caudle & Spears, P.A., his work includes construction defect and insurance defense litigation. Nunn is a University of Miami School of Law graduate.

    Nicole B. Slaughter is the new Secretary, previously serving three years on the Board of Directors. A partner at Hamlet Law, her focus is on commercial litigation, construction law, and insurance defense. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Tennessee School of Law.

    The NCADA welcomes new Board members for a 3-year term until 2027:

    These elections reflect NCADA's commitment to fostering expertise and networking among North Carolina's defense attorneys.

    About NCADA
    The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) is a professional organization of over 800 attorneys and paralegals focusing on civil litigation defense. NCADA serves as a resource for civil defense trial attorneys in North Carolina.

    For more information, contact (919) 239-4463 or visit


  • 16 Apr 2024 10:00 AM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    NCADA is pleased to endorse Todd Brown, Sr. for appointment as a Special Superior Court Judge with designation to the Business Court. Governor Cooper nominated Todd earlier in April, and he has received endorsements from the aligned business community, including the NC Chamber, NC Retail Merchants Association, and NC Homebuilders Association.  The nomination was confirmed by the House on April 24 and is now with the Senate.  Todd is the current president of the NC State Bar and is a past president of NCADA and Mecklenburg/26th Judicial District Bar.

  • 10 Apr 2024 5:09 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    Recognize a colleague, mentor or peer you hold in high esteem for the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy this year.

    Present and past members of the NC Association of Defense Attorneys are eligible for consideration as a possible recipient for one of these awards. Recipients will be recognized during the 2024 Annual Meeting during the weekend of June 13-16.

    Deadline for submission is Friday, April 26, 2024. Your letter of nomination should be addressed to Brian Beverly, Chair, Awards Committee, c/o Lynette Pitt, Executive Director, NCADA, by email.

    Learn more about the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy and nominate someone you hold in high esteem.

    A list of Past Recipients may be found here.

  • 27 Mar 2024 4:09 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (“NCADA”) will hold a Judicial Candidates' Forum on Friday, June 14, during the NCADA’s 47th Annual Meeting in Asheville.  The Forum will feature judicial candidates running in statewide elections for seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The appellate races are statewide races that impact all citizens of North Carolina.

    Eight candidates seek election for four open appellate level judicial seats - two candidates for North Carolina Supreme Court and six candidates for North Carolina Court of Appeals. Information about each candidate will made be available on the NCADA’s website at the Judicial Candidates’ Forum page shortly.  Additionally, a Special Candidates Issue of The Resource will be available for download.

    The Forum gives members of the bar, the business community, and the public a rare opportunity to learn about the candidates who wish to serve the state at the appellate court level. Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer a question germane to the members of the civil trial bar and to briefly discuss his or her qualifications for the position.

    The NCADA brings together civil trial attorneys to promote the exchange of information, ideas, and litigation techniques, and to strengthen the practice, improve the skills, and enhance the knowledge of lawyers defending individuals and businesses in North Carolina. For more information about the NCADA or the Judicial Candidates' Forum, please contact the Association office at 919-239-4463 or

  • 26 Mar 2024 8:55 AM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    Nominations Accepted for NCADA Board of Directors & Practice Group Leadership

    The terms of five current members of the NCADA Board of Directors will expire in June 2024. Nominations for the five vacant Director positions are now being accepted to serve a three year term beginning at the close of the 2024 Annual Meeting through the close of the 2027 Annual Meeting.

    Director responsibilities include:

    • Regular attendance and participation at quarterly meetings of the Board;
    • Membership recruitment and retention;
    • Contributing and participating in Association programs and services;
    • Other individual responsibilities as required.

    To qualify for a position on the NCADA Board of Directors, the nominee should

    • Be a member in good standing with the North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys; and
    • Shown commitment and support of the NCADA through regular attendance at the NCADA's Annual Meeting, other programs and activities.

    Leadership opportunities in the NCADA’s Practice Groups are open for nominations. Members interested in the continued growth and relevance of the NCADA through its practice groups will be considered for leadership positions in the following areas of practice: Construction, Commercial, Employment, General Liability, Government, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Workers’ Compensation.

    The following information should be included in the nomination:

    1) Member Name, Firm, contact information and a brief biographical sketch;

    2) Brief statement by the nominee of his or her availability and commitment to actively serve as a member of the Board, or as a practice group leader;

    3) Brief statement why nominee would like to serve as a member of the Board of Directors, or as a practice group leader.

    Persons interested in submitting a nomination may E mail the Nominating Committee in care of Lynette Pitt, Executive Director (E mail:

    Nominations must be received no later than Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 5 p.m.

    Print document.

  • 27 Oct 2023 12:59 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    We are thrilled to announce that Allen C. Smith, from Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP, has been awarded the annual DRI Kevin Driskill Outstanding State Representative Award. This award is a testament to his contributions to the civil defense community, and we couldn't be more proud of his achievements.

    Each year, DRI, a leading organization for attorneys in the defense bar, recognizes exceptional individuals for their professional achievements and volunteer work. The DRI Kevin Driskill Outstanding State Representative Award is given to those who have made significant contributions as state representatives and have demonstrated outstanding dedication to their roles.

    Allen served as president from 2020-2021 and now serves as the state representative for the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) to DRI.  He has actively supported and perpetuated the mission of both organizations, which is to enhance the skills, effectiveness, and professionalism of defense lawyers.

    This award is a well-deserved recognition of Allen's leadership and commitment to the legal profession. Join us in extending our warmest congratulations to Allen for being honored with the DRI Kevin Driskill Outstanding State Representative Award. 

  • 26 Oct 2023 9:00 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Todd Brown on being sworn in as the newly installed president of the North Carolina State Bar! Chief Justice Paul Newby administered the oath during the State Bar's Annual Dinner on October 26, 2023.

    Brown brings a wealth of experience and dedication to this new role. He holds a bachelor's degree and a JD from the University of South Carolina. Since 2013, he has been an active member of the North Carolina State Bar Council, serving as the chair of the Administrative Committee and as vice-chair and chair of the Grievance Committee.

    In addition to his work with the NC State Bar, Brown previously served as the president of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (2016-2017) and the Mecklenburg County Bar. He was also involved in the Committee on Diversity for the Mecklenburg County Bar.

    As a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Brown is the managing partner of the Charlotte office and co-head of the firm's commercial litigation practice group. He also holds several leadership positions within the firm, including co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Talent Development Committee, member of the Associates Committee and Screening Committee, and former member of the Executive Committee.

    We congratulate Todd Brown on this well-deserved recognition and wish him success in his role as president of the North Carolina State Bar.

  • 26 Jun 2023 12:34 PM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    NCADA is pleased to recognize the recipients for the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy for 2023. Mel J. Garofalo, Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo, and Patricia L. Holland, Attorney & Mediator, were recognized with the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence. Dan Hartzog, Hartzog Law Group was presented the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. These Awards were presented at the NCADA 46th Annual Meeting on Friday, June 9, 2023 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

    The J. Robert Award for Professional Excellence recognizes a member's contributions to the organized Bar as a whole and to their community, and who exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and ethics.

    Mel J. Garofalo, recipient of the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence, is a partner with Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo, LLP in the firm’s Charlotte office. Mel served as Hedrick Gardner’s managing partner from 1993 until 2015. Through his years of practice, Mel has handled a wide variety of complex civil litigation, including large, multi-party product liability actions, complex fire and explosion cases, drug and medical device litigation, premises liability and security litigation, liquor liability litigation as well as wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury litigation. Mel served as President of the NCADA from 2005-2006.

    Patricia “Trish” Holland, recipient of the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence, devotes her professional career to alternative dispute resolution, serving as a mediator in legal disputes brought in state and federal courts throughout North Carolina. Trish is a former member of the NCADA and served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2000-2003.

    The Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy honors highly skilled members who excel in advocating for clients in state and federal courtrooms. These individuals are regarded as among the finest trial lawyers in the state. Their exceptional track record of consistently achieving favorable outcomes for their clients demonstrates their mastery of the essential skills required for success.

    Dan Hartzog, recipient of the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, is Of Counsel at Hartzog Law Group. Dan is a seasoned trial attorney with more than 40 years of litigation experience in North Carolina. He has honed his litigation skills by handling a broad range of civil litigation cases having tried over a hundred jury trials to conclusion with an exceptionally high number of defense verdicts. In recent years, Dan has handled several highly publicized cases in both federal and state courts.

    Please join us in congratulating Mel, Trish, and Dan as we recognize them as leaders in the NCADA and the civil trial bar.

    Learn more about each award and see past recipients via the links above.

  • 13 Jun 2023 11:53 AM | Lynette Pitt (Administrator)

    We want to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to Jennifer Edwards, who has made invaluable contributions to our organization over the past few years. Jennifer joined the NCADA staff in April 2018 and has played a vital role in the ongoing success of NCADA in supporting both the organization itself and you, our valued members.

    Now, as Jennifer embarks on a new chapter in her professional journey, we bid her a fond farewell. Her decision to explore other opportunities is a testament to her drive and ambition.

    Throughout her tenure with us, Jennifer has undertaken various responsibilities that have greatly impacted our Association. She has coordinated our meetings and events, including our annual and fall seminars, as well as member social events held across the state. Even during the challenging period of lockdown, she played a pivotal role in organizing online events that kept our members connected.

    Jennifer has been the voice of our Weekly Update email, a project that initially emerged during the pandemic as a means to foster connectivity and share pertinent news related to our practices. Today, it remains an essential channel for communication. Additionally, she has coordinated the production of expert webinars that have provided immense value to you, our members, as well as our litigation support services partners.

    These acknowledgments merely scratch the surface of the hard work, dedication, and behind-the-scenes support Jennifer has offered to NCADA during her five-year tenure. Let us come together to express our heartfelt appreciation to Jennifer for her exceptional contributions to NCADA. Please join us in extending your well wishes for her continued success in all her future endeavors.

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