2015 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion
Robert E. Harrington
The Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award, which honors an individual who embodies high ethical standards, unquestioned integrity, consistent competence and who champions diversity in the legal profession, was presented to Robert E Harrington at the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation’s Hon. James B. McMillan Fellowship Dinner.
Robert E. Harrington is a partner with Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. practicing commercial litigation. For several years, Harrington has been included in Woodward/White, Inc.’s The Best Lawyers in America and North Carolina Super Lawyers. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the American Law Institute.
Mr. Harrington served as president of the Mecklenburg County Bar in 2012-13. During his tenure as president, he focused on locating the site for the new Mecklenburg County Bar & Foundation Center, ultimately built in the Greenway Business Center in Charlotte’s historic West End; expanded the Bar’s indigent legal services capacity; and improved mentoring and networking opportunities for Bar members. Prior to serving as Bar president, Mr. Harrington served as one of the founding co-chairs of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and as treasurer of the Bar. He has served on the Grievance and Authorized Practice committees of the North Carolina State Bar.
Mr. Harrington’s passion for social justice and indigent services extends beyond the Bar. From 2005-07, he co-chaired the board of directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law. He also serves on the boards of the Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina, Inc. and Legal Aid of North Carolina.
Mr. Harrington’s other honors include the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Award of Excellence (2013), the Duke Law Alumni Association’s Charles S. Murphy Award for Achievement in Public Service (2012), the Charlotte Catalyst Award from Uptown Magazine (2012), the Citizen Lawyer Award from the North Carolina Bar Association (2009), the Diversity in Business Catalyst Award from the Charlotte Business Journal (2004) and the NAACP-National Office Pro Bono Legal Services Award (1999). He graduated magna cum laude from Duke University, where he was an Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholar. He also attended Duke Law School and graduated with high honors. He is a member of the Duke Law School board of visitors.
The Award is fittingly named after its first honoree, the distinguished civil rights attorney Julius L. Chambers. Mr. Chambers represented the plaintiffs in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school desegregation case Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education. Award criteria include facilitating recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of diverse individuals in the legal profession; providing outstanding service and education to the community at large by unifying and uplifting diverse people of all backgrounds; and/or promoting ideals of diversity in the legal profession. Former winners include Julius L. Chambers – 2008, George V. Hanna III – 2009, Judge Clifton E. Johnson – 2010, James E. Ferguson II – 2011, Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell – 2012, Georgia J. Lewis – 2013, and Elisa Chinn-Gary – 2014.