Asbell wins Women of Justice Award

Published 3:24 pm Sunday, February 2, 2014

CHARLOTTE – For nearly 15 years, Valerie Asbell has proven her worth to Roanoke-Chowan area citizens as their District Attorney.

Now, residents of the state’s other 97 counties have learned what the citizens of Bertie, Hertford and Northampton have known for years.

Local District Attorney Valerie Asbell displays the Women of Justice Award she received from North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. Contributed Photo

Local District Attorney Valerie Asbell displays the Women of Justice Award she received from North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. Contributed Photo

Recently, the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly hosted the second annual “Women of Justice Awards” event at the Hilton Charlotte Center City Hotel in Charlotte. The event recognizes 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 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.

There were seven categories for these awards, including Public Official, Business Practitioner, Citizenship, Legal Scholar, Litigation Practitioner, Public Service Practitioner, and Rising Star.

There were six attorneys chosen in the Public Official Award Category. Asbell was among that group of winners. Others were The Honorable Cheri Beasley, North Carolina Supreme Court; Marsha L. Johnson, Clerk of Superior Court in Johnston County; the Honorable Ola M. Lewis, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge; the Honorable Linda Stephens, North Carolina Court Of Appeals; and the Honorable Beck Thorne Tin, District Court Judge, Mecklenburg County.

“I was extremely humbled and deeply honored to have been selected in the Public Official Category. It was certainly not expected and I am sincerely grateful for the recognition from North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. It was an honor to be chosen among such esteemed colleagues,” Asbell said.

“The women honored through our Women of Justice program would hold their own in any recognition effort sans gender exclusivity. But it is their gender that becomes the exclamation point on their success,” said Liz Irwin, Publisher of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

“When we sought nominations for this recognition, we looked to honor those who have moved the needle in the North Carolina judicial community,” Irwin continued. “We looked for women who hold positions of strength, who lead firms boldly, who wear their battle scars proudly, who serve the underprivileged, who aspire to a new future, who support the legal profession, or those who teach the next generation of lawyers. And we found them.”

Irwin said a panel of distinguished judges reviewed nominations that included women from every spectrum of the profession and throughout the state. They ranked these nominations based on the core principles of leadership, professionalism, accomplishment and passion for making a difference.

“They are good lawyers first. But their accomplishments shine brighter under the umbrella of their gender. They do all of us proud,” Irwin remarked.

A ranking judicial official in the R-C area praised Asbell’s work ethic and said she was extremely worthy of the honor bestowed by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

“I hold court in 20 counties and work with numerous court officials, and I can say that Valerie Asbell is the hardest working DA that I know. Not only is she great to work with, but so is her staff,” said Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant.

“Valerie is a fantastic trial attorney,” he added, “but perhaps her best attribute is how she is very attuned to the victims of crimes. She has compassion for those victims. She takes her time to make sure they understand the process, the legal proceedings, and she keeps them involved throughout the process. She’s real good at that.

“I consider her as the most experienced DA in the entire state. We are well served here in Judicial District 6B to have her as our DA,” Grant concluded.

Asbell was humbled by the entire experience.

“I should admit I was a bit stunned when I learned about my nomination, and I was even more surprised when I saw the list of my colleagues who received the same recognition,” she said.  “I hold each of these women in such high regard. Each attorney selected is an honor to our profession and I admire each and every one of them for their accomplishments and dedication to service.

“When we went to Charlotte for the awards banquet, it was a pleasure to see old friends and to meet my fellow colleagues and their families and to learn about their experiences.  It was inspirational hearing about their journey in life,” Asbell concluded.

Asbell graduated from in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She graduated from Tulane School of Law with a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1992.

She has been the elected District Attorney in District 6-B for 14 years and has more than 20 years of trial experience in the courtroom as a prosecutor.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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