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NCBP 2017 Fellows Award Winner
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Congratulations to Karol Corbin Walker, 2017 NCBP Fellows Award Recipient

Karol Corbin Walker has been named the 2017 NCBP Fellows Award Winner. In 2003, Ms. Walker became the first African American President in the then 105-year history of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA). She served as president for the 2003-2004 term, taking her oath of office before a record number of attendees. In 1998 she was the first African American appointed as Chair of the NJSBA’s most prestigious Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.  Ms. Walker was the first African American female President of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, when she was installed in 2012.

In 1999, Karol Corbin Walker was the inaugural recipient of the Mel Narol Excellence in Diversity Award, commemorating Narol’s commitment to the work of the NJSBA Task Force on Diversity. The committee selects as a recipient an outstanding NJSBA member who has spearheaded inclusion and made strides for women and minority lawyers. Ms. Walker says one of her most notable achievements while serving as bar president was, “creating a platform for encouraging participation in the state bar consistent with my presidential theme of ‘NJSBA Inclusive of You, Your Practice and Your Community.’ As a result, I was able to appoint a more diverse group of individuals to achieve a cohesiveness within the bar.”

On June 18, 2015, she became the first African American President of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey.  In August 2015, Ms. Walker was the first New Jersey attorney appointed as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (“SCFJ”). The SCFJ consists of 15 members who vet every Federal District and Circuit prospective judicial candidate pre-nomination, and every Supreme Court Justice post-nomination.

Ms. Walker is a shareholder and member of the Board of Directors of the LeClairRyan law firm and the first African American woman to attain partner status at any major New Jersey law firm. Ms. Walker has been recognized for her legal acumen in The Best Lawyers in America, Law & Politics and New Jersey Monthly magazines.

A highly skilled litigator with an active practice in New Jersey and New York, Ms. Walker has argued many cases before the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. She has also argued cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Walker focuses her practice on business, commercial, employment, environmental, hazardous waste, insurance coverage, toxic tort and product liability litigation matters. Her clients have included many Fortune 500 corporations as well as other publicly and privately held corporations, financial institutions, entertainers and insurance companies.

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has certified and appointed Ms. Walker as an arbitrator and mediator. The New Jersey Supreme Court has appointed her to several committees including: Committee on Judicial Evaluation, Committee on Civil Practice, Committee on Character, District Fee Arbitration and Committee on the Tax Court.

Ms. Walker’s advice for young lawyers? “I would advise such individuals to avoid isolating themselves. Instead, develop relationships with everyone, whether they look like you or not. We live in a global society, and I believe it’s important for individuals to have a diverse group in their inner circle.”

Against the backdrop of a life as a trailblazer, Ms. Walker has charted a course through life that gilds her personal and professional successes with dedication to the advancement of others and compassion for the communities around her.  She embodies the qualities of an NCBP Fellow not just because of how well she has done, but also because of how much good she has done. 

Ms. Walker will be presented with the 2017 NCBP Fellows Award during the NCBP Midyear Meeting in Miami on Feb. 4, 2017.

Past NCBP Fellows Award Winners

 Year Name Bar
 2006   Paul Michael Hassert   Bar Association of Erie County/New York State Bar Association  
 2007  James B. Sales  Houston Bar Association/State Bar of Texas
 2008  John L. Carey  Indiana State Bar Association
 2009  Roy Hammer  Massachusetts State Bar Association
 2010  Mark I. Harrison  State Bar of Arizona
 2011  Herbert S. Garten  Maryland State Bar Association
 2012  Jack B. Middleton  New Hampshire Bar Association
 2013 Marna S. Tucker  D.C. Bar
 2014  Charles C. Keller  Washington County Bar Association
 2015  William G. Paul  Oklahoma Bar Association
 2016  Elizabeth "Betsy" Van Doren Gray  South Carolina Bar