The David Gergen Award for Leadership & Professionalism, bestowed each year at Elon University School of Law’s Commencement, recognizes one student in the graduating class who embodies the highest levels of selfless leadership and service.
Co-chair of Elon Law’s national moot court competition. Honor Council Defender. Academic Teaching Fellow. Vice president of the Black Law Students Association.
And, now, recipient of the David Gergen Award for Leadership & Professionalism.
Timaura Barfield, one of the most accomplished members of the Class of 2018, was honored Saturday at Elon Law’s 11th Commencement ceremony with the school’s top award for graduating students.
Elon Law students are nominated for the award by their peers, professors, or staff. Honorees are selected by a faculty and staff committee based on law school activities that represent the twin principles of leadership and professionalism.
The award is named in honor of David Gergen, whose professional life and contributions have embodied the highest levels of selfless leadership and service. Gergen has served as adviser to four United States presidents. He is the director of the Center for Public Leadership and Professor of Public Service at the Harvard Kennedy School, one of the country’s preeminent political commentators, and chair of Elon Law’s Board of Advisors.
“Receiving the David Gergen Award, the same award my mentor Professor Tiffany Atkins received in 2011, is a true privilege,” said Barfield, a 2013 graduate of High Point University and 2014 graduate of Georgetown University’s Paralegal Studies Program. “I am honored to be recognized by the faculty and my peers who have aided in my leadership and professional development. As Elon Law prides itself on leadership and service, it has challenged me to grow as a leader and supported me in my efforts to serve the community.
“Upon entering the legal profession, I will use my Elon Law education and experiences to continue to uphold the standards of this award.”
In addition to her student organization leadership roles, Barfield excelled in experiential learning opportunities while at Elon Law. She completed her residency-in-practice at the Greensboro office of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP (now Fox Rothschild LLP), and she spent her most recent summer at the Charlotte office of Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick.
In the summer of 2017, Barfield worked for the Local Government Federal Credit Union in Raleigh as part of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Minorities in the Profession 1L Summer Associate Program. She likewise earned academic credit as a student in Elon Law’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic. She also served as a research assistant to Atkins as well as Professor Andy Haile.
Those who nominated her for the Gergen Award were equally quick to emphasize the “highest levels of professionalism, good judgment, commitment to community, and kindness to her colleagues” that Barfield brought to Elon Law.
A member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Barfield graduated from Northern Burlington Regional High School in Columbus, New Jersey, before her father had retired from the U.S. Air Force and her parents settled in Winston-Salem. Barfield intends to practice corporate law after passing the North Carolina bar exam.
“Nominators of this year’s recipient celebrated her professional and academic excellence, her mentorship of other students, and her kind spirit,” Dean Emeritus and Professor George R. Johnson Jr. said in presenting the award. “They noted how she constantly provides support to her fellow students formally through her many activities, and informally as a trusted colleague who consistently makes time for her peers.”
About Elon Law:
Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the preeminent school for engaged and experiential learning in law. With a focus on learning by doing, it integrates traditional classroom instruction with course-connected, full-time residencies-in-practice in a logically sequenced program of transformational professional preparation. Elon Law’s innovative approach is accomplished in 2.5 years, which provides distinctive value by lowering tuition and permitting graduates early entry into their legal careers.