Elon Law administrator receives GBA’s highest award

The Greensboro Bar Association recognized Margaret A. Dudley, supervising attorney of Elon University’s Emergency Legal Services Program, with its 2024 Distinguished Service Award in a ceremony that also included scholarship announcements for two Elon Law students.

Three members of the Elon University School of Law community were honored this spring by the Greensboro Bar Association.

Margaret A. Dudley, director of the university’s Emergency Legal Services Program inside the Family Justice Centers of Guilford and Alamance counties, received the association’s Distinguished Service Award at its annual awards banquet and celebration held April 18, 2024.

“Her commitment to justice extends beyond the courtroom,” the GBA stated in its official announcement. “Margaret’s leadership in community organizations, her advocacy for victims of domestic violence, and her mentorship exemplify her unwavering dedication to service.”

The Emergency Legal Services Program reduces gaps and unmet needs for legal advocacy and support for victims of domestic violence.  In the last six years, Dudley and her team have assisted more than 5,000 people who visited the Family Justice Centers in times of crisis.

Gerald L. Walden, Jr., immediate past president of the Greensboro Bar Association, with Attorney Margaret Dudley. (Photo courtesy of the Greensboro Bar Association)

“Margaret A. Dudley embodies the highest ideals of the legal profession,” the GBA stated in its announcement, “and her receipt of the Distinguished Service Award is a fitting tribute to her remarkable legacy.”

A native North Carolinian, Dudley attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. for both her undergraduate and law degrees. She soon became the third Black woman to practice law in Guilford County and the first Black woman to hold the position of Deputy County Attorney in Guilford County.

During her tenure with the county, she had the responsibility of representing the Department of Social Services, the Personnel Department, the Guilford County Planning Board, the Register of Deeds’ Office, the Guilford County Child Support Enforcement Office, the Board of Adjustment, and the Guilford County Mental Health Department. She was also Counsel to the Guilford County Board of Adjustment as well as the Mental Health and Social Services Board.

Dudley achieved success as a partner at a private firm in Guilford County before setting out as a solo practitioner in 1994. Her practice has focused on civil litigation with an emphasis on family law.

A longtime educator and mentor to young people, Dudley taught Constitutional Law at N.C. A&T State University for more than two decades before joining the Emergency Legal Services Program as its founding director.

Scholarships for Elon Law Students

Nathaniel Pool L’24 and Naisha Mercury L’24

The Greensboro Bar Association presented Naisha Mercury L’24 and Nathaniel Pool L’24 with the organization’s annual academic scholarships. Both students received $2,500.

“Scholarship awards not only provide financial support but also serve as a testament to the recipients’ outstanding abilities and potential,” the GBA stated in its official announcement. “By investing in the education of promising law students, these scholarships play a vital role in fostering the next generation of legal professionals.”

Mercury earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Service Management from East Carolina University and is completing her Elon Law residency-in-practice at the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law, where her focus revolves around pioneering initiatives and conducting research dedicated to reproductive health.

Pool earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from West Virginia University and has expressed interest in criminal defense, alongside a broader engagement with civil litigation matters. He worked in 2023 with the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission and plans to intern this summer at Legal Aid of North Carolina.