N.C. Bar Foundation Dedicates Justice Fund Honoring Rosemary Gill Kenyon


A North Carolina Bar Foundation (NCBF) Endowed Justice Fund was dedicated to honor Smith Anderson lawyer Rosemary Gill Kenyon at a ceremony held on May 16, 2024, at the North Carolina Bar Center. Two other Justice Funds were dedicated at the same time honoring attorneys Charles L. Becton and the late Judge J. Herbert W. Small.

This Justice Fund was established through a generous donation by Smith Anderson to the NCBF to honor Rose’s distinguished career and professional accomplishments. The Justice Fund was presented to Rose by her daughter, Mary Pat Kenyon Sullivan, an attorney with Smith Anderson, and by Rose’s colleague at the bar, Catharine Biggs Arrowood, Parker Poe (retired Of Counsel).

Mary Pat spoke about Rose as a role model balancing family and living a fulfilling life through service to others. Catharine mentioned Rose’s many leadership activities, particularly as Chair of the Women in the Profession Committee for the NCBA. Catharine noted that Rose “has this wonderful ability to quietly effect change." Catharine continued: “Everywhere Rose goes, people remember her as a force for good.”

"First, I want to thank my firm," Rose said. "I just retired from the partnership, and I cannot think of anything that would have meant more to me than what the firm did by giving this money to the foundation for this Justice Fund. I’m so honored and particularly because it’s for such a good cause. My heart is just so warmed with gratitude to the firm."

Patti Ramseur, president of the N.C. Bar Association and NCBF, explained that the NCBF “is driven by its mission to unite the talent and generosity of the profession to be a power of greater good for the people of North Carolina. The foundation is further guided by its vision to ensure a vibrant North Carolina where legal services are available to all, regardless of ability to pay; where members of the legal profession continue to provide community service and leadership profoundly impacting the public and where all North Carolinians understand and have confidence in their legal system.” One way the NCBF raises funds to support its mission is through Endowed Justice Funds, established with a minimum contribution of $50,000.

Rose is currently Of Counsel with Smith Anderson, after retiring from the partnership at the end of 2023. Through every stage of her legal career, Rose has demonstrated excellence in the practice of law along with a devotion to service to the legal profession, to the community and to supporting other lawyers. She has been active in leadership with the North Carolina Bar Association and in several nonprofit organizations. Rose served as the Pro Bono Partner at Smith Anderson for over two decades and chaired the SA Community Fund Committee, which to date has given away more than $600,000 to organizations that support underprivileged individuals, children and families in need, as well as groups that address racial equality.

Rose has been recognized as an outstanding employment lawyer. She is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and has been repeatedly recognized by Chambers USA and by The Best Lawyers in America, among other organizations. Rose has twice been awarded the Women of Justice Award by the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

Read more about the Justice Fund event here. The program for the event can be viewed here.


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