Lisa S. Costner received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award during a virtual presentation on January 10, 2022. The award was presented by State Bar President Darrin D. Jordan.
Ms. Costner graduated from Wake Forest University with her bachelor of arts degree in 1984 and went on to earn her JD at Wake Forest School of Law in 1987. She immediately began to practice law in North Carolina. Ms. Costner is licensed to practice in all three federal districts in North Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. She is also a board certified specialist in state and federal criminal law and in appellate practice.
Ms. Costner has been the federal Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel representative for the Middle District of North Carolina for the past 20 years. In that role she has been the contact point between the 70 attorneys on the CJA panel, the court, and the federal defender office. She has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of federal criminal representation by generously sharing her time, wisdom, information, and advice. Ms. Costner’s maintenance of the CJA Panel listserv is an invaluable resource to both new and experienced attorneys.Additionally, she has previously been on the Defender Services Advisory Group (DSAG), representing the 3rd, 4th, and DC Circuits. She has continued as the DSAG representative for the 4th circuit since 2016. Ms. Costner has also served on a national committee that debates federal CJA policy and advises the national Defender Services Office and the Administrative Office of the Courts in Washington, DC. Ms. Costner was the commissioner of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commissions from 2015 to 2020, and she has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Forsyth County Bar, particularly in the criminal law section.
In addition to practicing law, Ms. Costner has been an adjunct professor of trial practice at Wake Forest University School of Law since 2014. In 2017 Ms. Costner received the Harvey A. Lupton Award by the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association.
As stated by one of her colleagues, Ms. Costner, “sets the bar of professionalism high for the rest of us, but she illuminates the path forward by exemplifying all those necessary attributes great lawyers strive to attain: passion, compassion, wisdom, knowledge, skill, and character.”
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