Ronald G. Baker Sr. received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award on September 28, 2022, at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC. State Bar President Darrin D. Jordan and Bar Councilor C. Everett Thompson presented the award. Also in attendance were Chief Justice Paul Newby and State Bar Past-President Ronald L. Gibson.
Baker grew up in Ahoskie, North Carolina. He was a recipient of the UNC Morehead Scholarship and graduated in 1971 with a degree in business administration. He graduated from UNC Law School with honors in 1975. During much of this time, he served in the North Carolina National Guard, attaining the rank of staff sergeant with specialties in light weapons infantry and medic. Baker began his practice of law in Greensboro, NC, but soon returned to his hometown of Ahoskie, where he practiced until he joined Sharp, Graham, Baker & Varnell.
Baker was a longtime North Carolina State Bar councilor, serving as a member and chair of numerous committees. He ultimately served as president of the State Bar. As president, he spent an enormous amount of time on the Legal Zoom case and other litigation involving the State Bar’s regulation of the legal profession. When asked how he wanted his administration as president of the State Bar to be remembered, his reply was that he wanted it to be satisfactory to the public and the profession. Baker also served as the president of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, and served as state representative to the Defense Research Institute. He is currently a member of the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners.
Baker has also been a leader in his longtime home of Ahoskie and Hertford County, serving as a county commissioner and county commission chair, serving on the Hertford County Board of Education, and serving as president and director of the Hertford County Committee of 100. He is an ambassador and life member of the United States Jaycees, and a lifetime member and past-president of the Ahoskie Jaycees.
As stated by one of his colleagues, “Ron’s career can be summed up concisely and accurately as ‘distinguished service’—service to his clients, his family, his friends, his colleagues and partners, and the profession. I cannot think of a more deserving and appropriate recipient.”
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