Shelby Duffy Benton received the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award on September 29, 2022, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, at a meeting of the North Carolina Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism. The award was presented by North Carolina State Bar Past-President Barbara R. Christy and State Bar Councilor Heidi Bloom.
Benton graduated from North Carolina State University in 1982 with a degree in political science and criminal justice. She earned her law degree from Campbell University School of Law in 1985. Following law school, she began working in Goldsboro for Braswell and Taylor. She began to focus on family law cases when she established a new firm, Hollowell and Benton, PA, in 1991. In 1995 she became a board-certified specialist in family law and has remained so certified since that time. She is also certified as a family and financial mediator and is a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Throughout her career, Benton has been a distinguished leader within the NCBA. She is a past-president of the North Carolina Bar Association. Prior to being named president-elect of the NCBA, she served the association in several leadership roles: chair of the Family Law Section from 2009 to 2010; Board of Governors member from 2010 to 2013; chair of the Talent Development Committee from 2017 to 2019; member of the 4All Committee from 2011 to 2016; member of the Legislative Advisory Committee from 2010 to present; and co-chair of the NCBA Leadership Academy. In addition to her extensive involvement with the NCBA, she has been committed to aiding in the self-regulation to the legal profession. She has served as president of the 8th Judicial District Bar, as councilor for the 8th District in North Carolina, as a member of the LAMP Committee, as a member of the State Bar Ethics Committee. She is also a member of the Paralegal Certification Board and is the vice-chair and trustee of the IOLTA Board for the State Bar.
Ms. Benton has been equally involved in serving her community, having served in various local, state, and national roles. She serves the state of North Carolina as a commissioner on the NC Domestic Violence Commission where she chairs the Victim Services Committee. Nationally, she serves on the Legislative and Racial, Ethnic, and Religious Considerations in Family Law Committees of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has served on several boards and advisory committees concerning public education over the past 36 years. She assisted the Wayne County Bar and her local Communities Supporting Schools Program from 2012 to 2015 to develop a Teen and Attorney Partnership for Success (TAPS) program for high school students to have countywide mock trial competitions. She has assisted local middle school mock trial teams as they prepare for the NCBA Middle School Mock Trial Competition. She has been recognized by the NCBA for her service to her community and the legal profession with a Citizen Lawyer Award. Campbell University has honored her as a Distinguished Alumna, the Family Law Section of the NCBA recognized her with their Distinguished Service Award, and she received the first Wayne County Women of the Year Award from the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.
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