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Polymath in the Law - Janet Ward Black



We are joined by attorney extraordinaire Janet Ward Black of the Ward Black Law Firm.

Law Talk is a non-partisan forum to discuss the law and legislation, developing legal issues, public policy, and practice tips for legal professionals and Lawyers in North Carolina.

We invite speakers from different backgrounds and perspectives to be guests.


You're listening to Law Talk with Bill Powers, your resource for answers to your most pressing legal questions. Attorney Bill Powers sits down with some of today's leading legal minds to discuss everything from legal issues and legislation to practice tips and policy. Now here's your host, an NBTA board certified criminal law specialist, former president of the North Carolina advocates for justice and renowned trial lawyer - Bill Powers.

Some people just amaze me. It can be for different reasons, a wedding personality, compassion for others, a friendly smile and kind disposition, dedication to a craft excellence in a professional calling and intellect, centeredness, graceful faith or generosity beyond compare. Occasionally we come across a person in our journey of who has more than one admirable trait, but is a rare thing indeed, to meet someone, let alone be able to call them a friend who seems to Excel in everything they do and who embodies every superlative we use to describe what constitutes a wonderful human being. Janet Ward Black is just one of those people.

She's a beautiful soul who has quietly, but effectively spent her life serving others. She very much represents the best in North Carolina, but she won't hear talking about herself. Janet Ward Black isn't flashy. If you see her on social media, there's a good chance. She's promoting a cause building someone else up or serving others.

If you're an attorney or legal professional, listening in, ask yourself this name, a lawyer in the history of North Carolina, who has been both the president of the North Carolina bar association and the North Carolina advocates for justice, or how many lawyers do you know who have won both the order of the longleaf?

And the North Carolina state bar distinguished service award, Janet Ward Black came up in can Annapolis, North Carolina. She attended Davidson college and duke law school. She's clearly a scholar. And when I say she represents North Carolina, I don't mean figuratively. Janet Ward Black represented North Carolina in the 1980 miss America pageant and won the grand talent award.

She literally was miss North Carolina in 1980. How's that possible? How can one person do all that? How can they be approachable successful in business, a leader, a living legend in the law, and possibly one of the nicest, most down earth, people you'd ever wanna meet a polymath is defined as someone who's confident in at least three diverse domains and integrates them into a top 1% skill.

In other words, they bring the best of what humanity has discovered across those fields to help them to be more effective in their core. Can someone be a polymath in life, maybe a polymath in the law. That's what I hope to find out on this episode of law. Talk welcome Janet Ward. Thanks so much for joining us.

It truly is an honor with that kind of introduction. You talked me up a little too much. What talk you think? As ever you're self deprecating and I think everything I just said about you where you went to school awards and things was accurate, is that correct? Or feel free to jump in. it is correct.

And you have served as a wonderful example to so many people, and I can only imagine how many lives you've impacted personally and professionally. And I've always aspired to be more like you knowing that is an impossible task. So I have to ask you just, how do you live with yourself? making us all look so bad.

Can assure you. I don't interpret my actions the same way that you do. so well, you're from North Carolina. You grew up just up the road from us. I'm MEK account person, and you're a can. And so I've lived here since the eighties and even big city. Charlotte's changed quite a bit since that time period. One of my first jobs was out at car winds, grew up off of car road and I could actually get from Carmel road to car's about 15 minutes, which would take you oh, gracious, solid hour.

Now, do you mind share a little bit about what it was like growing up in can Annapolis and I always ask people, did you live in Kaber county or Rowanne cuz you know, it's one of those towns that actually is across two county lines. At the time I grew up there in the house that I still. So I'm one of the few people that they brought me home from the hospital, the house that I grew up in, and that my mother lived in until she passed away.

And I still now own that property. It's in cabs county. Many people may not know that Canus was the home of can mills, which is a large manufacturer of sheets and towels pillowcase. That was what we were known for. Started by the Ken. And the can family provided a really good living for a lot of people in can Annapolis.

And I was the daughter of a school teacher and a pharmacist. So my dad had a small chain of pharmacies. But he never got to go to college. So he actually was grandfathered in as a pharmacist, meaning that he didn't have a college degree. He didn't have a pharmacy degree, but because of the timeframe, when he became a pharmacist, he was permitted to continue to serve as a pharmacist until he passed away in 1980.

Are, is your family from can Annapolis or cab county originally? No, my, my mother's from Mount olive, the home of the pickles down olive pickles and Kate's pickles. And so she was one of those cute old kins from down that way. and she ended up going to Meredith college and was hired by a group in can Annapolis called the can Annapolis Bible teachers association.

And she taught Bible in the public schools. Can Annapolis at AAL brown high school, which is one of the prominent high schools in that area. School is what drew her to can Annapolis. My dad's first wife died when my brother was 11 years old. And so my dad was a widower trying to raise a young man who was a student at AAL brown.

And he. Pretty successful in sports. And he, my father would go to the PTA meetings. And so my parents actually met at a PTA meeting. The interesting thing about it is by the time my father got up the nerve to ask my mother out, they went off on their first date. They went off on their second date and he proposed, and then he got married about, they got married about four months after they.

Part 2 >>

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