Dan McLawhorn Receives The 2020 Administrative Law Award for Excellence

By Brad Williams 

Dan McLawhorn, senior associate city attorney for the City of Raleigh, is the 2020 recipient of the Administrative Law Award for Excellence, an annual award given by the Administrative Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

McLawhorn has been a leading environmental and administrative lawyer for more than four decades. He began his career at the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, where Attorney General Rufus Edmisten assigned McLawhorn to lead the Administrative Law Section of the Attorney General’s Office in 1979. Six years later, Attorney General Lacy Thornburg appointed McLawhorn to serve as his representative at the General Assembly during the effort to reform the state’s Administrative Procedures Act, an effort which ultimately led to the passage of Chapter 150B. McLawhorn later served as general counsel of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources from 1998-2001.

Dan McLawhorn

Upon his retirement from state government in 2003, McLawhorn joined the Raleigh City Attorney’s Office, where he has practiced ever since. At the City Attorney’s Office, McLawhorn has continued to practice environmental and administrative law, this time from the vantage point of representing a municipality that is a regulated entity under federal and state environmental laws.

McLawhorn is a founding member of the NCBA’s Administrative Law Section. He served as chair of the section during the 1992-1993 bar year. McLawhorn has served as chair of two other NCBA sections, including the Government and Public Sector Section. He also served a term on the NCBA’s Board of Governors.

A recipient of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, the highest award for service to the state that is granted by the Office of the Governor, McLawhorn served on the N.C. Rules Review Commission from 2007-2011.

McLawhorn is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of North Carolina School of Law.

The Administrative Law Award for Excellence was established “to honor an outstanding Administrative Law Section attorney as an exemplar of the excellence, dedication and passion for administrative and/or regulatory law” and is given to an active, practicing member of the section.

The honoree must meet the following criteria:

The attorney must currently be practicing administrative or regulatory law and must have at least ten (10) years of recent, continuous experience in such practice;

The attorney must be a current member of the NCBA and its Administrative Law Section;

The attorney must have an exemplary record and reputation in the legal community, and must follow the highest ethical standards;

The attorney must have an exemplary record of active participation in efforts to improve the administrative and regulatory process for regulators, the regulated public, the citizens of North Carolina and in the interests of justice; and

The attorney must be a resident of the state of North Carolina and must also be nominated by a member in good standing of the North Carolina Bar Association.