The longest-serving member of the League of Municipalities’ legal team has been presented the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s highest award. Gregg Schwitzgebel, the League’s associate general counsel, received the Friend of the Court honor in December, with accomplishments summarized in a press release from the Administrative Office of the Courts marking the occasion.
The award recognizes Schwitzgebel’s “instrumental role in coordinating events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Court of Appeals in 2017, as well as his years of service as a trustee and officer for the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society and his role as vice chair of the Bicentennial celebration of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 2019,” the release explained.
The courts system also pointed out Schwitzgebel’s “extraordinary dedication as an advocate for elected and administrative officials of cities and towns across the state and to North Carolinians for post-judicial clerkship.”
Schwitzgebel said what the award recognizes in him is “deeply embedded in the respect and reverence I have for the North Carolina General Courts of Justice and for the dedication of jurists and their staffs. As a tireless advocate for the elected and administrative municipal officials of our membership in a wide variety of critical cases and the most prolific brief-writer in the history of the League, as well as its longest-tenured staff member, I am particularly honored to receive this Award from the Judicial Branch during this moment in time.”
Lauded is Schwitzgebel’s championing of the League’s Judicial Advocacy & Amicus Program, in which League attorneys write “friend of the court” briefs in appellate cases that have statewide implications for local governments or provide technical assistance to municipal counsel that can help to formulate arguments or interpret appellate rules.
As such, Schwitzgebel is no stranger to awards and honors. In mid-2020, we reported that Schwitzgebel had been elected N.C. Bar Association vice-chair for the 2020–21 Bar Year, coinciding with his 30th year serving governments in North Carolina.
In 2019, he was named N.C. State University’s Distinguished MPA Alumnus, an award given each spring via the university’s Department of Public Administration.
Schwitzgebel’s interest in government developed during his youth, was student body president all through high school, and continued developing his impact and leadership skills through college, having earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and his MPA from N.C. State on top of a political science master’s degree from Emory University. He joined the League in 1994.
“This truly is a huge, huge honor for Gregg,” League Executive Director Paul Meyer said of his latest achievement.
Said Schwitzgebel, “Needless to say, to attain an award of this most distinguished stature, one must relentlessly sustain a consistent commitment to excellence over the span of a career, and that pursuit continues. It is my sincere hope—as the League approaches its 125th anniversary in the next dozen years—that the legacy of this esteemed accolade to the high quality of legal services provided by the NCLM Office of General Counsel is indeed regarded as amongst the premier benchmarks in our organization’s history.”