North Carolina Bar Association historical marker

North Carolina Bar Association (H-106)

Organized here, Feb. 10, 1899, in room then used by N.C. Supreme Court. Platt Walker of Charlotte, group's first president.

Location: Edenton Street at Salisbury Street in Raleigh
County: Wake
Original Date Cast: 1998

On February 10, 1899, J. Crawford Biggs, a professor of law at the University of North Carolina, convened a meeting of sixty-seven attorneys from across the state to organize the North Carolina Bar Association. The session was held in the Supreme Court Room of what is now the Labor Building across from the northwest corner of Capitol Square. (The State Supreme Court met in the southwest corner of that building from 1888 to 1913.) The names of 142 attorneys were enrolled as charter members. The group’s bylaws, approved later that year, stated as the Bar Association’s purposes: 1) to promote the administration of justice throughout the state, 2) to advance the science of jurisprudence, 3) to maintain standards of honor in the profession, and 4) to establish cordial interaction among members. A public service provision was added later. Platt D. Walker, a Charlotte attorney and, from 1903 to 1923, an associate justice of the State Supreme Court was elected as president at the organizational meeting.

The Bar Association held its first annual meeting that same summer at the Atlantic Hotel in Morehead City. An attempt to form an earlier state bar association in 1885 had failed as the group fell into “innocuous desuetude.” The North Carolina State Bar, a separate organization advocated by the Bar Association, was created in 1933 to enforce the licensing and policing functions of the profession. Presently the North Carolina Bar Association has a membership of over 11,000 and represents over eighty percent of the state’s practicing lawyers.

Proceedings of the Meeting of Organization of the North Carolina Bar Association (1899)
(Raleigh) News and Observer, February 10-11, 1899
Fannie Memory Blackwelder, “Organization and Early Years of the North Carolina Bar Association,” North Carolina Historical Review (January 1957): 36-57
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, VI, 115-116--sketch of Platt Dickinson Walker by Richard F. Knapp
North Carolina Bar Association website:

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