Katie Holliday to Receive Council for Children’s Rights’ Inaugural Vanguard Award

November 20, 2019 (Charlotte, N.C.)—James, McElroy & Diehl, P.A. (JMD) is pleased to announce that Family Law attorney Katie Holliday will be the inaugural recipient of the Council for Children’s Rights’ (CFCR) Vanguard Award in recognition of her decades of service to CFCR and families and children in the Charlotte community.

The award will be presented at the upcoming Children’s Rights Forum: An Evening with Van Jones, an event at the Knight Theater on December 2 that will support the CFCR’s many programs. In honor of Katie, JMD is a presenting sponsor of the event.

Originally from Charlotte, Katie began her professional career locally as a high school guidance counselor. She graduated from Duke Law School in 1980, clerked for U.S. District Court Judge James B. McMillan, and then joined JMD in 1981. In 1984, Katie left the firm to pursue advocacy for children and to raise her own three children. For 13 years, she represented children in Juvenile Court and in custody cases, and was the director of the Children’s Law Center (CLC) in Charlotte for ten years before returning to the firm in 1997.

Founded in 1987, the CLC was an outgrowth of Advocates for Children in Court (ACC), which preceded the current Guardian Ad Litem program, now run by the NC Office of the Administrative Courts. Katie was among those involved in the establishment of ACC and later CLC, along with The Honorable William G. Jones, Robert McCarter, Sara McDonnell, and Larry King.

Katie was then instrumental in the formation of the Council for Children’s Rights, which was created through the 2006 merger of the former CLC and the former Council for Children (founded in 1979) – a natural fit between two agencies that already shared a long history of collaboration and strong reputations for protecting the rights of children. After the merger, CFCR went on to become one of the most comprehensive child advocacy and child legal services agencies of its kind in North Carolina. In 2009, Katie received the CFCR Dolly Award for her years of work for the organization.

After almost 40 years of practicing law, Katie now limits her work at JMD to family law cases that either utilize a Collaborative Family Law process or cases that can be resolved through informal settlement negotiations or mediation. As a 2001 Co-founder of the Mecklenburg County Collaborative Family Law Practice Group, Katie is committed to helping families avoid the financial, emotional and relationship costs of the traditional adversarial approach by utilizing a client-centered, client-controlled, cooperative approach to settling the issues arising from a family separation.

Katie has been associated with the National Association of Counsel for Children for 20 years, first as a board member, then as president, and later served as legal counsel to the organization. She has been active in the North Carolina Bar Association and helped found the Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section, serving as its first chairperson. She was a member of the Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation Board of Directors from 2007 until 2016, and was the Board’s President in 2015.

Consistently recognized for her legal practice, Katie was recently named Best Lawyers® 2019 Charlotte Family Law “Lawyer of the Year,” a designation given only to a single lawyer in each specialty in each metropolitan area, which makes this recognition particularly significant. She was also named to The Best Lawyers in America© by Best Lawyers® in Family Law, 2009-2014 and 2018-2020. She was named to “North Carolina Super Lawyers” in Family Law, 2007-2018, and has also regularly appeared in Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” list in Family Law. To learn more about Katie, please click here.

About CFCR
The Council for Children’s Rights is Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s leading advocate for children, providing direct assistance to children in need today, including legal representation, custody, and individual advocacy in education, abuse and neglect, mental health, custody, domestic violence, and juvenile justice. CFCR also works for the well-being of all children in the future through their mission to engage the community in support of system reforms and public policies that stand up for every child’s right to be safe, healthy, and educated. To learn more, please visit