Earlier this month, Womble Carlyle attorney Jeff Hay was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s most prestigious civilian award. Governor Pat McCrory made the surprise presentation at the British American Business Council North Carolina’s holiday luncheon on December 4th.

North Carolina Lawyers Weekly recently spoke with Hay about the award, his corporate and securities practice at Womble Carlyle, and his work to strengthen ties between North Carolina and the United Kingdom.

Hay told North Carolina Lawyers Weekly the Order of the Long Leaf Pine was a complete surprise. “I really was stunned,” he said. “I tend to be somebody who likes to work in the background and not the spotlight and it was really pretty overwhelming.”

Hay was honored in large part because of his work with the BABC, an organization that promotes bilateral trade and investment between the U.S. and U.K. He currently is finishing a three-year term as President of the BABC Charlotte chapter.

He described Womble Carlyle as “a law firm that really allows its partners to devote time to serve the community in a way that is pretty incredible, given all the pressures of practicing law these days. So it really is a pretty amazing place to be.”

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine honors North Carolinians who have given extraordinary service to the state throughout their careers. Past recipients of the honor include Charles Kuralt, Michael Jordan, Rev. Billy Graham and Maya Angelou.

Jeff Hay has more than 30 years of experience and is based in Womble Carlyle’s Charlotte office where he represents both private equity investors and US and foreign corporate clients. Hay has also served as in-house general counsel and a member of the board of a privately held consumer products company. This combination of legal and business experience has given him an understanding of corporate operational needs that allows him to help clients make informed business decisions.