Mark R. Bernstein has always exhibited the highest standards of professionalism and excellence in his 55-year career as an attorney in Mecklenburg County. In addition to his impressive legal career, his civic endeavors have had an enormous impact on the Mecklenburg County community.
A native of York, Pennsylvania, Mark moved to North Carolina with his family in 1948. He graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to serve two years in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant in the Infantry before getting his J.D. from Yale School of Law in 1957. Upon graduation, Mark returned to Charlotte and has been a practicing member of the Mecklenburg County Bar ever since. Throughout his career he has served in a variety of leadership positions with the Bar, including serving as President in 1995-96 and most recently as a Co-Chair of the Bar History Committee charged with writing the recently published book on the history of the Mecklenburg County Bar in celebration of the Bar's Centennial.
In addition to his tremendous service to the legal profession and to the Bar, Mark has also dedicated himself to serving the community as a philanthropist and a humanitarian. He and his wife Louise are patrons of numerous civic endeavors in the arts, religion, human services and human relations. He currently serves or has served on a variety of Boards including (but not limited to): the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Wildacres Retreat, Foundation for the Carolinas, the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Foundation, the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, United Community Services, and the Foundation of the Charlotte Jewish Community, Inc. Friends and colleagues credit Mark's passionate yet humble character and keen intellect as being instrumental in laying the groundwork for both the Levine Cultural Campus and the Jewish Community Center.
Foundation for the Carolina's President & CEO Michael Marsicano may have summed it best when he wrote, "During a time when character, integrity and ethics appear in short supply, Mark is a beacon for all three. He loves the law and is deeply committed to social justice. He is intellectually honest and profoundly fair. I do not know a kinder more gentle man except for on the tennis court where even at his mature age he is a fierce competitor. Mark's commitment to his family is exemplary and his compassion for others knows no limits."
It is for these reasons and many more that we are proud to award Mark Bernstein the 2012-13 Ayscue Professionalism Award.