Image of Asheville Family Law Specialist Howard Gum taken in his office in 2017.

Howard Gum Retires Following 42 Years of Practice and Professional Service

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The firm, lawyers and staff, celebrate with Howard Gum in announcing his much deserved and well-earned retirement last month following 42 years of practice and service to the professional practice of law.

Though Howard will no longer represent divorcing clients, he will continue to selectively provide mediation and arbitration services to the Family Law Bar in Western North Carolina. Outside of those duties, Howard and his wife, Christine, plan to travel the continental U.S. and to enjoy their farm, family and grandchildren.

Howard’s accomplishments during his career are plentiful and well-known. Each deserves a reminder in their own right, as his legacy is writ in service to other lawyers through the NC State Bar and the NC Bar Association, to the courts, and to legal specialization in the State.


Because of the combined efforts of the lawyers he served with to create family law certification, North Carolina’s program is among the most respected in the country. Howard dedicated twelve years of service to legal specialization in North Carolina. In 2016, the North Carolina State Bar awarded Howard’s service with the John B. McMillian Distinguished Service Award for his service.


Following identical longevity of service to the Family Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, in 2006 the Family Law Section established the Howard L. Gum Service Award, honoring his commitment to excellence in the profession through his service on the Family Law Section Council and towards legal specialization in North Carolina. This award is presented annually by the Section since its inception. Howard has alternately served on the NCBA’s Lawyer Effectiveness and Quality of Life Committee, as well as the Board of Directors of NC BarCARES, Inc. In 2012, Howard received the Family Law Section’s Distinguished Service Award, not presented in more than a decade previous. Howard now serves as a member of the Board of Governors.


Howard served at the pleasure of the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court on committees of the North Carolina Administrative Office of Courts. Over the course of seven years, Howard worked on the Family Courts Advisory Committee and the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to develop the Uniform Continuance Policy.


Howard served the 28th Judicial District as State Bar Councilor from 2006 to 2015. During that time, he served on the grievance, administrative and authorized practice of law committees, which oversaw much of NC’s push against entities like LegalZoom.


  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Fellow, 1992. Howard undertook leadership of the North Carolina Chapter in its early days, serving as president and on other committees over the years.
  • Best Lawyers in America since 1993
  • Super Lawyers North Carolina since 2006
  • Leaders in the Law Inaugural Class 2011
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite, multiple years
  • Lawyers Hall of Fame Inaugural Class 2018


Howard and David Hillier have been partners for nearly 40 years, almost from the beginning of their careers. Since 1979, their unfailing loyalty to one another and to public and professional service has been surpassed only by their loyalty and service to their clients. Their friendship built a practice enviable to the most successful attorneys, with a reputation that casts its shadow statewide.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.