What was your career path to your current bench?
I served in the Marines as a military trial judge and later an appellate judge. I also served for nine years on North Carolina’s superior court bench, including five years on the North Carolina Business Court, before being appointed to the federal bench.
Tell us about your involvement in the Judicial Division and why others should become more involved.
I’ve served as the Appellate Judges Conference’s Budget Officer, Membership Chair, and Chair. I now serve as Chair of the Appellate Judges Education Institute.
The Judicial Division remains the best forum for judges to serve the profession and judiciary writ large. As a result of my involvement, I’ve formed many friendships with judges and lawyers across the country.
Would you share one tip for novice appellate lawyers and two tips for experienced appellate lawyers?
For novice appellate lawyers—Beginning on day one of your practice, remember that you are either burnishing or damaging your reputation.
For experienced appellate lawyers—(1) Mentor the novices in your charge. (2) Don’t forget—or run from—the standard of review.
Would you give us a fun fact about yourself?
As a superior court judge, I presided over a civil case involving two elephants who ran away from the circus.