• Attended public schools in Marion, North Carolina
  • B.A., Davidson College, 1967 (major in French, minor in German)
  • Certificat, Université de Montpellier, France, 1965-66 (Studied international law and French constitutional law)
  • Juris Doctor degree with honors, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1970; 
  • Associate Editor of the North Carolina Law Review
  • Order of the Coif (legal academic honorary society)
  • Received the Van Hecke-Wettach Citizenship Award and the Student Bar Association Certificate of Service
  • Graduate of NITA (National Institute of Trial Advocacy) Advanced Course and its Harvard Teacher Training Program


  • Over 50 years of general civil and criminal practice with areas of focus including employment law, personal injury litigation, commercial,  real estate, construction litigation, constitutional and civil rights law, criminal defense, and mediation (retired as active member of NC State Bar in January 2023)
  • Represented defendants in capital cases and on Death Row
  • Litigated cases at all levels of the state and federal court system, including the United States Supreme Court, where he argued and won a case for a prisoner as court-assigned counsel in 1977 (Blackledge v. Allison, 432 U.S. 63)
  • Highlights of post-conviction work included winning the freedom of a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent nearly 15 years on Death Row due to police concealment of evidence of innocence (2008); and winning exoneration of a young man wrongly convicted of murder and imprisoned for over ten years because police concealed exculpatory evidence, including DNA analyses and a confession by another man (2016)
  • Represented detainees imprisoned at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2007-2014; author of a chapter in a book entitled Obama’s Guantánamo, a collection of perspectives from fourteen lawyers for detainees

Certifications and Professional Recognition

  • Certified as a mediator by North Carolina’s Dispute Resolution Commission in 1996
  • Have mediated hundreds of cases in the state and federal courts
  • Consistently listed in such publications as “Best Lawyers in America,” “Super Lawyers,” and “North Carolina Legal Elite” in the fields of alternate dispute resolution and employment law
  • Honored by “Best Lawyers in America” as the 2014 Asheville Mediation Lawyer of the Year.
  • Inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers at its meeting in Ottawa, Canada (1994)
  • Served on the Boards of Governors of both the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ)
  • Served as Chair of the employment law sections of the NCBA and NCAJ, and served on various committees and task forces
  • Recipient of ACLU of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Award (1987)
  • Recipient of ACLU-NC’s International Human Rights Award for work in representing Guantánamo detainees
  • One of five North Carolina attorneys profiled in a 1999 series of articles in The North Carolina State Bar Journal entitled “Searching for Atticus Finch”
  • Recipient of Davidson College’s Distinguished Alumni Award (2017)

Military Service

  • Commissioned as Second Lieutenant, Infantry, United States Army (1967)
  • U.S. Army Inactive Reserves, 1967-70
  • Active duty, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Army (1970-72); honorably discharged with rank of Captain
  • Commandant’s List graduate, U.S. Army JAGC School, Charlottesville, VA (1970)

Professional and Community Activities

  • Co-Chair, North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (2017-2018)
  • Board of Directors, North Carolina Justice Center (2015-2020)
  • Former chair of Ethics Committee of NCAJ; former NCAJ Vice-President for Legal Affairs
  • Former president, Twenty-Ninth Judicial District and McDowell County Bar Associations
  • Served on boards of Catawba Valley Legal Services, North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, University of North Carolina Law Alumni Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (also president and then chair of  Legal Committee)
  • Adjunct professor of trial advocacy (Senior Lecturing Fellow), Duke University Law School
  • Faculty member in various trial advocacy institutes and programs in North Carolina and other states
  • Lecturer and course planner in continuing legal education programs in civil rights, general civil litigation, criminal defense, habeas corpus litigation, legal ethics, and mediation
  • Steering Committee member, Carolina Jews for Justice, WNC chapter; former state board member
  • Active in various civic organizations and non-profit boards, and in his religious congregation, Congregation Beth Israel in Asheville, NC, which he has served as president, Social Action Committee chair, Adult Education Committee chair, Ritual Committee chair, Rabbi Search Committee chair, Security Committee co-chair, Torah reader and teacher of trope (cantillation), and in other capacities
  • Former EMT, McDowell County Rescue Squad and its Mountain Rescue Team
  • Current member of Carolina Mountain Club’s Search and Rescue Team
  • Current Section Trail Maintainer, Carolina Mountain Club

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina Supreme Court (1970)
  • United States Court of Military Appeals (1970)
  • United States Supreme Court (1973)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1973)
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina (1973)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2008)
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia (2008)


  • Outside interests include hiking and trail maintenance, search and rescue, martial arts, and sailing
  • Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America
  • Commercial pilot license, Federal Aviation Administration, with single-engine land, instrument, and multi-engine ratings (not current)