Cheri L. Beasley Partner

Cheri Beasley is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina whose trailblazing career includes two decades on both trial and appellate courts. She is a Partner in the Raleigh office and a member of the firm’s Appeals and Issues team.

Cheri joined the state’s highest court in 2012 and was appointed Chief Justice by Governor Roy Cooper in March 2019. As head of North Carolina’s judicial branch, she initiated reforms to improve efficiency, fairness and accessibility in the state’s court system. Under her leadership, state courts began adoption of electronic filing and cloud computing systems to make court services available remotely and expanded access to specialty treatment and family courts. As Chief Justice, she also launched North Carolina’s Faith and Justice Alliance, bringing together legal and religious leaders to address the legal needs of low-income residents.

She previously served for four years on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and for a decade as a District Court judge in the state’s 12th Judicial District. Throughout her career, Cheri has advocated for fair, independent, and accessible courts. She has traveled nationwide and abroad to promote the rule of law and the administration of justice. She often lectures on trial and appellate advocacy at North Carolina’s law schools and has served on numerous committees with both the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association to promote access to legal services.

Cheri is a graduate of The University of Tennessee College of Law and Douglass College of Rutgers University. She earned a Master of Laws in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law. Cheri is a member of the American Law Institute and has held several leadership roles in the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association. She also holds several honorary degrees and has been recognized repeatedly for her leadership and public service.

  • Duke University School of Law, LLM, 2018
  • The University of Tennessee College of Law, JD, 1991
  • Douglass College, Rutgers University, BA, 1988

Member, American Law Institute, 2020-present

Advisor, American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law Third Torts: Concluding Provisions, 2019–present

Member, The University of Tennessee College of Law Dean’s Circle, 2017–present

Member, North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, 1995-present

Member, American Bar Association, 1993–present

Member, North Carolina Bar Association, 1993–present

Member, Wake County Bar Association and Tenth Judicial District Bar, 2009–present

Member, National Bar Association, 1994-2005, 2017–present

Member, North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, 1994–present

Member, Capital City Lawyers Association, 1994–1996, 2017–present

Member, National Association of Women Judges, 2017–2020

Member, Conference of Chief Justices, Problem Solving Courts Committee, 2019–2020

Chair, North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, 2019–2020

Chair, North Carolina Commission on Professionalism, 2019–2020

Member, North Carolina Bar Association Foundation, Endowment Committee, 2011–2019

  • Speaker, Address to the North Carolina State Bar Council, October 2020
  • Covener, Faith and Justice Alliance Statewide Convening, October 2020
  • Presenter, "A View From the Bench," North Carolina Advocates for Justice Masters in Civil Advocacy, October 2020
  • Presenter, "Access to Justice Issues in Our Courts," North Carolina Advocates for Justice Diversity and Inclusion Conference, October 2020
  • Presenter, "A Town Hall Series with Chief Justice Cheri Beasley," HBCU Road to Justice Tour, October 2020
  • Presenter, "Leadership Training CJE," NC Conference of Chief District Court Judges, September 2020
  • Presenter, "The Status of Black Girls in the Wake County Public School System," The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute of Advocacy and Social Action, September 2020
  • Panelist, "Courageous Conversations," United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, July 2020
  • Speaker, "Lady Justice: The Role of Women Leaders in the Fight for Equality and Justice for All," Global Women’s Leadership Network, July 2020
  • Keynote Speaker, "Criminal Justice in an Era of Change," The American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section’s Virtual Law Student Graduation, June 2020
  • Speaker, "State of the Judiciary," North Carolina Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2020
  • Speaker, "Recommitting to the Work of Justice," Public Address, June 2020
  • Panelist, "Courts on the Frontline: Providing Access to Justice While Protecting Public Health During a Pandemic," National Association of Women Judges, May 2020
  • Speaker, "Domestic Violence and Civil Legal Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic," Legal Services Corporation, May 2020
  • Speaker, "First in Future: Connecting in Crisis," North Carolina State University Institute for Emerging Issues podcast, May 2020
  • Speaker, "A Virtual Chat with Chief Justice Beasley," NC Association of Black Lawyers, April 2020
  • Speaker, "The Court’s Response to COVID-19," NC Advocates for Justice, April 2020
  • Panelist, "COVID-19 and Safe Access to the Courts: Strategies and Future Planning," American Bar Association CLE, March 2020
  • Keynote Speaker, Fayetteville Observer 40 Under 40 Awards Ceremony, March 2020
  • Keynote Speaker, North Carolina Lawyers Assistance Program Minority Outreach Conference, February 2020
  • Keynote Speaker, Town of Cary “Future of Black History” Celebration, February 2020
  • Presenter, "Carolinas Business Litigation Year in Review," Parker Poe, February 2020
  • Presenter, "Ethics, Professionalism, and Modernizing Our State Court System," Mecklenburg County Bar All-Star Trial Advocacy 2020, February 2020
  • Speaker, "The International Civil Rights Center & Museum’s Annual Gala," The International Civil Rights Center & Museum, February 2020
  • Presenter, "Race, Equity, and the Practice of Law," 18th Judicial District Biennial Professionalism CLE, January 2020
  • Commencement Speaker, Elon University School of Law, December 2019
  • Speaker, "Chief Justice Cheri Beasley: A Woman of Her Times," PoliticaNC, October 2019
  • Speaker, "She Changed the World: North Carolina Women Breaking Barriers," North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, September 2019
  • Keynote Speaker, "What it Takes to be a Woman Lawyer," Marion Griffin Chapter, Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women Annual Symposium, September 2019
  • Keynote Speaker, North Carolina Association of Black County Officials’ Annual Scholarship & Awards Luncheon, August 2019
  • Panelist, "A Conversation About Access to Justice and the Judiciary," Legal Services Corporation Forum on Increasing Access to Justice, August 2019
  • Speaker, "State of the Judiciary," North Carolina Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2019
  • Commencement Speaker, NC Central University, Graduate School, May 2019
  • Commencement Speaker, Fayetteville State University, May 2019
  • Presenter, "Professionalism for Public Defenders," North Carolina School of Government Judicial College, May 2019
  • Speaker, "Free to Be Me Empowerment Symposium," Women’s Empowerment, May 2019
  • Panelist, NC Department of Justice Women’s Leadership Initiative, April 2019
  • Speaker, North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association Spring Conference, April 2019
  • Commencement Speaker, North Carolina State University Administrative Officers Management Program, April 2019
  • Keynote Speaker, "The View from the Bench," University of Tennessee College of Law Leadership Symposium, April 2019
  • Commencement Speaker, The University of Tennessee College of Law, 2018
  • Speaker, "From Public Defender to Supreme Court Justice, A Conversation with Justice Cheri Beasley," Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, The Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, The John M. Langston Bar Association, and The Asian Pacific American Bar Association, July 2018
  • Panelist, "13th Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement," The American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID), 2018
  • Speaker, Top 50 Women Super Lawyers, May 2018
  • Speaker, Wake County Law Enforcement Memorial Service, May 2018
  • Panelist, "Women Changing the World," AADC Alumnae, April 2018
  • Speaker, NC Central University’s Law Professionalism Series, March 2018
  • Panelist, "Thurgood Marshall Symposium," Samford University Cumberland School of Law, February 2018
  • Speaker, Wake Missionary Baptist Association’s Black History Month, February 2018
  • Speaker and Contributor, "Independence of the Courts and Rule of Law in the Trump Era," The Brennan Center, NYU, November 2017
  • Speaker, "Magna Carta: Access to Justice," Attorney at Law Magazine, October 2017
  • Presenter, "Leadership and Congruence," UNC School of Law, September 2017
  • Panelist, NC State Highway Patrol Women’s Forum, September 2017
  • Speaker, "J.D.B. v. North Carolina and Juvenile’s Ability to Understand Rights During Interrogation," ABA SCLAID, 2017
  • Moderator, "Panel on Human Trafficking," National Bar Association Judicial Council, January 2017
  • Speaker, "Women’s Day," First Baptist Church, Raleigh, January 2017
  • Seminar Leader, "Court Management for Assistant Heads of Court," The American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI), Strengthening the Capacity of the Egyptian Judiciary Project, October 2016
  • Speaker, "Judicial Selection and the Effects on Women and African-Americans," Center for American Politics, Seton Hall School of Law, October 2016
  • Presenter, "J.D.B. v. North Carolina and Juvenile’s Ability to Understand Rights During Interrogation," National Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit, October 2016
  • Speaker, "Fortifying our Faith While Focusing on Our Future Through Worship, Leadership, Discipleship, and Stewardship," Cape Fear Conference Law Council Annual Luncheon for the AMEZ Church, 2016
  • Speaker, "J.D.B. v. North Carolina and Juvenile’s Ability to Understand Rights During Interrogation," Southern Juvenile Defender Center Conference, June 2016
  • Speaker, North Carolina Central University’s Law Professionalism Series, April 2016
  • Speaker, "Father & Son Conference," Omega Psi Phi, Iota Iota Chapter, April 2016
  • Panelist, "Women Leaders in Public Service," Junior League of Raleigh, April 2016
  • Speaker, Wake County Bar Association’s Rule of Law Program, March 2016
  • Panelist, "North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys’ Judges Forum," Duke Law School, March 2016
  • Panelist, "The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary," Legal Services Corporation, January 2016
  • Presenter, "Judicial selection and fundraising for judicial candidates," Solutions Summit, Brookings Institute, January 2016
  • Speaker, Wake Forest University School of Law Pro Bono Week, October 2015
  • Panelist, "Money in Politics as a Civil Rights Issue," Democracy NC, The Institute for Southern Studies, North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the American Constitution Societies at UNC School of Law and NCCU School of Law, October 2015
  • Speaker, "Fair Courts, Judicial Elections and Dark Money," Piper Fund, October 2015
  • Speaker, "Magna Carta, Juvenile Justice, Civil Rights, and Judicial Selection," Council of State Governments’ Magna Carta Delegation, August 2015
  • Presenter, North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Advocacy CLE, October 2012
  • North Carolina
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award, The Association of Junior Leagues, International, 2020

Outstanding Appellate Judge, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, 2020

William H. Hastie Award, National Bar Association, 2020

Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni Honoree, Rutgers University, 2019

Marguerite Adams Public Service Award, 66th Alpha Kappa Alpha, Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, 2019

Presidential Citation, The Links, Incorporated, 2019

Judge of the Year, NC Association of Women Attorneys’, 2019

President Award, Black Women’s Agenda, 2019

Distinguished Alumni Award, The University of Tennessee, 2019

President’s Award, Wake County Bar Association, 2019

Women Who Lead Award, Shaw University, 2019

Celebrating Black History Award, WRAL, 2019

Living Legends, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC, 2018

Trailblazer Award for African-Americans, The University of Tennessee, 2018

Capitol Area, Public Service Award, National Council of Negro Women, 2018

Legal Legends of Color Honoree, North Carolina Bar Association Minorities in the Profession Committee, 2016

Douglass Society Inductee, Douglass College, Rutgers University, 2015

Wiley A. Branton Symposium Honoree, National Bar Association, 2015

Chancellor’s Medallion, Fayetteville State University, 2014

Chair’s Award, North Carolina Central University, Department of Criminal Justice, 2014

Gwyneth B. Davis Award, NC Association of Women Attorneys, 2014

Achievement Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Pi Omega Chapter, 2014

Women of Justice Public Official Award, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, 2013

Outstanding Achievement Award for Justice, Alliance of North Carolina Black: Elected Officials and Advocates, 2013

Hall of Fame Inductee, Rutgers University African-American Alumni Alliance, 2013  

Commissioned, Kentucky Colonel, Governor, Commonwealth of Kentucky, 2012

Henry Toll Fellow, Council on State Governments, 2012

Presidential Award of Distinction for Public Service, General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc., 2011

Cobra Award of Excellence, Whites Creek High School, 2009

Woman of Achievement, General Federation of Women’s Clubs of North Carolina, 2009

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