November 3, 2010

Twenty-one years ago I walked into my first law school class and took a seat next to a guy with a crew cut, crisply ironed clothes and a determined look on his face. While we waited for Professor Charles Daye’s Tort class to begin, I chatted with this fellow, Andrew Murray.

Yesterday, Andrew was elected District Attorney here in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County.

Back on that first day of law school, I was nervous. I didn’t know a single person at the University of North Carolina, and I still wasn’t quite sure why I had decided on law school. But Andrew Murray sure knew: he explained that he was in the Coast Guard, had a wife and child back in Charlotte where he would return on weekends, and he was ready to learn how to be a lawyer.

I remember laughing and telling Andrew that I had two keys on my key chain – one for my apartment, one for my bicycle lock. Compared to him, I had little to stress about.

The main reason I supported Andrew in his run for D.A. (he’s a friend, but he’s a Republican and I’m a die-hard Democrat!) was that I knew he would continue the real secret of long-time Charlotte D.A. Peter Gilchrist: hire well. Each year, Gilchrist had to hire about 5 – 10 new Assistant District Attorneys, mostly straight out of law school. Gilchrist had a knack for finding lawyers who had common sense, some street sense, and the ability to think on their feet.

On a daily basis, the most powerful lawyers in the state are the local Assistant District Attorneys. I’m glad Andrew will be the man in Charlotte who hires them for the next four years.