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 Dayeâ€™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 didnâ€™t know a single person at the University of North Carolina, and I still wasnâ€™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 â€“ 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. (heâ€™s a friend, but heâ€™s a Republican and Iâ€™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. Iâ€™m glad Andrew will be the man in Charlotte who hires them for the next four years.