Elon University / Today in Elon / Business Court Judge Receives Elon Law Leadership Award


The deputy. James L. Gale, retired Chief Justice of the North Carolina Commercial Court, received the 2021-2022 Leadership in the Law Award from Elon University School of Law at a ceremony hosted by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

The deputy. James L. Gale

A retired chief justice of the North Carolina business court whose wealth of corporate law knowledge has been sought by organizations across the country is the recipient of Elon University School’s Top Professional Award for Leadership of Law.

The deputy. James L. Gale received the 2021-2022 Leadership in the Law Award from Elon Law on April 14, 2022, at a leadership awards program hosted in downtown Greensboro by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

Elon Law presented his annual leadership award at a banquet with North Carolina Lawyers Weekly attended by judges and attorneys from across the state for the newspaper’s own Leaders in the Law program.

Gale’s contributions to the legal profession include:

  • Wrote over 200 opinions from 2011 to 2021 as a North Carolina Commercial Court Judge
  • He served as chief justice for three years before being appointed senior judge of the business court in 2016, a post created by the North Carolina General Assembly.
  • Counsel to the American College of Business Court Judges, the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Sedona Conference and the North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Judges
  • Mentored dozens of North Carolina Law School students and graduates who joined his Elon Law-adjacent firm as interns and clerks

Gale began his legal career as a clerk for the Hon. Franklin T. Dupree, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina before joining Smith Moore Leatherwood, the predecessor of the current Fox Rothschild, where he practiced for 35 years and served as managing partner of its Raleigh and Tampa offices.

In 2011, Gale was appointed by Governor Bev Perdue to serve as a Special Judge of the Superior Court of the North Carolina Commercial Court, citing his litigation experience regarding disputes involving partnership, fiduciary duties, franchise, intellectual property issues, trade regulations and unfair competition claims.

Gale has been recognized for his contributions to the legal profession with the 2021 NCBA Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Law Section Distinguished Service Award, an honor given biennially to recipients who demonstrate the highest ethical standards, professional competence and contributions to the section and/or areas of competition law or complex commercial litigation law. He was included in The Best Lawyers in American and was named to Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” for commercial litigation.

Law and Politics magazine had named Gale one of North Carolina’s top 100 “super lawyers” for several consecutive years prior to his judicial appointment.

A native of Alabama, Gale earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Florida Presbyterian College (since renamed Eckerd College) before completing his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia where he graduated magna cum laude. He was admitted to the bar in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Elon Law Leadership Fellows who contributed to the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly program where Elon Law honored Judge James L. Gale were (left to right) Craig Almond L’23, Jeffrey Hudgins L’22, Jeannette Carson L’22, Judge Gale, Cassandra Saxton L’23, Emily Erickson L’22 and Emmanuel Agyemang-Dua L’22.

Acting Dean of Elon Law Alan Woodlief presented the award to Gale. In his remarks, Woodlief thanked Gale for his contributions to the education of North Carolina law students and for his direct support of programming from Moot Court to Elon Law.

“Judge Gale’s presence as a North Carolina Commercial Court judge inside our law school provided students with a daily example of what we mean when we describe the role of a ‘leader. legal “in our profession,” Woodlief said. “And before beginning his transition to retirement, Justice Gale welcomed and has since mentored his successor, the Honorable Julianna Earp.

“It is our privilege at Elon Law to know that Judge Gale’s commitment to the success of the North Carolina Commercial Court and the success of all law students who have benefited from his mentorship and wisdom will continue. .

Previous winners

  • The deputy. Albert Diaz (2020)Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Janet Ward Black (2019)Greensboro attorney and former president of the Bar of North Carolina
  • The deputy. Henry E. Frye (2018)Chief Justice (retired), Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • The deputy. Robert N. “Bob” Hunter Jr. (2017)associate judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals
  • The deputy. Patricia Timmons Goodson (2016)Vice Chairman, US Civil Rights Commission
  • Winner Leslie J. (2015)Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
  • The deputy. Mark Martin (2014)Chief Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • Charles L. Becton (2013)lawyer/judge/higher education official in North Carolina
  • Fred Lind (2012)Guilford County Public Defender
  • Michael T. Marshall and Karen McKeithen Schaede (2011)Greensboro lawyers and founding preceptors of Elon Law

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