RALEIGH, N.C.—From living under Jim Crow as a child to battling cancer as an adult, North Carolina Superior Court Judge Carl Fox has made a lifetime habit out of overcoming obstacles.


On Feb. 24th, Judge Fox discussed his long, distinguished career in a firm-wide Black History Month luncheon with Womble Carlyle attorneys and staff. Judge Fox’s participation in the Black History Month celebration was sponsored by the firm’s Diversity Committee and organized by Diversity Committee Co-Chair Kevin Lyn, a long-time friend of the judge.

After six years as a prosecutor, Judge Fox became North Carolina’s first African-American district attorney in 1984. Then-Gov. (and future Womble Carlyle attorney) Jim Hunt appointed him to oversee Orange and Chatham counties. As DA, Judge Fox successfully prosecuted numerous capital murder cases. In all, he tried more than 300 jury trials.

“I knew that if I didn’t do the job well, the odds of there being another African-American district attorney in North Carolina were slim and none,” he said.

His career moved in a new direction in 2005, when he was appointed as a judge to the state’s Superior Court. But in 2015, he found himself in the battle of his life when he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of blood cancer. A cord blood transfusion saved his life, and last summer, Judge Fox returned to the bench.

He now uses his experience to be a powerful advocate for bone marrow registry. In particular, he said there is a need for African-American and other minority donors.

“This isn’t just about me,” Judge Fox said.

Judge Fox’s presentation took place live in Womble Carlyle’s Raleigh office and was broadcast to the firm’s other offices.