Alumna's election marks milestone for Elon Law

Carrie Vickery L'09 will be the first Elon Law alumna to preside from a bench after winning her campaign this month to serve residents of Forsyth County as a District Court judge.

Carrie Vickery L'09
An alumna of Elon Law’s charter class made school history this month when voters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and surrounding communities elected her to serve on District Court in Forsyth County.

Carrie Vickery L’09 will take her oath of office in early January and immediately begin work hearing cases involving family law, misdemeanor criminal charges, and juvenile justice, among other responsibilities. She is the first Elon Law alum, of which the university has record, to be elected or appointed judge at the district court or higher.

Vickery was elected to fill a seat vacated by retiring Judge William Graham.

“It makes sense that someone from the charter class might be the first alum to serve in this kind of role,” Vickery said of her achievement. “It’s quite an honor and I hope that I will be the first in a long line to come.”

The law wasn’t what Vickery imagined herself pursuing when she first moved to Winston-Salem as a high school student to study at the UNC School of the Arts. At the time, the talented oboist envisioned a career in music, but her passions shifted once a civics teacher sparked an interest in government.

Vickery earned a degree in political science from Western Carolina University, enrolled in Elon Law’s charter class at the age of 19, and graduated three years later with a job offer in private practice in Winston-Salem. As an attorney with Holton Law Firm, she quickly rose to regional prominence through community work and service to civic and professional organizations such as the bar association and the Junior League.

“When you’re a lawyer, you have a unique opportunity to help people, but as a judge you have an even broader opportunity to do so,” she said. “Being involved in the community is important. The district court, to me, is the most important court in our state because of how it impacts people.”

Vickery made statewide news in 2013 when she donated a kidney to a fellow Winston-Salem attorney whose health was in steep decline. Both recovered from the procedure and remain close to this day.

Alan Woodlief, Elon Law’s senior associate dean for admissions, finance and administration, remembered Vickery as a “go-getter” in the charter class whose growth into a lawyer leader has been remarkable to watch. He praised her commitment to service and her selflessness in saving the life of a fellow attorney via organ donation.

“I’m incredibly proud to see Carrie’s progression in the legal profession,” Woodlief said. “Carrie represents the type of lawyer leader we aim to educate at Elon Law. Her achievements reflect not only a commitment to her profession, but a dedication to her community and others.”

Vickery was no stranger to campaigns when she first entered the race to serve as a district court judge. She has campaigned in recent years for several North Carolina politicians, including Erskine Bowles, Kay Hagan and Heath Shuler.

She expressed gratitude to the countless volunteers who joined her in canvassing neighborhoods, helping to fundraise, working the polls, and much more. “It’s been really humbling and gratifying to see the amount of support I’ve received from the community,” she said. “And there’s a lot of work I have to do between now and January.

“I’m looking forward to taking the bench.”