The Hon. Barron L. Thompson L’09 pledged Monday to support the U.S. and state constitutions and administer justice without favoritism as a North Carolina District Court judge in a ceremonial swearing-in led by the Hon. Sarah Neely Lanier L’10.
The Hon. Barron L. Thompson L’09 reminds himself each day of three qualities for living a good life cited in the King James Bible’s Book of Micah: Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
Thompson will also tell you that doing justice, showing mercy, and exhibiting humility are traits of the best judges in whose courtrooms he has represented clients.
“For many of us, our profession is to do justice … the attorneys, the judges, the courthouse staff,” Thompson told supporters who gathered Monday for his ceremonial oath to serve as a North Carolina District Court judge. “But that also has to be balanced against mercy. We all say we want justice until we see blue lights in the rearview mirror, and then we want a healthy dose of mercy! So those things have to be balanced constantly … and I’ve often said the judge should be the most humble person in the courtroom.”
Humility, however, doesn’t preclude a bit of history making. After winning election in November, Thompson is now the fourth Elon Law alum to serve as a North Carolina District Court judge and the first to have had his oath of office administered by another Elon Law graduate.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on January 4, 2021, with family, friends, and local dignitaries spaced apart in a small Randolph County courtroom in accordance with COVID-19 health protocols, Thompson placed his left hand on a Bible held by his two children before reciting an oath led by the Hon. Sarah Neely Lanier L’10.
Lanier herself was sworn into office just two years ago and will now work alongside Thompson as jurists in the same judicial district. “This is the first time an Elon Law alumna serving as a judge gets to swear in another Elon Law alum to the office of judge,” Lanier said in her welcoming remarks. “I’m proud to be a part of this historical moment.”
After completing his oath, Thompson was helped into his judicial robe for the first time by his wife, Dr. Emily Houston Thompson. In the audience were his parents, who never attended college but always told their son from an early age that he would, in fact, pursue higher education and consider a world of possibilities not afforded them.
The legal profession is where Thompson, a member of Elon Law’s charter class, is now building his legacy.
“This robe is heavy not just because it’s made out of linen and canvas and horsehair,” Thompson told his audience, “but because of the way the law falls on everyone who puts it on and feels that incredible responsibility.”