Former N.C. Supreme Court justice named Visiting Distinguished Jurist in Residence

The Hon. Mark Davis, whose career has included service on the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals, will lead Elon Law courses this winter and spring in criminal law and the judicial process.

The Hon. Mark Davis, Visiting Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Elon Law

A former North Carolina Supreme Court associate justice and author of a book on the expansion of individual rights in the state has been named Visiting Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Elon Law.

The Hon. Mark Davis, who authored more than 500 judicial opinions over the past eight years on virtually every area of law while serving on the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals, started his new Elon Law role at the beginning of January.

At Elon Law, Davis will lead courses on the judicial process, assist Professor and Senior Scholar Steve Friedland in teaching criminal law, and assist with the supervision of students completing their Elon Law residencies-in-practice in judicial chambers. Davis also will convene and moderate panels on the law for the greater community.

“I love talking to law students about legal issues and mentoring them about their career choices,” Davis said. “And I consider myself fortunate to have had so many interesting jobs in the legal profession over the past 27 years.

“I’m excited about the prospect of sharing with Elon Law students the knowledge I have acquired along the way and remember very clearly what it is like to be a law student with the challenges you face as you struggle to master legal concepts and become familiar with the language and culture of the legal profession. Being able to put myself in my students’ shoes will make me a better professor.”

Davis served as an associate justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court from 2019-2020 and on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2012-2019. Before joining the Court of Appeals, Davis worked as general counsel in the Office of the Governor, and he served as Special Deputy Attorney General in the Special Litigation section where he defended constitutional challenges to North Carolina statutes while handling lawsuits brought against state agencies.

From 1993-2006, Davis practiced at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice where he represented local governments on a wide variety of issues and handled general tort litigation. Davis litigated more than 200 cases during his years with the firm and handled dozens of appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Davis also is the author of the 2019 book “A Warren Court of Our Own: The Exum Court and the Expansion of Individual Rights in North Carolina,” which explores the jurisprudence that evolved when former North Carolina Chief Justice James Exum, Jr. presided over the court from 1986 to 1994. Exum is a founding member of the Elon Law Advisory Board and a retired member of the Elon Law faculty.

Davis earned his Bachelor of Arts and his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Master of Laws from Duke University. He is the recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the State of North Carolina.

“We are privileged to have Judge Davis join our community this winter and I know Elon Law will be an even better law school because of his contributions to our students’ success,” said Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman. “There’s no doubt that Judge Davis will be a trusted mentor for the growing number of Elon Law students who show interest in completing their residencies-in-practice in judicial chambers and then applying for clerkships following graduation. His service on the bench of North Carolina’s highest courts and his knowledge of the appellate process offers our students an opportunity to learn from an accomplished lawyer leader committed to educating the next generation of attorneys.”