The North Carolina State Bar recently recognized the 50th anniversary of Blue LLP founding partner Daniel T. Blue, Jr.’s admission to the bar. In recognizing all of the honorees, the Bar observed that “these remarkable lawyers entered the legal profession during a time of political, cultural, and technological events that would transform their world and the practice of law[.]”
In an essay penned for the recognition, Blue highlighted his upbringing in rural Robeson County, inspiring figures who influenced his legal career, and more broadly reflected on his journey in the law.
I have traversed a lot of territory since my birth and upbringing in my parents’ four-room farmhouse near Lumberton, North Carolina, through my past 50 years as a lawyer. . . . Although I knew no lawyers growing up, I knew of and admired Terry Sanford and Thurgood Marshall. They appeared to be among the figures most relevant to the issues informing my life in the early to mid-1960s.
The 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy reinforced my emerging beliefs that law could be the most impactful way to make meaningful contributions to our state and country, whether through leadership or the active engagement in the practice of law. My years at Duke Law School reinforced that belief.
Parallel with my practice of law over the past 50 years has been 40 years of service in the North Carolina General Assembly, where I have been fortunate to rise to the highest positions of leadership—Speaker of the House of Representatives and democratic leader of the Senate. Additionally, I served on the Duke University Board of Trustees for 16 years, including serving as chair. Those roles have consumed a great deal of my life outside of the law. But most importantly, involvement and engagement with my family has been the most fulfilling.
Blue’s full essay, published in the North Carolina State Bar 2023 Fifty-Year Lawyers Luncheon program, is available here.