Darrin Jordan, Board Certified Specialist in State Criminal Law
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Darrin when he chaired the State Bar’s Ethics Committee. Darrin is an insightful and practical leader who understands the nuances of the Rules of Professional Conduct, but always seeks to apply them in a real-world way.”
—Alice Mine, State Bar executive director
If you ask most of his colleagues, you’ll find that Darrin Jordan makes an impression on everyone he meets. Darrin is serious and passionate about the practice of law, which you can sense immediately upon meeting him, but you also find pretty quickly that he is kind, thoughtful, introspective, and genuinely cares about his community, fellow lawyers, and everyone he meets. I had the pleasure of interviewing Darrin and enjoyed getting to know more about an individual who has given so much through his devotion to helping not only the community, but lawyers who want to join him in giving back to the profession.
Darrin grew up in Salisbury, North Carolina, and graduated from Campbell University School of Law in 1990. He went on to become an assistant district attorney in Cabarrus County from 1994-1997 and served as a Rowan County Assistant District Attorney from 1997-2000.
Darrin is, in a word, busy. While practicing law full-time, he also served as a member of NC State Bar Council for Judicial District 19C* (now district 27) from 2009 to 2018. The Ethics Committee and Legal Assistance Program Board (LAP) are among the State Bar standing committees on which he has served. He is currently serving as an advisory member of both the State Bar Legislative Committee and the Editorial Board. In addition to these activities,
Darrin finds time to volunteer with the Carolina Center for Civil Education, coordinating the mock trial competitions, and to serve as a presenter and organizer for several continuing legal education courses for the Rowan County Bar.
Darrin became a board certified specialist in state criminal law in 2004, and has been a strong advocate for the specialization program and the many benefits that come from being certified.
Q; What originally motivated you to become a specialist?
Encouragement from fellow criminal law specialists Marshall Bickett (now a district court judge) and James Davis. We met for lunch frequently, and during those lunches we would discuss new criminal law issues and encourage each other to stay up to date. James became a specialist first, then he recruited Judge Bickett, and they both encouraged me to apply.
Q: What career accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
I have been blessed to have worked with incredible individuals and lawyers during my service on the North Carolina State Bar Council as a councilor, as a commissioner on the North Carolina Indigent Defense Services Commission, and as a member of Chief Justice Martin’s Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice. I’ve learned so much from working with the members of these organizations, both professionally and personally, and I am grateful.
Q: How does certification benefit the public?
Certification benefits the public in two crucial ways. First, it helps identify attorneys who have dedicated a major part of their practices to being the very best within an area of law. Secondly, certification makes certain that those attorneys devote themselves to that area of law by concentrating their annual CLE credit on attending seminars that are specifically about their specialty practice area.
Q: How has specialization changed in your 15 years as a specialist?
I’m not sure that it has changed in my 15 years other than there seems to be an emphasis to encourage attorneys not in the private sector (i.e. district attorneys and public defenders) to seek certification and scholarships have been set up for that purpose. I think that encouraging these individuals raises the quality of our entire judicial system and I support this effort. Anything that we can do as a profession to increase public confidence in attorneys and our judicial system is a step in the right direction.
Q: Name the top three benefits you’ve experienced as a result of becoming a specialist.
First, it has encouraged me to always learn more about being a criminal defense attorney, whether it is learning substantive law or the trial advocacy skills that make me a better trial attorney. Second, as I mentioned before, it has given me an opportunity to meet other criminal law specialists who I can rely on to give me their opinions and advice on issues I need help with in handling cases. Finally, I’ve benefited by being a part of an implicit referral network because specialists go to the directory of board certified specialists when they are looking for an attorney in another North Carolina jurisdiction.
Q: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
Despite all the work I have done on both the state and local level for our profession, I really do practice law, go to court every day (except when I’m at a meeting), and try jury trials on a regular basis (when called upon). While I am sure my partners and support staff get frustrated with all the time I spend away from the office, they are extremely supportive and, in kind, I am extremely grateful.
Q: What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?
My first love (outside of my family) is standing in the middle of a cold mountain stream with a fly rod in hand catching our only native trout, brook trout. I also love growing vegetables in my garden and keeping bees. In the winter months I enjoy attending hockey games with my daughter, Anna.
For more information on how to become certified, visit our website at nclawspecialists. gov.