Shelby Benton Is New NCBA President
Shelby Duffy Benton of Goldsboro is the new president of the North Carolina Bar Association. She was installed Saturday evening, June 20, at the NCBA Annual Meeting in Asheville.
Benton, who operates Benton Family Law, has practiced law in Goldsboro since 1985. She is the fourth Goldsboro lawyer to lead the NCBA, preceded in that regard by Kenneth C. Royall (1929-30), W. Frank Taylor (1943-44) and Lindsay C. Warren Jr. (1969-70).
Chief Justice Mark Martin of the N.C. Supreme Court delivered the oath of office.
In her installation address, Benton focused on three key themes for the coming year: grassroots advocacy, marketing and technology. She is committed to continuing the advances the NCBA has made over the past year in its legislative outreach and will provide similar focus toward its marketing efforts.
“And we will work to embrace technology,” Benton said, especially as it pertains to the delivery of legal services and bridging the justice gap.
It is important, she added, for lawyers to spend less time looking back through the rearview mirror and more time looking forward through the front windshield.
“The rearview mirror is small and limits your view,” Benton said. “The windshield is a wide expanse. If we do not focus on what is in front of us, the future, we are going to be left behind as a profession.”
Benton is already assured of accomplishing a couple of firsts with her presidency as the first Campbell Law School graduate and the first certified family law specialist to lead the NCBA. She graduated from North Carolina State University in 1982 and Campbell Law School in 1985.
Within the NCBA, Benton previously chaired the Family Law Section in 2009-10 and served on the NCBA Board of Governors from 2010-13. She is also a past president of the Wayne County Bar Association and the 8th Judicial District Bar, and has provided volunteer leadership beyond the legal profession in Goldsboro and Wayne County.
Benton is the co-founder and past-president of WAVE (Wayne Area Volleyball Enthusiasts). She has also served as chair of the Wayne County Criminal Justice Partnership Advisory Board, the Carver Elementary School Advisory Board and the Spring Creek High School Advisory Board, and was a Girl Scout Troop Leader from 1992-97.
The NCBA honored Benton in 2012 for her community involvement by presenting her with the Citizen Lawyer Award.
Benton and her husband, Neal, have a blended family that includes five children: Mallory, Brooke and her husband Chris, Owen, Emily, and Stephen.