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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Appointment to the North Carolina Supreme Court

After McMullen's sudden death, Lake returned to a successful private practice. By 1965, his success as an attorney led to his appointment to the state supreme court by Governor Dan Moore.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with I. Beverly Lake Sr., September 8, 1987. Interview C-0043. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

...After Mr. McMullan's death, I decided the time had come to go back into private practice. My friend, A.J. Fletcher, who was a practioner in Raleigh, a sole practioner, which was a very practical thing in those days, invited me [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
to be his partner, which I did. Our partnership lasted then for ten years. Mr. Fletcher actuelly retired before that time. Then I took in as junior partners in the firm. Eugene Boyce, who is now practicing law in Raleigh, and my son, I. Beverly Lake, Jr., now a Special Superior Court Judge. We had a very fine time practicing law in the old Capitol Club Building. building. It was reasonably rewarding financially. At least we didn't starve. So I got along with that. One of my most interesting cases was the Wilson Tobacco Market case in which Center Brick Warehouse sued all the other operators on the Wilson market, alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The bone of contention was what was then a system of allocating selling time among the several warehouses operating on the Wilson Tobacco Market. Time [was allocated] on the basis of floor space in the various warehouses, which brought on a wasteful expansion of warehouse floor space. The more floor space a warehouse had, the more selling time. But anyhow, we tried that case in New Bern before Judge John Larkins in the United States District Court. That trial lasted six weeks. We were successful. The jury returned the verdict in our favor. While the jury was out. I had a telephone call from Governor Dan Moore, who had been, incidentally, my opponent in my second campaign for Governor in 1964, and always my very good friend. He asked me to come by the next morning to the mansion. He had something he wanted to talk to me about. So I waited to get the jury verdict, which was in my favor, and then I came on home, and the next morning I went over. Governor Moore offered me an appointment to the Supreme Court. So within a space of about twelve hours, I had won my biggest trial in the United States District Court and got appointed to the Supreme Court. I was appointed to succeed Justice Rodman, also a very fine old friend. Justice Rodman actually did not retire until some few weeks later, and I was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice on my birthday in August, 1965. I then had the most delightful experience. Work on the Supreme Court was extremely interesting. Some of it, of course, was a little dull but very interesting work, very pleasant work. The associations, particularly associations which I had with the other members of the Court, were delightful beyond description. I served with Chief Justice Denny, who swore me in, Chief Justice Parker, Chief Justice Bobbitt, and Chief Justice Sharp. United Chief Justice Sharp. I was the Senior Associate Justice, so I sat on her right and, figuratively, became her right hand man on the Court. [Laughter]