Born and raised in New York City, Jake Sussman received his law degree from New York University School of Law in 2002, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. Following law school, Jake clerked for the Honorable Ellen B. Burns, United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut. Jake then moved to North Carolina and practiced with Ferguson Stein Chambers Gresham & Sumter before joining Tin Fulton Walker & Owen in 2011.
Jake’s practice primarily focuses on criminal defense in federal and state courts. He handles all manner of cases, from “white collar” crimes to drug conspiracies to capital cases, and at all stages of litigation, including pre-indictment, trial, and appeal. Jake also represents licensed professionals, including other lawyers, on ethics and disciplinary matters before the State Bar, and has represented clients in regulatory proceedings involving the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
Jake has represented clients in other states, including Brian Nichols in a high-profile capital murder trial in Fulton County, Georgia, and multiple plaintiffs in a federal race discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.
In addition to his criminal practice, Jake handles civil rights and law enforcement misconduct cases. In this area, Jake has represented individuals in claims against federal, state, and local governments, and has litigated federal and state constitutional actions, as well as state tort actions for intentional or negligent conduct. In 2014, Jake was one of the lead lawyers in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Reisinger, which successfully challenged North Carolina’s ban against same-sex marriage. Click here to read the court order striking down North Carolina’s Amendment One.
Jake has been selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and the “Legal Elite” by Business North Carolina, and has been awarded an AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, the highest possible rating for legal ability and ethical standards.
Before entering law school, Jake worked as an investigator on death penalty cases in Alabama, Georgia and California. During law school, he clerked with the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., the Bronx Defenders, and the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society, where he represented youth in juvenile delinquency proceedings.
Jake is a volunteer soccer coach for Charlotte Junior Soccer and a proud member of the 2014 Mecklenburg County Lawyers’ Basketball League champions.
New York University School of Law, J.D., 2002
Wesleyan University, B.A., 1996
U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Civil Rights & Constitutional Law
White Collar Defense
AV® Preeminent Rating from Martindale–Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America (2013-present)
Super Lawyers (2014-present)
Leader in the Law, NC Lawyers Weekly (2015)
ACLU of Charlotte, Richard L. Hester Civil Liberties Award (2016)
Business North Carolina “Legal Elite” (2010, 2015)
Top 100 Trial Lawyers in North Carolina
Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar, NYU School of Law
Editor, NYU Review of Law & Social Change
Changing Legal Lines Across the Decades: Legal Experts on Religion and Politics, Temple Beth El, Comparative Religion Series (2016)
Day One in North Carolina: How General Synod of the UCC v. Reisinger Brought Marriage Equality to North Carolina, LGBT* in the South Conference (2015)
Death Penalty Symposium, Criminal Law Society, Charlotte School of Law (2015)
Working with Experts, NACDL: Making the Case for Life (2014)
Organizing Case File to Avoid Execution if Death Sentence is Imposed, NACDL: Making the Case for Life (2014)
General Synod v. Reisinger, The Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt Inn of Court (2014)
Finding a Trial Narrative in Challenging Cases, NC Advocates for Justice (2013)
Law Enforcement Misconduct: Real Cases, Real Issues, NC Advocates for Justice (2013)
Using Experts in Your Case: Pre-Indictment to Sentencing, Federal Defender CJA Seminar (2013)
First Amendment Issues: Privacy & Protest, NC Advocates for Justice (2012)
(Re)Active Investigation: How Not to Be a Potted Plant, National Defender Investigator Association (2012)
Mental Health & Jail Diversion, Mecklenburg County Bar (2010)
Advocacy Tested: Drawing Strength from Team Defense in the Hardest of Times, NAACP-LDF: 30th Annual Capital Punishment Training (2009)
Organizing Chaos Through Technology, NLADA: Life in the Balance (2009)
Saving Nichols: A Team Approach to Capital Defense, NLADA: Life in the Balance (2009)
Ethics: Where Civil Rights, Criminal Defense & Immigration Law Collide, NC Advocates for Justice (2009)
Unlimited Innocence: Recognizing an Actual Innocence Exception to AEDPA’s Statute of Limitations, 27 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 343 (2001-02)
Suspect Choices: Lineup Procedures and the Abdication of Judicial and Prosecutorial Responsibility for Improving the Criminal Justice System, 27 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 507 (2001-02)
As Compared With What? A Response to Brooks Emanuel’s Critique of North Carolina’s Comparative Proportionality Review, The Harbinger: Volume 41 (2016)
Mecklenburg County Bar
Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
North Carolina Advocates for Justice: Board of Governors (2011-12); Civil Rights Section: Chair (2011-12)
North Carolina Bar Association
Criminal Justice Act Panel, Western District of North Carolina