Luke Largess joined Tin Fulton Walker & Owen in 2009 after 18 years as a partner at Ferguson Stein Chambers Gresham & Sumter. One of eight children in a Navy family, Luke graduated cum laude from Duke University and worked as a teacher, social worker and carpenter before entering law school at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he graduated in 1990. While at Chapel Hill, Luke was inducted into the Davis Honor Society and the University’s Order of the Golden Fleece. He received the Student Pro Bono Award from the North Carolina State Bar for helping start the North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation (NC LEAF), the nation’s first state-wide, loan-forgiveness program to assist lawyers engaged in public service with servicing school debt. Luke also served as an observer at the 1990 elections in Nicaragua. Luke’s practice includes trial and appellate work in state and federal courts in education, employment, civil rights, criminal defense, personal injury and medical negligence. He has secured large jury verdicts in Title VII retaliation and defamation lawsuits, as well as significant confidential settlements in police misconduct and medical malpractice cases.
Luke represented the class of black families in Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the progeny of the historic Charlotte school desegregation case originally known as Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education.
Luke has also represented schoolteachers since 1990, including members of the North Carolina Association of Educators. Recently, Luke represented a former teacher who was awarded over $1.1 million by a federal jury which found the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools violated his Due Process rights. After the trial, Luke observed that the jury’s verdict should help “the school system to appreciate the personal pressure that people are under when they’re accused [of wrongdoing],” and stressed that teachers “should be supported and not just treated as the enemy.”
In 2014, Luke 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.
Luke is married to journalist Elizabeth Leland, a recent recipient of the prestigious Thomas Wolfe award. He has served on the board and legal committee of the ACLU of North Carolina and the North Carolina Justice Center.
Luke remains involved as board president of NCLEAF which today provides over $750,000 in assistance annually to public service lawyers.
University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1990
Duke University, B.A., 1979
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
Civil Rights & Constitutional Law
Employment & Labor
Personal & Catastrophic Injury
AV® Preeminent Rating from Martindale–Hubbell
Super Lawyers (2011-Present)
Best Lawyers in America (2014-Present)
Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite (2014)
Leader in the Law, NC Lawyers Weekly (2013)
ACLU of Charlotte, Richard L. Hester Civil Liberties Award (2016)
Davis Honor Society, UNC School of Law
Order of the Golden Fleece, UNC School of Law
Student Pro Bono Award, North Carolina State Bar
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)
General Synod v. Reisinger, The Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt Inn of Court (2014)
Law Enforcement Misconduct: Real Cases, Real Issues, NC Advocates for Justice (2013)
Sovereign and Governmental Immunity, NC Advocates for Justice (2012)
Overview of State Law Involving Civil Actions Against Law Enforcement Officers, National Business Institute (2011)
Mecklenburg County Bar
North Carolina Advocates for Justice
North Carolina Bar Association
ACLU of North Carolina, Board & Legal Committee
North Carolina Justice Center, Board & Legal Committee
NCLEAF, Board President