In 1980, Adam Stein is appointed as the North Carolina Appellate Defender. It is the first statewide appellate office to handle criminal appeals for indigent defendants. As for Mr. Stein’s qualifications, one fellow attorney comments: “Not only does he have a demonstrated career commitment to helping people, his skill level is almost overwhelming.”

In 1982, James Ferguson represents Ameen Kareem Abdullah, who was charged with murdering a Charlotte police officer during an armed robbery. Although the prosecution seeks the death penalty in a case in which the entire courthouse community assumes that the death penalty will be imposed, Mr. Ferguson is able to secure a life sentence for his client.

In 1984, Julius Chambers departs the firm to become the Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. At the time of his departure from Charlotte, Mr. Chambers is referred to as “a community’s conscience” for “his legal undertakings in the cause of civil rights.”

On December 3, 1984, Jon Wallas argues Anderson v. Bessemer City. in the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Anderson, who was passed over for the position of Director of Recreational Facilities and Programs of Bessemer City, North Carolina, in favor of a man, brought suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, claiming that she had been denied the position on account of her sex. The federal district court’s finding of sex discrimination was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

On March 19, 1985, the Supreme Court overrules the appellate court and reinstate Ms. Anderson’s victory in Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564 (1985), a case that was argued by Jon Wallas.

On March 28, 1988, Adam Stein argues West v. Atkins in the United States Supreme Court.

On June 20, 1988, the Supreme Court rules 9-0 in favor of the firm’s argument in West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988), that a physician who is under contract with the State to provide medical services to inmates at a state prison hospital on a part-time basis acts “under color of state law,” within the meaning of § 1983, when he treats an inmate.

On November 2, 1988, John Gresham argues Reed v. United Transportation Union in the United States Supreme Court.

On January 11, 1989, the Supreme Court rules 8-1 in favor of the firm’s position in Reed v. United Transportation Union, 488 U.S. 319 (1989).