“People would come from miles around to see a lady lawyer.”Kathrine r. everett
“She was complete–she broke new ground in her profession; she was a daughter, wife and mother; she invested intelligence and energy in her church and other organizations; and as a citizen she contributed to the government of her community. And all these things she did with warmth and grace.”Remarks by Dean Judith Wegner at the rededication ceremony, Sept 5, 1993.
Kathrine Robinson Everett, born in 1893, was the third woman to graduate from the University of North Carolina’s School of Law. She graduated at the top of her class in 1920, made the highest score on the state bar exam that year, and became the eleventh woman admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina. She practiced with her father in Fayetteville before marrying Reuben O. Everett in 1926 and joining his practice in Durham. She specialized in civil matters and assisted her husband on briefs and title work. Their son, Robinson O. Everett, was born in 1928. She continued working with the firm while raising her son and devoting much of her time to philanthropic efforts.
In 1951, Mrs. Everett became one of the first two women to successfully run for the Durham City Council. She was elected with the support of a new political alignment between labor organizations, African American voters, and a growing liberal wing in Durham. Mrs. Everett remained on the Durham City Council for twenty years, during which time she continued to practice law. She, her husband, and her son were all admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court on the same day in 1954, a first for the Court.
Mrs. Everett practiced law well into her nineties and in 1990, she was thought to be the oldest practicing attorney in the United States. She passed away on January 28, 1992. In September of 1994, on what would have been her 100th birthday, the law library at UNC was named in her honor and has been known ever since as the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library.
Laura N. Gasway and Judith W. Wegner, Women at UNC and In the Practice of Law, in THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: A SESQUICENTENNIAL HISTORY 705, 712-713 (1995).
Jean Bradley Anderson, DURHAM COUNTY: A HISTORY OF DURHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA 334-335, (2d ed. 2011).