Shelby Benton Is New President-Elect
Shelby Duffy Benton of Goldsboro is the new president-elect of the North Carolina Bar Association. She was elected Saturday morning, June 21, at the NCBA Annual Meeting in Wilmington.
Benton, who operates Benton Family Law, has practiced law in Goldsboro since 1985. She will be sworn in next June in Asheville as the 121st president of the NCBA and the fourth from Goldsboro, preceded in that regard by Kenneth C. Royall (1929-30), W. Frank Taylor (1943-44) and Lindsay C. Warren Jr. (1969-70).
Warren and fellow Past-President Martin Brinkley of Raleigh made the trip to Goldsboro in April to inform Benton that she was being nominated.
“I was shocked,” said Benton. “It is a tremendous honor to serve in this capacity, and it also requires a great deal of time. But I am convinced, and others have convinced me, that the Lord will find a way to make this work, and I am looking extremely forward to serving.”
Benton is a 1982 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 1985 graduate of the Campbell Law School, making her the law school’s first graduate to lead the NCBA. She has been a certified family law specialist since 1995 and, in that regard too, is the first to lead the NCBA.
Throughout her career, Benton has been a staunch advocate for the legal profession and a distinguished leader within the NCBA. She chaired the Family Law Section in 2009-10 and served on the NCBA Board of Governors from 2010-13. She is also a past president of the Wayne County Bar Association and the 8th Judicial District Bar.
“What we do helps people; our association helps people,” Benton said. “And we get back tenfold more from the association what we give. It broadens your horizon to not just be focused on your area of practice, and if you ever get down it will bring you back up.
“Mostly for me, it makes me feel good to practice law.”
Benton devotes much of her time to helping people, whether it’s within her practice or during free time. She has been especially involved in youth volleyball, where she is the co-founder and past-president of WAVE, the Wayne Area Volleyball Enthusiasts.
She has also served as chair of the Wayne County Criminal Justice Partnership Advisory Board, the Carver Elementary School Advisory Board and the Spring Creek High School Advisory Board. Benton was a Girl Scout Troop Leader from 1992-97 and has been involved in numerous other civic endeavors.
The NCBA honored Benton for her community involvement by presenting her with the Citizen Lawyer Award.
Benton and her husband, Neal, have a blended family that includes five children: Mallory, Brooke and her husband Chris, Owen, Emily, and Stephen.
Immediate Past-President Mike Wells, who chaired the Past Presidents’ Council which selects the nominee, placed Benton’s name in nomination. Seconding speeches were provided by Marcia Armstrong who practices in Smithfield and fellow Goldsboro attorney Geoff Hulse.
Then, in keeping with traditions of the NCBA, the past presidents in attendance at the Annual Meeting ushered the new president-elect to the stage.