Melvin F. Wright, Jr., Executive Director
Melvin F. Wright, Jr. received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina in 1967 and his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1973. Mel was a private practice attorney for 26 years until he became the Executive Director of the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism in November 1999. He served in that capacity until his retirement in August 2017 and has resumed this role in March 2019.
As a newly formed Commission, Mel had the challenging task of establishing the office from only a Supreme Court Order. He has worked tirelessly for the cause of professionalism, both as Executive Director of the Commission and as a private practice attorney. In addition to his many years in private practice, he has served as President of the Forsyth County Bar Association and the 21st Judicial District, Chairman of the Ethics and Grievances Committee of the Forsyth County Bar Association, officer of Executive Committee of the Forsyth County Bar Association and the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Chairman of the National Consortium on Professionalism Initiatives, Chairman of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism, member of the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Bar Association’s BarCARES, member of the National Legal Mentoring Consortium, member of the North Carolina Bar Association and the Wake County Bar Association Professionalism committees; member of the North Carolina Bar Association Transitioning Lawyer Commission, and member of the Advisory Committee for the National High School Mock Trial Championship, and member of the Wake County, North Carolina and American Bar Associations, the American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility, and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Mel has been awarded the Bronze Star and Air Medal for his service in Vietnam; the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the Wake County Bar Association Professionalism Award, the Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award, the Robinson O. Everett Professionalism Award from the Campbell University School of Law, the John B. McMillan Award for Public Service, and the CJCP Award for Meritorious and Extraordinary Service. He has also received the Martindale Hubbell AV Rating.
Lastly, Mel has served as an adjunct professor at both the University of North Carolina School of Law and the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, teaching Professional Responsibility.
James "Jimbo" S. Perry, Co-Executive Director
Perry is an attorney with Perry, Perry, & Perry in Kinston. Perry studied at the University of North Carolina School of Law where he graduated in 1980. Immediately after graduation, he worked in private practice then transitioned into the role of assistant United States attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office in Raleigh until 1985. From there, Perry moved back to his hometown of Kinston to work with his father, mother, sister, and uncle in private practice after founding the firm Perry, Perry, & Perry where he continues to work today.
Perry has devoted his life to his family and service to his community through church, volunteering local public and private schools, youth sports, and local jail facilities. Other service includes serving on his local school board, working with the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Little by Little, Refuge Camp for Children, Hope Restoration, Flynn Recovery Home, and Eastern N.C. Inn of Court.
Perry has served as a member of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism and is the recipient of the Citizen Lawyer Award, John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award, Tommy Jarrett Service Award, QC Honors Recognition, Southern Star Recognition, and the 2021 Chief Justice's Professionalism Award.