Corporate Counsel

Joseph B. Cheshire, V Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale, Raleigh

I worked most of my youth and young adult years as a waiter. I learned how to deal with people, what it took to please them, how to deal with them when they were angry or disappointed. I learned people. I learned what hard work was like, working two shifts a day for 11 hours a day, six days a week, cleaning kitchens and depending on the good graces of strangers for income. I met people who did that all their lives, and I saw the toll it took. It helped motivate me to get my education, and once I got it, it helped me greatly in learning how to be successful and how to relate to and accept people for who and what they were.

Vita: Born May 19, 1947, in Raleigh; bachelor’s from UNC Chapel Hill and law degree from Wake Forest University; wife and two sons. Why he chose this field: Reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and the civil-rights movement of the early ’60s. I wanted to dedicate my life to fighting the abuses of government and to ensure that justice for our people was, in fact, justice. Memorable case: One I’m doing now, the Duke lacrosse case, which demonstrates for me all the governmental abuses that were the reason I decided to be a lawyer in the first place. What he’d be if not a lawyer: A teacher and coach at the high-school level. Heroes: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and mentor Wade Smith. Recent reading: The Known World, Edward Jones’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the moral complexities of slavery in America. Don’t ask him to: Not say what I think or stand up for what I think is right, even if doing so might be against my self-interest.