5 Questions with Adrienne Blocker
Posted on May 2023
Adrienne Blocker is the managing trial attorney at DeMayo Law Offices in Charlotte. Actively involved in the legal community, Blocker serves as secretary of the board for the North Carolina Mock Trial Program, and was formerly vice president of Education and chair of the Auto Torts section for North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Blocker has turned her passion for helping others into a successful legal career representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases. She received her B.S. from Minot State University and her J.D. from Campbell University School of Law. With more than 20 years of experience, Blocker practiced at Crumley Roberts; Robertson, Medlin & Blocker; The Law Offices of John M. McCabe; and the Law Offices of Adrienne Blocker before landing at DeMayo Law.
She recently spoke to North Carolina Lawyers Weekly about mentorship, her involvement with the North Carolina Mock Trial Program, the work of North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and her firm’s scholarship program.
What area of law are you most passionate about and why?
I have found my passion in law doing exactly the work I am doing: personal injury trial work. It was not what I expected to do in law school, but after a summer internship at a personal injury firm, I found that the practice area connected with my innate desire to help others. The trial side of the practice means that I am always actively fighting on behalf of my clients and strategizing to get them the best results. The hugs and thanks I get at the end of a case make this work special and fulfilling, both professionally and personally.
What drew you to get involved with the North Carolina Mock Trial Program? Why is it important for high school students to have access to programs like this?
I first got involved in the North Carolina High School Mock Trial Program about 20 years ago when a call went out to the local bar asking for attorney volunteers to help judge the regional competition. After returning for a few years, I was recruited to help the local regional coordinator manage the competition and served on the board of directors, where I remain secretary. We just managed the state finals competition on March 17 and 18, and the winning team will compete in the national competition in May. High school students in the mock trial program gain a critical civic understanding of our justice system and that trial by jury is crucial to preserving our rights as citizens. These students gain self-confidence and develop analytical reasoning and communication skills vital to their future success.
As someone who gives back to the community through mentorship, who are some of the most influential mentors you’ve had, and what did they teach you?
As trite as it may seem, one of my mentors was my mother. She taught me and my sisters that we could do and become anything we wanted, to be self-sufficient, and to perform tzedakah. In the Jewish faith, tzedakah is an obligation to do what is right and just as part of living a spiritual life. In our house, tzedakah is more than financial charity; it is building trusting relationships and giving your time and insight. While my mother was my life mentor, my first legal mentor and now friend was a defense attorney. I had been practicing only briefly when I had my first trial, and everything was stacked against me. As expected, I lost that trial. My firm-assigned mentor asked the defense attorney for feedback on how I did and passed that on to me. As serendipity would have it, that same defense attorney was on the other side of my second trial. After that trial, I just asked him for direct feedback on how I had improved and where I still needed to improve. Since then, we have been on opposite sides and sometimes worked together as co-counsels on cases. I have no doubt that I am a better trial attorney for this mentorship and friendship.
You were previously the vice president of Education and chair of the Auto Torts section for North Carolina Advocates for Justice. What is the importance of the organization, and what prompted your involvement with it?
I first became involved in the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, then known as the North Carolina Association of Trial Lawyers, while I was in law school for networking and continuing education opportunities. Twenty-five years later, I am still a member for the same reasons, plus the advocacy that NCAJ does on behalf of our clients. I served as vice president of Education for a few years, as I felt it important to give back to the organization that had given me so much. As VP of Education, I helped ensure that we had quality, timely programs and pushed for equity, inclusion and diversity in the speakers at these programs. A common theme with me is education and learning. I currently serve as chair of the board of Continuing Legal Education for the North Carolina State Bar, which sets forth the standards for continuing education for all North Carolina licensed attorneys.
Your firm has a college scholarship program that has given $2,500 to 20 high school seniors across 11 counties in North Carolina this year alone. What does DeMayo Law hope to accomplish through this program?
At DeMayo Law, we see the devastation of distracted and drunk driving on an almost daily basis. The Michael A. DeMayo Arrive Alive® Scholarship Program was established 21 years ago to help high school students understand the dangers of drinking and driving and to help curb that dangerous activity. The scholarship program has also expanded to focus on the dangers of distracted driving. The program has given more than $700,000 in scholarships to positively impact our communities and save lives in the process.