To Top

Inspiring Conversations with Alice Stubbs of Tharrington Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alice Stubbs. 

Hi Alice, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Durham, North Carolina in 1967 while my dad was in law school at Duke and Mom was an elementary school teacher. We moved to New Bern when I was 2 and I spent most of my childhood playing tennis or on the river. I miss those days. I always wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up, maybe because I spent so much time watching Dad in court. After finishing law school at UNC, I clerked for a Bankruptcy judge in Greensboro and spent several years in private practice with Stubbs & Perdue, where I learned about the reality of the court system. In 1997 Governor Hunt appointed me to serve as a judge on the Wake County District Court in Raleigh. At the time I was only 30, but I thought that was old. Thankfully I had a number of excellent lawyers and wise judges who served as mentors and taught me most of what I know about becoming a good lawyer and a fair judge. I miss those days. In 1999 I married Tex Barrow, the most interesting man and smartest lawyer I had ever met. We have two sons, one of whom is in law school, and one of whom is a sophomore in college. In 2006 I was fortunate to join the family law section at Tharrington Smith, and I have been here since then practicing family law and helping good people get through sometimes tough divorces. My stepdaughter joined me as a divorce lawyer at TS about ten years ago, and it has been fun to work with her. The job is not always easy, but we get to work with clients during some of their most difficult times, and it is rewarding to watch people get through to the other side. There is always a light at the end of every tunnel and that is almost always true for men and women who separate and divorce. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest struggle for me came in 1994 when we lost our mom to an aneurysm at the age of 50. She was my closest person and a rock for me and my three younger siblings. In many ways, we grew up more quickly after she died, and ironically, her death strengthened my faith in God. Career struggles have been less traumatic, but running for judicial elections in 1998, 2002, and 2004 was awkward and it hurt my feelings when I lost a statewide election in 2004 for the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In hindsight, it was a huge blessing because I am better suited for private practice and would not be where I am today if I had not lost that election. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Tharrington Smith is a wonderful mid-sized law firm in Raleigh. There is no way to express how grateful I am for our firm and the great clients I have worked with over the past 15 years. We are like a family and we work together to help individuals, corporations, and institutions handle all types of legal problems. There are a number of sections in the firm, including criminal, civil, education, administrative, and family law. My practice is exclusively divorce and family law, including mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Wade Smith founded the firm with Harold Tharrington 57 years ago. Harold has retired, but Wade is here every day, teaching all of us life lessons and how to be better lawyers. We have ten attorneys and five paralegals in the family law section, so we are able to handle every type of issue people face when going through separation and divorce. My goal is to be solution-oriented and help people navigate the process with financial and emotional success and to obtain the best possible custody arrangement for their children. It is never fun to give up time with your children, have your business valued, or pay money to a former spouse, but we try to achieve the best possible results by underpromising and overperforming. The goal is to settle cases out of court, and the best way to do that is to do that is to be able to effectively try cases in court if and when it becomes necessary to protect our clients’ children and assets. When I left the family court bench in 2006, there was no question that my first choice was to go into private practice at Tharrington Smith, and it has turned out to be the right fit for me. 

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
I’m not sure it is possible to define “success” any more than it is to define “happiness,” but I will keep striving to find both. Without my faith, family, and friends, it will be impossible to find either. 

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageRaleigh is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Local Stories