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Melanie Dubis Honored With the Catharine Biggs Arrowood Women's Achievement Award

    News, Community
  • April 01, 2024

Raleigh, NC – Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP is pleased to announce that Melanie Dubis is this year's recipient of the firm's Catharine Biggs Arrowood Women’s Achievement Award. Melanie has been a guiding force in the Triangle's legal, business, and nonprofit community who has maintained a focus throughout her career on mentoring the next generation of women leaders and litigators.

Melanie has won a variety of high-profile court cases for a diverse range of clients over the years. For example, she is lead counsel for the plaintiff school districts in the landmark Leandro case, a long-running lawsuit that established a constitutional right to a sound basic education for all public school students in North Carolina. She is among less than half a percent of all American lawyers invited into the Litigation Counsel of America. She also has served on the leadership council for the North Carolina Bar Association's Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Law Section and remains the leader of Parker Poe's Business Litigation Group.

In addition, Melanie has served on the board of directors for the Raleigh Chamber, the Carolina Ballet, the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina, and the Girl Scouts of America's NC Coastal Pines Council.

Parker Poe created its Women's Achievement Award in 2021 to recognize the achievements of women in the legal profession. Catharine Biggs Arrowood – the first female partner at Parker Poe and one of the first female chairs of an executive committee at a major law firm in the Southeast – was its inaugural recipient. The award is now named after her, and she presented it to Melanie as part of a celebration that brought together the entire firm in person or virtually.

"I was so excited when I heard that you were going to be this year's recipient," Catharine told Melanie. "It is unusual to see a top-notch litigator willing to devote as much time as you have to pro bono matters, matters of public interest, and supporting various nonprofits. What inspired you to be so committed to public service?"

"A lot of it has to do with your influence, frankly, on my career," Melanie replied, "and the example that has always been set here at Parker Poe on our strong commitment to not only our clients but also each other and our communities."

As for the strong commitment to clients, Melanie told a story from when she was a summer clerk at Parker Poe who worked with Catharine on litigation. In a court argument, the opposing counsel made allegations of wrongdoing by Parker Poe's client. "Catharine stood up, slammed her hand on the table, pointed to the other side, and vehemently defended our client's position," Melanie said. "I looked up and thought, 'I want to do that! I want to be that kind of litigator.'"

Catharine emphasized how Melanie has "taken up the mantle for women" at Parker Poe.

"I just think it's the right thing to do," Melanie replied. "A lot of it comes from your example and others in the firm, going back to what drew me to Parker Poe in the first place. You and others really paved the way. The things you experienced and overcame are the reason that women in my generation never heard suggestions that we could not litigate or needed to be in a law library."

Melanie then turned to the young women in the audience.

"And I really hope that what I have experienced and achieved means that you will never be mistaken for the court reporter when you walk into a deposition. I hope that I've continued the tradition that the firm itself and Catharine have carried out so well."

In addition to Melanie and Catharine, the recipients of Parker Poe's Women's Achievement Award have been:

About Parker Poe
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP has more than 275 lawyers in eight offices in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Washington, DC. The firm provides legal counsel to many of the largest companies and local governments in the Southeast.

Parker Poe is a member of two leading international legal networks: TerraLex and the Employment Law Alliance. TerraLex and the ELA have chosen Parker Poe to help guide clients through the challenges of global business.