About Justice Jackson

In November 2010, Barbara Jackson was elected to serve on the Supreme Court of North Carolinatwenty years after beginning her career there as a law clerk for (then Associate) Justice Burley B. Mitchell, Jr.  Previously, she served as Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals for six years.  Prior to taking office, she practiced law for fourteen years, including serving as General Counsel to Commissioner Cherie Berry in the North Carolina Department of Labor.  She also worked in Governor James G. Martin’s office, for an advocacy agency for persons with disabilities, and in private practice concentrating in the area of land use and local government law prior to returning to public service at the Labor Department. 

Justice Jackson received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Thomas J. Watson National Merit Scholar, and served on the staff of the Law Review and as President of Phi Delta Phi in law school.  In May 2014, she was awarded a Master of Laws in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law.  An updated version of her thesis, “Called to Duty: Justice William J. Gaston,” was published last fall in the North Carolina Law Review.

In May 2015, Chief Justice Mark Martin appointed Justice Jackson as one of five co-chairs of a new North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice.  She was charged with focusing on the area of technology and the courts.  In 2014, Justice Jackson authored the article “To Follow or Not To Follow:  The Brave New World of Social Media,” published in the ABA Judges Journal.

Justice Jackson is a member of the Appellate Judges Conference of the ABA, and serves as State Chair for North Carolina.  She is a past member of the Board of Governors and Section Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association, and remains active in other sections and committees.  Justice Jackson also previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Wake County Bar Association.  Currently, she serves on the North Carolina Courts Commission and is a past member of the Dispute Resolution Commission. 

Justice Jackson is the daughter of Phyllis Jackson and the late Kenneth W. Jackson. She was raised in Wake County and graduated from Athens Drive Senior High School.  In 2011, Justice Jackson married Stanly County native Scott Mabry at Highland United Methodist Church, where she has been a member since 1974. 

In 1996, Justice Jackson appeared on the game show JEOPARDY! as a contestant.  When time permits, she enjoys competing in trivia contests on a team with some of the other North Carolina appellate court judges.


Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina                                                     

Raleigh, North Carolina | January 2011 to present

  • Elected November 2010 to eight-year term on North Carolina’s court of last resort. 

Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals                                                 


Raleigh, North Carolina January 2005 - December 2010

  • Elected November 2004 to eight-year term on North Carolina’s intermediate appellate court, which decides questions of law on every case appealed from the Superior and District Courts except capital cases.  The caseload during that timeframe exceeded 1,700 cases annually for the fifteen members of the court.


General Counsel, North Carolina Department of Labor                                            

Raleigh, North Carolina | February 2001 - December 2004

  • Responsible for provision of all in house legal services for the Department of Labor.  Draft administrative rules and legislation affecting the Department.  Interact with attorneys and members of the public who require services or information, the Occupational Safety and Review Board, the Office of Administrative Hearings and the Rules Review Commission, and the United States Department of Labor.                

Associate, Holt York McDarris, LLP

Raleigh, North Carolina | January 1997 - December 2000

  • Land use, local government and municipal law, real property and litigation practice.

Deputy General Counsel, Governor’s Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities

Raleigh, North Carolina | September 1992 - December 1996

  • Exclusively represented clients with disabilities.  Civil rights practice.  Extensive public speaking on Americans with Disabilities Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Supervised Central Office Legal Services Section.


Associate General Counsel to the Governor

Raleigh, North Carolina | December 1991 - August 1992

  • Researched and advised client on a variety of issues, including public contracts, state and federal constitutional law, and the State Personnel Act.  Investigated citizen complaints and answered citizen inquiries.

Assistant Legal Counsel to the Governor

Raleigh, North Carolina |  July 1991 - December 1991

  • Researched and prepared memoranda of law on a variety of issues, including public records, the Hobbs Act, and the Voting Rights Act.  Handled ongoing inquiries, correspondence, and management of hundreds of files regarding Executive Clemency, general legal correspondence of the office, and telephone inquiries from the public.

Research Assistant to The Honorable Burley B. Mitchell, Jr., (Former Chief) Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina | August 1990 - June 1991

Prepared bench briefs and drafted opinions for review by Supreme Court Justice.




  • Duke University School of Law, May 2014
    • Master of Laws in Judicial Studies
    • Thesis “Called to Duty: Justice William J. Gaston,” published at 94 N.C.L. Rev. 2051 (2016).
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, May 1990
    • Juris Doctor
    • Honors and Activities:
      • Staff Member, North Carolina Law Review
      • Dean’s List
      • President, Phi Delta Phi
      •  College Bowl
  •  Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina, August 1986
    • Legal Assistants’ Program—Concentration in Civil Litigation


  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, May 1984
    • Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies—Concentration in English and History
    • Honors and Activities:
      • Thomas J. Watson National Merit Scholar
      • Dean’s List
      • Social Chair, Zeta Tau Alpha
      • Oxford University, Oxford, England, Summer Study
      • Carolina Union Forum Committee

Other Experience.

Reference Assistant, University of North Carolina School of Law Library

Chapel Hill, North Carolina | August 1989 - May 1990

  • Answered questions about numerous areas of legal research.  Assisted patrons with complex research projects and accessing online databases.

Summer Associate, Patterson, Dilthey, Clay, Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog

Raleigh, North Carolina |  July 1989 - August 1989

  • General insurance defense, workers’ compensation practice.

Summer Associate, Piper & Marbury

Baltimore, Maryland |  May 1989 - June 1989

  • General corporate and litigation practice.

Teaching Assistant, Research and Writing Program, UNC School of Law

Chapel Hill, North Carolina | August 1988 - May 1989

  • Instructed first year law students in legal research and writing.

Law Clerk, Special Litigation Unit, Office of the Attorney General

Raleigh, North Carolina | May 1988 - August 1988

  • Complex personnel litigation.  Prisoner civil rights action.

Paralegal, Department of Human Resources assigned to Special Litigation Unit, Office of the Attorney General

Raleigh, North Carolina | December 1986 - August 1987

  • Coordinated discovery responses, established document control database and performed legal research to support complex personnel litigation.

Paralegal, McNamara, Pipkin & Knott

Raleigh, North Carolina | November 1986

  • Temporary position assisting with criminal case.

Office Manager, NCNB National Bank

Raleigh, North Carolina | January 1985 - April 1986

Intern, United States Senate Library, United States Capitol

Washington, DC | Summers 1982, 1983, 1984


  • Member, North Carolina State Bar, Number 17788
  • Member, North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice
    • Co-Chair, Technology Committee
  • Sponsor, North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts Website Redesign Advisory Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Judicial Division
    • Appellate Judge’s Conference (North Carolina State Chair, Tech Committee Chair)
  • Member, North Carolina Bar Association
    • Vice President (2012-13)
    • Litigation Section Council
    •  Administrative Law Section (former Chair and Vice Chair)
    • Administration of Justice Committee
    • Appellate Rules Committee
    • Continuing Legal Education Committee (former Marketing Subcommittee Chair)
    •  North Carolina Department of Labor Liaison to Labor and Employment Section Council
  • Member, Wake County Bar Association
    • Board of Directors
    • Bench and Bar Committee
    • Summer Programs Committee
  • Member, North Carolina Courts Commission
  • Member, North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission
  • Fellow, North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership
    • Leadership Council
    • Faculty Member
  • Member, Wake County Real Property Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Planning Association
    • Planning and Law Division
  • Advisory Council Member, North Carolina Modernist Houses
  • Member, Raleigh Telecommunications Commission
  • Member, Law Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Task Force
  • Board Member, Halifax Court Child Care & Family Services Center
  • Member, Special Needs Federation
  • Volunteer, Triangle Radio Reading Service
  • Member, State Employees’ Combined Campaign State Advisory Committee
  • Sustaining Member, Junior League of Raleigh

Of Note.

  • Awarded Order of the Long Leaf Pine 1992
  • JEOPARDY! Contestant, December 1996
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs of North Carolina Women of Achievement Award 2012