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Lee Patterson ’00

I began attending Durham Academy in pre-kindergarten in fall of 1986. After graduating in 2000, I moved eight miles down the road to attend the University of North Carolina.

I graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in Political Science and History and had a whole lot of fun in the process. After a few years of living in Chapel Hill and working in various jobs, I decided to go law school and graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law in 2009. Missing the Triangle, I moved back immediately after graduation and worked at a small law firm in Raleigh. Because I apparently couldn’t get enough school, I went back to Duke University School of Law and earned an LLM-LE [Master of Laws in Law and Entrepreneurship] in 2013.  

Alumni Board President Lee Patterson and Family

Jumping back to 2004, I met my wonderful wife Lucy while she was a student at UNC School of Pharmacy. We were married in 2008 and have two energetic children, Lila (10) and Davis (8), who are respectively in fourth and second grades at DA. We live in Durham in my childhood home, which we renovated and then moved into in 2019.

Since graduating from Duke, I’ve worked for Morningstar Law Group, a business law firm with offices in Raleigh and Durham. My practice at Morningstar is focused on merger and acquisition transactions, as well as “day to day” corporate matters for businesses of all sizes. While I’ve represented clients in many industries, the majority of my work is for clients in the architecture, engineering and construction space. Of course, parenting Lila and Davis is essentially a second full-time job! While at a glance some might not view transactional law practice to be a deeply rewarding area, I couldn’t disagree more. When I represent the seller in a transaction, I’m helping them navigate one of the biggest decisions of their life – selling their company. When representing a buyer, it’s exciting to understand the vision for the combined company going forward. Through the day-to-day work, I get to really know clients and understand and assist with their legal and business challenges.

Outside of work, spending time with friends and family is priority number one. My favorite hobby is cooking, with a strong focus on smoking, grilling or otherwise preparing various meats. I also enjoy hiking, playing golf (poorly), playing poker, and cheering on the Tar Heels and Manchester City FC. My family loves to travel, and we hope to start checking more destinations off of our list as COVID restrictions relax. In terms of non-DA community activities, I recently finished a three-year term as a deacon at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham and have served on various committees for the North Carolina Bar Association.

DA’s challenging curriculum prepared me very well for college, law school, law practice and community service. There were many memorable classes and teachers, but I’d note that anyone who took (and survived) Mr. [Dave] Gould’s AP Modern European History class or anything taught by Mr. [Jordan] Adair is ready for just about any academic or professional challenge that comes their way. I would also highlight my time on the varsity lacrosse team under Coach [Joe] Seivold as a key to my personal development. The practice of law is “people business,” and the lessons learned and relationships made both on and off the field were absolutely invaluable to my development as a person. However, DA’s emphasis on serving the community was perhaps the most important takeaway from my 14 years there.

Being grateful for the many opportunities that a DA education provided to me, I joined the Alumni Board in 2019, and I’m honored to be serving as president for 2021–2022. This year, I’ll be working with the board to help implement the following strategic goals:

  • Engage alumni with current students and alumni with each other through virtual and in-person events.

  • Raise $275,000 for the Durham Academy Fund from at least 525 alumni donors over the course of the fiscal year.

  • Grow our alumni diversity program and other student/faculty affinity groups through a speaker series, mentor program and a spring in-person event.

I’m very thankful for my DA education and the tremendous opportunities that it has afforded me. I’m excited to give back, and I encourage our many alumni all over the globe to do so as well to ensure that our current and future students continue to have the same opportunities.