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Lee Robertson was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but has made his home in Charlotte for 30 years. These days, he resides in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood, where he enjoys tending to his yard and playing with his dogs, Baxter Pancakes and Boon French Toast, a pair of Chihuahua mixes.
A prominent Charlotte attorney, Robertson is the eldest of three siblings and has two younger sisters. When it comes to his career, if it’s LGBTQ, business-oriented and requires legal attention, don’t be surprised if he’s probably been involved in some capacity.
Lee has worn many hats. In addition to acting as a lawyer, he has served as a treasurer and a board chair for countless organizations, among them the Charlotte Gaymers Network, Stonewall Sports (Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington), RAIN, Time Out Youth, Plus Collective, Transcend Charlotte, LGBTQ Elders, Carolinas LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, HRC and more.
So, you’re a lawyer. Can you briefly tell qnotes readers about your specific role as an attorney?
I’m a Business Litigation Lawyer. I do a lot of fighting over people’s problems.
Do you enjoy what you do?
Yes, I like solving people’s problems.
What’s a typical day in the life of Counselor Robertson like?
Bojangles or McDonald’s breakfast, whatever is on the way [to work]. I’m a litigator, so I spend a lot of time in court. That’s a little different now due to COVID. So now I spend more of my time in the office on the phone with clients or preparing for trials and hearings.
When you finally make it into a courtroom, is it anything like what we see on TV? Is there any Law & Order drama or glamor?
[Laughs] I’m a civil litigator, so in my kind of work no one is going to jail. It’s not very exciting or worth getting worked up over. Most of the time it’s not that much fun. I like solving people’s problems, but that’s best done when people do it themselves. And most times, that doesn’t happen if a judge or jury is involved.
What do you like least about what you do?|
Fighting over things that aren’t worth the fight.
Aside from helping others solve problems, what do you like best about what you do?
Using my skills as a lawyer in helping our organizations be strong, compliant and lasting.
It seems as though most of your work has been with LGBTQ and/or LGBTQ affirming organizations. Is that intentional?
It is, but I’m also on the board of organizations that do not have that focus. I’m involved with the North Carolina Bar Association; I chair the Communications Committee and sit on the Construction Council. Locally, I’ve been on the Board of Directors for The Mecklenburg County Bar, and [I’m] currently on the Grievance Committee. I am [also] a Board Member of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, the charitable arm.
Wow, that’s a lot. Is there anything you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to share with readers?
My work with the Mecklenburg County Bar Leadership Institute. It’s a program for emerging leaders in the Bar. We train them to be good leaders, good lawyers and good community members.
That’s awesome. Doesn’t sound like you have much time for a personal life. Do you have a partner?
I do. We’ve been together for five years, he’s in banking. He has a very dry wit; he makes me laugh. We eat out a lot. Neither of us cooks, we both pretend [chuckling]. I don’t have the patience for [cooking] or desire to clean up. When we can, we spend time traveling, though not as much since COVID. COVID has been tough because of the number of deaths and things being cancelled. It’s the right decision, but I wish it wasn’t [necessary].
Post COVID, would you like to see change within our legal system?
Having people be able to have hearings, have their cases heard or attend court remotely. When COVID happened, the president of the Mecklenburg County Bar began working to make access to the courts more equitable. The biggest roadblock to equity in the justice system is access to broadband internet. The library is the only place to access broadband for those who don’t have it, and you can’t have court in the library. So, it means people have to find a way to get to court and risk having things continued. North Carolina is very behind other states. If you want to file something, you have to go to court or mail it. So, access to broadband internet is something that needs to change to create access for everyone.
If there’s a “next life,” who will Lee Robertson be? What will he be doing?
I’ve always wanted to write a book. If I thought I could be a good fiction writer I would do that. In law school I kept a blog. But writing fiction is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve written several manuscripts.
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