CARTERET COUNTY, NC – One of the state’s most admired and respected lawyers, Claud Roberson Wheatly, Jr., now has a permanent place in a Carteret County courtroom.
A portrait of Claud Wheatly, Jr. was unveiled recently in the Carteret County Superior Courtroom where he tried countless cases over the course of his 70- year professional law career. The courtroom was filled to capacity, and the attendees reflected the respect Wheatly, Jr. earned over his career. Among those in attendance were family, friends, colleagues, judges, court staff, and elected officials from Carteret County.
Whealty, Jr. grew up in Beaufort, attended The Citadel, and received his undergraduate degree from University of North Carolina in 1939, and received his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1941. After completion of law school, he returned home and began practicing law with his father, Claud Wheatly, Sr., who began a law practice himself in 1908 in Beaufort. When the United States entered World War II, he joined the Army and served as a field artillery officer and S-2 intelligence officer in the 78th Infantry “Lightning” Division where Captain Wheatly led elements of the 78th that discovered the Remagen Bridge still standing. This discovery helped secure the bridge for the American Troops to cross into Germany; Captain Wheatly’s unit being one of the first units across the bridge. After the war he came back to Beaufort and continued practicing law. Over the course of his career, he influenced countless up-and-comers in the legal profession, both through one-on-one mentoring and simply by the force of his inexhaustible example. He was known for his professional ethics, full command, respect and astonishing memory of the law, having the ability to recall innate details of cases verbatim, all from memory.
Wheatly, Jr. was the recipient of numerous honors over the course of his career, including being an inaugural inductee into the General Practice Hall of Fame in 1989 by the North Carolina Bar Association. In recognition of a lifetime of exemplary service and high ethical and professional standards, he was also admitted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1968, which represents the top 1 percent of attorneys throughout the country.
Todd Carignan, an artist from Wilmington, NC represented by New Elements Gallery, was commissioned to create the portraiture. Whealty, Jr’s. portrait will hang in the Superior Courtroom in Beaufort.
The Wheatly Law Group hosted the event in his honor.