MCB Volunteer Spotlight

David B. Whelpley Jr.



David B. Whelpley Jr. has served on the Board of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation (MBF) since 2008 and as chair of the MBF Development Committee for the past two years. During his tenure as chair, David led the two most successful fundraising campaigns in Foundation history, reaching a goal of $300,000 in both years to help the Foundation increase its grant-making capacity. Because of the success of the 2011 and 2012 campaigns, the Foundation was able to award more than $148,000 to 11 different organizations (with additional grant awards to be announced in early 2013) as well as award $40,000 in McMillan Fellowships and fund the initiatives of the Bar History Committee - including the publishing of the Bar's history and the various Centennial events of 2012.


According to MBF Past President Richard Thigpen, "As Development Committee chair for 2011 and 2012, David has taken the Bar Foundation Fund to new heights. Not only has he set a new standard for the overall campaign, he led by example within his own firm raising awareness and generating more contributions than any other firm.  His efforts have put us in a strong position to continue our growth in the years to come."


MCB:  Current Employer / number of years with current employer

DBW:  McGuireWoods LLP / 24 years of practice (5 years with McGuireWoods)


MCB:  Area of Practice / Expertise

DBW:  Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions and Finance


MCB:  Law School / Law School Graduation Year

DBW:  Emory Law School / 1989


MCB:  Share something with our members that they may not know about the Bar Foundation Fund and the work that goes into raising funds every year. 

DBW:  When I started working with the MBF in 2008, there was little recognition of the Bar Foundation's fundraising efforts.  Through the leadership of Mac McCarly, Doug Jarrell, Richard Thigpen, Jon Adams and others - with the tireless staff support of Nancy Roberson and Leah Campbell - awareness was raised significantly.  For the campaign having gotten it legs during this time of economic downturn was nothing short of amazing.  I was impressed at how fellow members of the Mecklenburg County Bar answered the call in helping support those in need.  I merely had the honor of being the caretaker of this development effort for the past several years.


MCB:  Why should Bar members participate in the Bar Foundation Fund campaign?

DBW:  Each year, with each dollar raised, the Bar Foundation touches another life.  From providing support for the protection of children's rights and access to legal services for low-income families, to supporting programs for family childcare at the courthouse, to supporting family immigration and naturalization services, to providing educational assistance for attorneys who choose the noble path of public interest law, the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation lives up to its mission of raising the awareness of what we as lawyers do to support our system of justice.


MCB:  What is the best advice youve received during your legal career?

DBW:  During my first years of practice, I was fortunate to have worked with Tom Cummings.  As an idealistic young associate, I found myself grousing to Tom following an unpleasant closing opposite a fairly prominent local counsel.  Tom's sage advice to me was to not squander my valuable time and energy getting upset with or reacting to the questionable antics of opposing counsel, but to learn from my experience.  He reminded me of the Franciscan principle that while we should always give others the benefit of the doubt, the true measure of a person is by his or her actions, not by their words. 


MCB:  What advice would you give others? 

DBW:  Never hesitate to seek wise counsel of others (while protecting the attorney-client privilege).  The opportunity to represent a client in a position of trust is an honor and a privilege.  We should always exercise our duty to advocate zealously, but with honesty and integrity and within the bounds of our ability and ethical standards of conduct, pulling from all reliable resources. 


MCB:  What is the most challenging part of your career? 

DBW:  Maintaining boundaries on the practice to minimize infringement on the family.  In our 24/7/365 constantly-connected world, it is hard to get away. 


MCB:  In addition to the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, with what other community efforts are you involved?

DBW:  I have worked with a number of nonprofit groups in connection with obtaining tax-exempt status and helping with day-to-day operational needs.  I work with religious groups and groups advocating ethnic and cultural awareness, equine therapy for challenged children, development of youth sports and rural economic development.  I have also assisted with the compliance efforts for international mission work of several religious institutions in Cuba.