Hathaway Pendergrass has been serving as a District Court Judge in Orange and Chatham County since July 2020. He was appointed to serve by Governor Cooper, and was subsequently elected to a four year term that November. Prior to serving on the bench, he practiced law at Epting and Hackney Law Firm in Chapel Hill.
He is a proud graduate of UNC-CH where he earned a BS in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business program. He entered North Carolina Central School of Law in 2009 and served as Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Central Law Review and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012. Hathaway has served on a number of Boards and Committees in Orange County, including the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the Orange County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, and Planning Boards for both Carrboro and Orange County. He currently serves as a Board Member and Treasurer of The ArtsCenter, a Member of the 18 Judicial District Bar Racial Justice Task Force, and as a Member of the Staff Parish Relations Committee at University United Methodist Church. He enjoys running, attending Carolina sporting events, and spending time with his wife, Kate and two children, Eliza and Max.
Hathaway believes that the truest expression of love for one’s community is to serve it. Through his vast community involvement and experience as an attorney, Hathaway has formed a judicial philosophy that rests on three key pillars: ensuring equity in the judicial process, connecting with compassion, and serving the best interests of children and youth. Recognizing the importance that all citizens have equal access to justice, Hathaway has devoted a significant portion of his work towards understanding the baseline of where we differ – and has worked towards eradicating inequities in his community. During his tenure as President of the 15B Judicial District Bar, Hathaway implemented a policy that provided funding for all Judges and Bar members to participate in training with the Racial Equity Institute. Additionally, Hathaway volunteers as the attorney for EmPOWERment, Inc. – an organization based in Chapel Hill that works to provide affordable housing and resources for those in need. He has also represented clients who have benefitted from our district’s diversionary courts related to substance abuse and mental health.
Hathaway recognizes that many, if not all, people who find themselves in District Court are facing a challenging, sometimes life-changing situation. The importance of providing each individual with the respect and consideration these processes deserve is of the highest importance to Hathaway and is reflected in the empathetic approach he takes to his job as attorney. Authentic connections require compassion, patience and respect for the people – these are attributes that Hathaway applies to both his personal and professional relationships every day.
A consistent focus of personal importance for Hathaway remains the education and well being of his community’s youth. Whether serving as a Judge for Teen Court with Volunteers for Youth in Orange County, volunteering with the 15B Judicial District Guardian Ad Litem program or chaperoning an annual Civil Rights field trip that visits historic sites throughout the south with local youth, Hathaway recognizes great responsibility that a community shares in the health, education and well-being of a child. As an attorney, Hathaway continues to seek opportunities to build relationships with, and to learn from, residents of the community that he is a part of. He looks forward to serving this community as a District Judge in 2020.