The women and men of Tharrington Smith stand tall in our support for ending racial injustice in America. The time is now. We must eradicate racism root and branch. Our firm’s history is aligned with this critical cause but history is not enough. Words are not enough. It is a time for each of us to search our hearts, know what is right, persuade others in our life to see the light, and take unequivocal action to stand against racism. The spirit of justice must sweep our nation–one heart at a time, one mind at a time, one voice at a time, one action at a time, until the wave of justice moves in gigantic fashion to bring about prompt and lasting change for Black Americans. The World presents very few tipping points to make things right. Let us embrace this moment so that Black Americans, their children, and their children’s children will not live in fear anymore and will live in a nation where justice truly is for all, not just for the privileged.

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Tharrington Smith, serving clients since 1964.

On September 1, 1964, Harold Tharrington and Wade Smith, classmates at UNC-Chapel Hill, opened the doors of their new law firm. They welcomed any client who walked in, paying or not. They survived, soon prospered, and in the next few years they were joined by Wade’s brother, Roger, and by Wade Hargrove.

The firm became Tharrington, Smith & Hargrove and began developing its eclectic collection of specialties. Tharrington eased into a family law practice; the Smiths focused on criminal defense; and Hargrove started to build a radio/ television practice. Though these became the best known parts of the firm’s work, the lawyers continued to accept any kind of case that arose.

By 1985, when the firm moved to its former location at 209 Fayetteville Street, there were a dozen lawyers on hand and a new specialty, education law. When George Rogister joined the firm, he brought his client, the Wake County Board of Education, followed soon by the North Carolina School Boards Association, and over time, the Boards for Edgecombe, Durham, Person, Hertford and numerous other North Carolina counties.

By the late 1980s the firm had passed 30 lawyers. The Smiths were the best known criminal defense lawyers in the state, their reputation fueled by high profile cases such as the defenses of Jeffrey MacDonald and Lieutenant Governor Jimmy Green. Hargrove had built a sophisticated communications practice, listing the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and the National Organization of ABC-TV Affiliates among his clients. Tharrington’s family law practice expanded to one of the best known in the state and Rogister, who chaired the National Council of School Attorneys, established one of the premier education law practices in the country.

In The Community

Tharrington Smith has a long history of providing support for the Triangle community.  With an emphasis on education and the arts, the law firm has provided significant support to the following organizations:

  • Artspace and First Night Raleigh
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
  • North Carolina School of Government
  • North Carolina Symphony
  • Professional Fire Fighters of North Carolina
  • Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure
  • Wake Education Partnership
  • WakeMed Foundation
  • Works of Heart

Tharrington Smith Awards

At Tharrington Smith, we are very proud of the accomplishments of our lawyers. We work hard to ensure the success of our clients and are appreciative of the recognition that has brought to our firm and our lawyers individually. Above and beyond our State’s annual peer review and awards, our attorneys have been recognized on many levels.