Three Associates Join Tharrington Smith

We are happy to share with you that David Noland and Catherine Laney have have joined the firm’s education law team, and Melanie Pfeifer has joined the family law section.

David Noland comes to the firm from the great state of New York. He is an experienced education litigator and advocate. He is a graduate magna cum laude of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and Associate Editor of the Cardozo Law Review. He holds an undergraduate degree in Government and Legal Studies and Sociology from Bowdoin College in Maine. Prior to joining Tharrington Smith, David was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, where his practice focused on complex litigation, including shareholder class actions, antitrust litigation, and white collar investigations.


David was counsel of record in a landmark constitutional challenge to the state educational funding system in Connecticut. The multi-year litigation culminated in a five month trial, followed by an appeal before the Connecticut Supreme Court. In connection with his work on the Connecticut litigation, David served as a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School during the Spring 2018 semester.

Melanie Pfeifer is a graduate of University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, where she served as a staff member for the North Carolina Law Review and served as a Certified Student Practitioner at the Immigration Clinic. She holds a Masters of International Studies with a concentration in public administration from North Carolina State University, and a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies and German Studies from UNC Chapel Hill with honors. Prior to law practice, Melanie served in a multiplicity of director level positions with Management Services On-Call, a Chapel Hill company that provides services to private healthcare practitioners. Melanie consulted with all levels of staff to assist medical practices, increase revenue, gain efficiencies, and improve patient experience. Her love of working directly with people and problem-solving complex issues to achieve best outcomes led Melanie to pursue a new career in law.

Catherine Laney joined the Education Law Section at Tharrington Smith in 2018. Catherine is a graduate of Pace University School of Law in White Plains, New York, where she graduated cum laude and was active in the Women’s Association of Law Students. She holds a Bachelor of Science from East Carolina University in Child Development and Family Relations with minors in Sociology and Women’s Studies. During her private practice in New York, Catherine focused her practice on advocacy for children with disabilities and represented students in due process hearings. Catherine brings a complimentary and across-the-aisle perspective to our team of lawyers, who largely have backgrounds as educators. Catherine is a member of the New York State Bar, the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Bar Association Education Law Section, the Wake County Bar Association and the 10th Judicial District. She is the winner of the 2012 Pace Women’s Justice Center’s “Making a Difference” Award.

Welcome to the team.