Attorney Mentor

Faison Gibson Sutton on honing her craft

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FAISON GIBSON SUTTON has hit her stride. After nearly two decades of practicing law at Murchison, Taylor & Gibson, Sutton’s confidence and knowledge have empowered her to guide a new generation of female attorneys.

Born and raised in Wilmington to a family of lawyers, Sutton always wanted to be a lawyer, but questioned her decision after her first year of law school at the University of North Carolina School of Law and contemplated a different path.

“I considered dropping out and going into education, but I was a year in, so I decided to go ahead and finish because a law degree would be helpful in any future career path,” she says.

Once she graduated, she returned to Wilmington and started at the firm where her father and godfather both practiced law. She was not sure what kind of law she wanted to practice.

“It was 2003, and real estate was hot, so that’s where they put me because that’s where they needed me, and it was fortuitous because I love real estate. It is so interesting and so exciting,” Sutton says.

Gibson works in commercial real estate, representing developers who have established communities in the area. Whether it’s legal issues surrounding HOA-sponsored events, how a developer can address alligators in community ponds, or what constitutes a political sign, her professional relationship with these developments keeps each day fresh and interesting.

“We had a big role in setting up covenants in communities, so it’s never the same. It is always different. I am always learning and educating clients on issues,” Sutton says.

Eighteen years of practice, learning and educating, has instilled a level of confidence that Sutton says “feels amazing.”

“Once I was experienced enough to look at legal issues, many that do not have a clear-cut answer, and then decide on the best solutions with the least risk, I became confident in the value that I could offer our clients,” Sutton says.

One experience that instilled confidence in Sutton was the opportunity to serve as her firm’s first female managing partner in 2018, and now, she is using that confidence to help her fellow female attorneys in her practice.

“Starting out, I didn’t have a female attorney as a mentor, so I had to figure much out on my own.  Now, I am open to sharing my experiences with the female lawyers in the firm… what I’ve done wrong and what I’ve done well,” she says. “It was a bit of trial and error for me to find that balance of career and personal life.”

The mom of two got involved in the community serving on three boards while practicing law and having a newborn but realized it was “too much” at the time, but Sutton, who serves on the Chamber of Commerce Foundation board, encourages colleagues to find ways to serve the community.

“Giving back to the community is so important, finding something that is more than yourself is essential, to look outside yourself and make life more meaningful,” Sutton says. “Find a way to become more well-rounded by finding something outside your career that speaks to you.”

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Categories: Women to Watch