Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina, and Clinical Professor, UNC-CH Kenan-Flagler Business School; Former State Senator
Tamara Patterson Barringer is the 101st Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. She is also a Clinical Professor of Legal Studies at the UNC-CH Kenan-Flagler Business School, where she primarily teaches law and ethics in the Master of Accounting Program. Tamara also serves as the Director and Lead Faculty for the UNC MAC Mentorship Program, which she founded more than a decade ago to introduce careers in accounting and business to first-generation and underrepresented minority undergraduate students. Tamara has also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Business Law at North Carolina State University and later designed and taught the first business law paralegal program curriculum at Meredith College.
Tamara founded the Barringer Sasser, LLP law firm in Cary in 1988 with her husband, Brent. As Managing Partner, she gained over 25 years’ experience as a transactional tax lawyer, representing entrepreneurs and small business clients in business and tax matters, estate planning, and estate administration.
Tamara served almost seven years in the North Carolina Senate, representing District 17, Southern Wake County. A recognized leader in the State Senate, Tamara served as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chair of Appropriations for the General Government and Information Technology Committee. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, she played a pivotal role in drafting and evaluating tax and financial legislation. During her time in the Senate, Tamara authored and sponsored 32 bills which are now law. These bills, ranging from the Foster Care Family Act to the Business Court Modernization Act, ALL passed almost unanimously in both the House and Senate, receiving very broad bipartisan support across the ideological spectrum.
Tamara’s lifelong mission for healthy children and families in North Carolina began when she and her husband, Brent, served as therapeutic foster parents for the Methodist Home for Children for over 10 years. Through her work in the General Assembly as Chair of the Permanency Innovation Initiative, partnering with the Dave Thomas Foundation and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program, 300 older North Carolina children, who had very little chance of being adopted, now have permanent, loving, and stable homes.
Tamara’s life journey began on her family’s farm in Patterson Springs, Cleveland County, North Carolina, growing up with three younger sisters outside Shelby. After graduating from Crest High School in 1977, she became the first member of her family to ever graduate from college when she earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Highest Honors in 1981 from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her Juris Doctor with Honors from the UNC School of Law in 1985, after serving on the North Carolina Law Review and being inducted into the Order of the Coif.
Tamara is married to her college sweetheart, Brent, and they have three adopted children, Jessica, John Charles, and Emily, a grandson, Cyrus, and two rescue dogs, Lilah and Baloo.