Sad news for North Carolina appellate aficionados. Dan Horne, the Clerk of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, is retiring as of June 30, 2021.

As he rides into the sunset, Dan takes with him an impressive amount of experience working in that Court. He began his tenure in 1990 as a law clerk for Judge (later Chief Judge) Gerald Arnold. Two years later, Dan joined the Court of Appeals Office of Staff Counsel as a staff attorney. From 1999 to 2008, he was Assistant Director of Staff Counsel, then in 2008 began service as Administrative Counsel to the Court of Appeals. In November of 2015, he reached the pinnacle when he was appointed Clerk of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals Clerk has long served as an informal intermediary between the appellate bar and that Court’s bench. Dan kept a lot of us out of trouble with his quiet but thoughtful advice and suggestions. Many was the time that all eyes turned to him during meetings of the Appellate Rules Committee when questions arose as to how the Court might view one of the Committee’s proposals. His depth of experience will be hard to replace.

While we will miss him, Dan has earned his retirement.   He could have called it a day last year when he completed thirty years of service. Instead, he selflessly hung on to see the Court through the pandemic, establishment of virtual arguments, remote work by judges and court staff, a busy election year, the appointment of a new Chief Judge, and the arrival of five new appellate judges. Now that all the tumult has begun to subside, Dan has seen his way clear to move on.

Chief Judge Stroud and her Court of Appeals colleagues now have the unenviable task of finding a new Clerk. The position, including directions how to apply, has been posted at the following link:

Whoever lands the position will find that Dan left behind a pretty big pair of shoes to fill. Best wishes from all your friends and fans, Dan. It won’t be the same without you.

–Bob Edmunds