I challenge others to be better. – Penny
Charlotte, NC – Family Law and Divorce Attorney | Certified Mediator for NC Divorce Cases
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.” ~ William Faulkner
Every day that I speak up for a client, every day that I teach parents how to better co-parent, every day that I convince the other side to do the right thing, I am making a difference to a family. To William Faulkner, I am changing the world. It may not make the nightly news; but for my clients, it is everything.
I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong. I appreciate that life has some areas of gray, but there are some actions that I cannot and will not accept. If my client has been physically or emotionally harmed or if children are involved and being impacted negatively by the actions of the adults in their lives, I will not be a bystander. I have to act.
Whether my client is in shock, angry or simply confused, I will do everything in my power to right the wrong. I want to help. I want to be the one my client relies on for understanding and support while I educate him or her about their case and their options. I want to advocate on his or her behalf for what is best for their circumstance. And, I give my clients hope. Yes, it may get worse before it gets better, but I want them to know they are going to be alright and that life after their family law case can be just as good, if not better.
It is this innate desire to protect and support that led me to consider becoming an attorney early in my academic career. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in English and Spanish, I moved immediately into the next phase of my life – law school. After clerking with a family law firm, I was able to see how family law worked in private practice…and I knew there was no going back. Family law was, and continues to be, my passion.
When I meet with clients, they are not just another case to me. My clients are members of families, and often times those families are hurting. Making sure my clients have a good experience with my legal team and me is critical. Every client should be involved in their case- receiving regular updates, feeling comfortable to ask any questions, and knowing we are in their corner.
My leadership statement is: “I challenge others to be better.” I do that with my team and with my clients. Not only am I there to provide support and empathy to my client, but I am also there to give sound advice and even constructive criticism. Everything I do and say is with the intention and goal of being that voice of honesty, truth and compassion. Together, my clients and I can change the world (or at least a pretty special piece of it)!
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- North Carolina
- Parenting Coordinator
- Certified North Carolina Family Financial Mediator
- Certified Collaborative Law Attorney
Honors & Associations
- National Association of Divorce Professionals Member
- Community Shelter of Union County; Board Chair
- Rising Star – Super Lawyers Magazine 2019, 2020, 2021
- Union County Community Shelter – Vice Chair of the Board; Boots and Bowties Committee Member
- UNC Law Alumni Association – Board Member
- Member of the Family Law Section of the North Carolina State and Mecklenburg County Bar Associations
- Charlotte Women Attorneys Member
- Volunteer attorney representing active duty members of the military who are entitled to court-appointed counsel under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”)
- Rising Star: North Carolina Super Lawyer’s Magazine 2015-2021
- North Carolina Legal Elite – Business North Carolina 2016, 2017, 2021
Past Honors & Associations
- Leaders in the Law 2018
- W.I.S.H. Honoree 2018
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation STANDOUT 2017
- 2017 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society Member
- Mecklenburg Times 50 Most Influential Women Award 2016
- Charlotte Women Attorneys Award 2015
- North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly: Women of Justice Award 2014
- Former Volunteer Attorney – Legal Representation Project of Safe Alliance
- Commitment to Justice Award – Safe Alliance
- Former Volunteer Attorney – Legal Aid’s “Lawyer on the Line” Program
- Union County Bar – Past President
- Former Monroe Rotary Club – Member
- Charlotte Rescue Mission – Former ChariTEA Committee Chairperson
- Union Symphony Society – Former Board Member and Fundraising Chair
- Lawyer Penelope Hefner has been awarded with Avvo’s Clients’ Choice Award!