ALBEMARLE- The City of Albemarle has just hired Anson County native Britt Burch as the city’s new and first full-time attorney. Burch will be replacing previous contract City Attorney David Beaver and will begin on Feb. 3.
“To be a city attorney, you basically handle any legal issue that involves the city. I will consult with the city council and the mayor and they’ll bring up any legal issues that arise. It could be real estate, employment, code enforcement. I’m also the in house counsel for the fire department and police department there,” said Burch.
Burch attended Peachland-Polkton Elementary School and graduated from Anson High School in 2009. She would earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forrest. Burch would attend Elon University School of Law following Wake Forest.
She would graduate with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Elon University School of Business, a Juris Doctor degree from Elon University of Law and holds an active NC law license. “The whole time, through my childhood, I always knew I wanted to go to law school,” said Burch.
“I knew I wanted to eventually work for a government or nonprofit as legal council. I tacked on the MBA because I figured you have to know how a business or organization works if you try to represent them,” said Burch
“I’ve sought out an in house counsel role for so long that I took it upon myself to a lot of pro bono initiatives,” said Burch. This included work with immigration, nonprofit accreditation, tax, probate, and estate planning. “Even though my job by day is exclusively in one sector, I’ve always been involved in pro bono initiatives for low-income folks to sharpen my skills and help the community,” added Burch.
Burch’s pro bono work began while she was in law school when she worked with Legal Aid. “They service the lower-income communities and people who don’t have as much access to legal representation. I signed up to be on an employment law board. These were people who were fired from their jobs and wanted to know what their legal recourse could be,” said Burch.
“That was really special to me because I completely understand, coming from a rural town, that not everyone has the money to afford a big shot attorney and it’s very important to make sure that, regardless of your income, you can access affordable legal services,” said Burch
Burch also attended the University of Ghana. “It was very exciting. I had never even been to an airport before that. It was like experiencing everything again. You’re meeting new people and seeing how their government works,” said Burch.
That trip taught Burch how to be grateful. “Poverty in the United States is very different from abroad. Here, we have governmental support and you can feasibly make it. You might not be incredibly comfortable, but you can have shelter and food. There, you are sleeping on the street,” said Burch
“The experience taught me to be grateful and incredibly humble for the things we do have. I grew up in a single-parent household so we didn’t have a ton of things. That showed me that my mom was amazing. She went above and beyond for me and my sisters. I’ve always carried that with me,” said Burch.
Burch’s first job, and the job she’ll be leaving to work in Albemarle, was with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where she worked as a contract negotiator role for biomedical research initiatives. “That simply means I help with clinical trials startups, investigational drugs, and devices,” said Burch
Burch can’t wait to start her new career, “I’m excited about being the subject matter expert for legal issues for the city,” said Burch who added, “They’re in a period of economic development and growth and I want to be a part of that. Seeing good things happen to rural communities is exciting to me.”
In addition to becoming Albemarle’s new city attorney, Burch is also about to get married. “I’ve always wanted to start a family in a rural community. There’s nothing wrong with big cities, but there’s a different in the communities when you’re from a small town. You can go to the grocery store and know everyone or at least what family name they’re associated with. It’s important to me to have that home town feel,” said Burch.