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As the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Wake County, Judge Ridgeway presides over felony criminal trials, civil matters and administrative appeals arising from various state agencies.

Thank you for taking a moment to learn more about my background. I hope you find that my upbringing, education, professional experience and civic involvement give you confidence to support me in my bid for a third term as a judge of the North Carolina Superior Court. 


I was raised in Raleigh, in the Laurel Hills neighborhood near Crabtree Valley Mall. I attended Martin Junior High (where my wife claims we met for the first time) and Sanderson High School (’78).

My parents, now both deceased, were educators. My father was a professor of physics and statistics at NC State University for many years until his retirement in 2003. My mother was a much-loved teacher in the Wake County Public Schools with a particular talent for ministering to non-English speaking children immigrating to our community.   She was also active in local government. Both she and my father instilled in me a deep commitment to public service.

My wife, Laura, also grew up in Raleigh.  We have been married for 35 years. Laura works as a consultant in the non-profit sector, although she is also well-known throughout the area as an accomplished vocalist. Together we have two sons: Isaac, a recently licensed lawyer, and David, a supply chain specialist in the construction industry. As a family, we love to travel (many soccer tournaments over the years), cook, hike in the mountains, and fish at the beach. We attend Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.


+ NC State University, B.S. (’82),

+ NC State University, Masters of Public Administration (’90)

+ Campbell University School of Law, Juris Doctorate,

cum laude (’86)

            Editor-in-Chief, Campbell Law Review (1985-86)

+ University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Diploma – Law of the European Union (’87)

Watch How I Think & Do with Judge Paul Ridgeway

Professional Organizations & Honors

+ President, Wake County Bar Association (2002-03)

+ Vice-President, North Carolina Bar Association (2012-13)

+ NCBA Council member of various Sections, including Antitrust

& Trade Regulation, International Law, Law Practice

Management (chair) and Litigation

+ Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism (2013-2017)

+ Chief Justice’s Commission on Future of the Business Court (2003)

+ Chief Justice’s eCourt Advisory Commission (2019-present)

+ Chief Justice’s Rules Advisory Commission ((2018-present)

+ Martindale Hubbell “AV Preeminent” peer rating (1990-present)

+ Outstanding Alumni – School of Public and International Affairs, NC State (2011)

+ Judge Robinson O. Everett Award for Legal Excellence (2014) 

+ NC Advocates for Justice Outstanding Trial Judge Award (2020)

Civic Organizations

+ Commissioner, Rural Internet Access Authority (2000-03)

+ President, NC State Alumni Association (2013)

+ Board of Visitors, NC State (2014-present)

+ Board of Advisors, School of Public and International Affairs,

NC State (2010-2021)

+ Volunteer and leadership positions (past and present) in Capital Area Teen Court, NCAJ High School Mock Trial Competition, and various non-profit organizations in Wake County engaged in service to homeless families, elderly and education

For two decades, from 1987-2007, I was engaged in the private practice of law in Raleigh. My practice consisted of commercial litigation, providing advice to businesses both large and small, and administrative law matters before state and local regulatory agencies. I greatly enjoyed my law practice – I had the privilege of being a partner with outstanding colleagues and I found great satisfaction in helping clients resolve disputes and achieve their business and personal aspirations. For nearly 30 years, I have also been an adjunct professor of law at Campbell Law School, where I currently teach a seminar on International Commercial Litigation in the fall, and a seminar on Law and Public Policy in the spring.

In 2006 I was elected to the Superior Court. Since becoming a judge, I have presided over hundreds of criminal, civil and administrative matters in over 45 counties in North Carolina. In addition to my regular duties in the judicial districts to which I am assigned, I am routinely appointed by the Chief Justice of North Carolina to adjudicate exceptional and complex commercial and constitutional matters throughout the State. Now, as the chief superior court judge in Wake County, in addition to my regular docket, I am responsible for many administrative matters to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice in our county.   I consider the trust you have placed in me to preside in the courts of our State to be one of the greatest honors – and one of the greatest responsibilities – in our democracy.

I am frequently asked whether, as a judge, I have developed a “judicial philosophy.” In response, I can only say this: I strive to serve as a judge in accordance with the Scriptural instruction to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.” I seek to apply the law as it is written in a fair and even-handed manner consistent with my oath of office. And I try to treat each person who appears before me in court with dignity, respect, courtesy and professionalism.

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