Every Monday for the past several years, Council staff could count on opening their email and finding a quote for the week from managing attorney, Robert McCarter. It could be Baudelaire, Langston Hughes, or the Moody Blues – whatever struck Robert’s fancy or struck a chord with recent events.
Last Monday, July 5, there was no quote. Robert McCarter announced in June that he had decided the time was right and he would retire on June 30 after a long and distinguished law career.
A graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, Robert’s career included serving as the Associate County Attorney for Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, representing the Department of Social Services in all juvenile proceedings. Closer to home, he was a co-founder of The Children’s Law Center, which later merged with the Council for Children to from the Council for Children’s Rights in 2006.
After a number of years in private practice, Robert tried to retire but was drawn back to the work of representing the rights of children. In January 2008, he joined Council for Children’s Rights as a part-time attorney on the Custody Advocacy Team and later, in March 2013, was appointed managing attorney overseeing three teams of attorneys, advocates, paralegals, and support staff. When the Council found itself without an executive director this past fall, the board turned to Robert and he graciously agreed to serve in an interim capacity during the ED search process.
“Robert has spent his legal career improving the lives of children in our community,” states Bob Simmons, CFCR executive director. “From his participation in the founding of the Children’s Law Center to his willingness to come out of retirement to serve as the Council’s Managing Attorney and then as Interim Executive Director, Robert has helped build and maintain the Council as a leading champion for children’s rights. We will miss his warm humor and inspirational commitment around the office every day, but we are happy that he will continue in his re-retirement as a regular volunteer and a constant friend for us all.”
In his farewell note to the staff, Robert left us with this parting thought. “When you and I and all of us who do this work are asked why we do it, we say ‘it’s rewarding’ or ‘it’s meaningfu’” or something else along those lines. We don’t really know how else to tell folks about the incredible highs, lows and in-betweens that we experience day after day. We learn about life first hand by being included in other people’s lives. Their lives are unlike our own but equally as human. How lucky we are to be able to experience that, both high and low.”
How lucky so many children in our community are today because of the years of hard work and passionate advocacy Robert McCarter gave on their behalf. We send him into a well-deserved “retirement” with our thanks, best wishes and quote — an old Irish Blessing he shared with us all this past spring:
“May your blessings out-number
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.”