About Judge Geer
Martha Geer was born in Grinnell, Iowa and grew up in New England and Virginia as the daughter of two teachers: Lucien Geer, chair of the Math Department at Episcopal High School, and Sylvia Geer, a special education teacher in the Virginia public school system. Her parents raised her to believe that if she always worked hard, there were no limits on what she could achieve. They also ensured she never forgot that she is descended from a long line of teachers and ministers—men and women who established a family tradition of public service that she has tried to fulfill by first becoming a lawyer and now by serving as a judge on the Court of Appeals.
Martha graduated summa cum laude, receiving a B.A. with honors in sociology from Bryn Mawr College. As a Morehead Fellow (one of 3 people selected each year from across the country), she attended the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill on a full scholarship and obtained her Juris Doctor with High Honors
In 2002, Judge Geer was elected by more than one million North Carolina citizens to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Prior to her election, Judge Geer was in private practice for 19 years, working first for a prestigious corporate firm, representing companies in sophisticated business litigation, class actions, and shareholder disputes. She returned to North Carolina where she helped found a law firm and became a small business owner herself. During her career in North Carolina, large and small businesses, leading North Carolina industries, executives, and workers alike trusted Judge Geer to handle their most difficult legal disputes at both the trial level and on appeal.
She lives in Raleigh with her husband Tim, their dog Hope, and three cats. Their engagement made news when Tim, a forensic psychologist, proposed to her at a hearing that she believed was real, but which was actually arranged for the purpose of allowing Tim to ask her to marry him. After getting over her shock of hearing a superior court judge call her forward to give her answer to Tim's proposal, she enthusiastically said, "yes."
Professional Experience & Organizations
- Admitted to practice in North Carolina, New York, the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina and for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
- Elected to serve as a Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Participated in deciding more than 2,000 appeals. Of those appeals, she has written the majority opinion in almost 700 appeals. The Supreme Court has reversed her only ten times.
- Mediator in the Court of Appeals' mediation program, helping parties resolve their appeals on their own terms.
- In 2007, Chief Justice Parker appointed Judge Geer to serve on the Family Court Advisory Council.
- Judge Geer is a representative of the Court of Appeals on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee, an organization that makes recommendations to the North Carolina Supreme Court regarding the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
- One of only 40 state government officials selected from across the country to participate in a yearly leadership program sponsored by the Council of State Governments.
- Outstanding Appellate Judge Award, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Dybwad Humanitarian Award, American Association on Mental Retardation
- 2002, 2003
- Named as one of the top 200 lawyers in North Carolina by Business North Carolina
- Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America
- Founding partner of Patterson, Harkavy & Lawrence, LLP (Raleigh, NC)
- Associate and then partner with Smith, Patterson, Follin, Curtis, James, Harkavy & Lawrence (Greensboro and Raleigh, NC)
- Associate with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (New York, NY)