Shana Rothwell, NEXT Leadership Class of 2023

November 14, 2022
Shana Rothwell

Shana Rothwell is one of the 21 members of the NCAJ NEXT Leadership Program class of 2023. The program, which graduated its first class in 2022, identifies the state’s emerging trial lawyer leaders.

Lives in: Holly Springs

Law degree from: University of North Carolina School of Law

Works as: Criminal Defense Attorney with Vasquez Law Firm

Legal association involvement: N.C. Bar Association Litigation Section member, volunteer with the NCBA Housing Stability Project; Durham Bar Association; George H. White Bar in Durham


I would love to participate in the NCAJ NEXT Program in order to learn more about trial advocacy and to build relationships with fellow trial attorneys.

As a new attorney, I am always working to grow my trial advocacy skills and to soak up any knowledge that I can gain from experienced attorneys. I became a member of NCAJ because I hoped to grow as an attorney. I feel confident that the NEXT Program would provide me with opportunities to meet skilled attorneys and to learn from them.

Why is the idea of civil and criminal justice important to you?

I attended law school to become a civil rights attorney and to advocate for the members of my community. As a member of a marginalized community, I have always felt called to social, civil and criminal justice work. During my time in law school, I adopted the belief that criminal defense work is civil rights work, due to the over-policing and over-representation of marginalized groups in the criminal justice system. This is not something that I can accept, so I have dedicated myself to fighting for marginalized communities through advocacy work.

What’s your vision for the future of NCAJ?

I would love for NCAJ to become more accessible to new attorneys in the next 5 to 10 years. Attending the 2022 NCAJ Convention this year was an excellent experience for me, and I learned so much. I’m excited for more new attorneys to become aware of the organization and all of the benefits that membership has to offer.

Away from work …

I love reading for pleasure outside of work. I enjoy reading historical fiction, mysteries and memoirs. I also enjoy sewing and spending quality time with my family.