The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Meet Ann Anderson, Chapel Hill's new town attorney

Ann Anderson will replace former Chapel Hill Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Anderson received her undergraduate degree from UNC and later attended the UNC School of Law. Photo courtesy of Ann Anderson.

The Town of Chapel Hill will have a new town attorney as of Sept. 1. 

Ann Anderson will be replacing Ralph Karpinos, who announced his retirement in February after serving as town attorney for 35 years.

Anderson earned her undergraduate degree from UNC and then attended the UNC School of Law. She worked as an attorney in private practice for almost seven years and afterward joined the faculty at the UNC School of Government in 2007 as an associate professor.

She said she decided to apply for the position because she’d felt the need to reenter the practice side of law for a little while.

“I don't think I ever expected to leave the School of Government for the rest of my career,” Anderson said. “So in some ways, the decision to apply was a surprise to me even, and I think that doing it in service to a client that is really important to me is maybe the ideal way for me to reenter.”

The Town had done a national search and had a strong pool of applicants to choose from before deciding on Anderson, according to a statement. 

“Ms. Anderson stood out because of her depth and breadth of knowledge, her familiarity with local government issues and her understanding of the community values we wish to uphold,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said in the statement.

She was appointed at a July 29 special virtual meeting for the Chapel Hill Town Council. 

While Anderson knew it was coming, she said it felt both strange and special to her because most jobs don’t begin through a public appointment. 

A town attorney is the main legal counsel and adviser for the town, and their job is to look out for the Town’s best legal interests. The position is a requirement set by North Carolina state laws, Anderson said.  

As town attorney, Anderson will be working with the mayor and council, town boards and commissions, town administration and town departments. 

She said she is looking forward to the variety of work she will be doing and learning more about how towns work in general. 

“I think part of it is just how much I will learn and will be able to participate in the good things that this town is always trying to do,” Anderson said. “And so, I think that's probably the most of what I'm excited about.”

The hardest part for her is leaving the School of Government, which she said is one of the most wonderful places to work.

“My heart breaks a little bit to leave them, but I know that everyone will be just fine without me,” she said. 

As of yet, she said she has not been able to see her new work environment because the entire process has been online. However, she said Karpinos has shown her around virtually and has been gracious in sharing his legal knowledge and practical strategies. 

She said her conversations with Karpinos, which covered pending issues for the Town and what her priorities should be when she takes over in less than two weeks, will help her smoothly transition into her role. 

“I'm really excited about the opportunity to serve my own community as a lawyer, and I think that was really what drove me to pursue it," Anderson said. "And I feel lucky that the Town agreed that I would be the right person to do it."


@DTHCityState |

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Women's Tennis Victory Paper

More in Chapel Hill

More in City & County

More in The OC Report

More in City & State