A believer in the old adage that “Good Lawyers Never Lose Their Appeal,” Gordon Widenhouse focuses primarily on civil and criminal appellate litigation in federal and state courts, and on post-conviction motions, with the firm of Rudolf Widenhouse, where he has been a partner since 1998. Mr. Widenhouse, a former Assistant Appellate Defender and Assistant Federal Public Defender, has been involved in more than 500 appeals in various courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. He handles the most complex appeals and post-conviction matters.

Mr. Widenhouse also has a large practice in sentencing and post-conviction matters.  He has considerable experience and success litigating motions for appropriate relief, petitions for writs of habeas corpus, and motions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He also periodically teaches courses such as Appellate Advocacy, Capital Punishment, and Evidence at Duke University, the University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, Campbell University, and North Carolina Central Schools of Law. He is an annual speaker at the Governor’s School of North Carolina.

After graduating from law school, Mr. Widenhouse served as a law clerk to the Honorable W. Earl Britt, United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, from 1981-1983. He then served as a law clerk to the Honorable James G. Exum, Jr., Supreme Court of North Carolina, from 1983-1984. These opportunities gave him a “behind the scenes” experience with how the courts operate and what influences judges in making judicial decisions.

Bar admissions

North Carolina

District of Columbia

U.S. District Court, WDNC

U.S. District Court, MDNC

U.S. District Court, EDNC

U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court


North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Founder, Wade Edwards High School Mock Trial Program

North Carolina Bar Association

Carolina Center for Civic Education (President, 2009-present)

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

American Bar Association

Governor's School of North Carolina (Consultant)

Awards and honors

North Carolina Super Lawyers: Criminal Defense, Appeals   (2007-present)

North Carolina Legal Elite: Criminal Defense, Appeals (2010-present)

Best Lawyers: Appellate practice, Criminal Defense (2002-present)
Charles L. Becton Teaching Award (2013)

Ebbie Award for Excellence (2010)
M. Gordon Widenhouse, Jr. Scholarship
Awarded Annually by the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers since 1997
Award for Excellence in Death Penalty Advocacy (1990)

Speaking engagements

Symposium: Finality in Sentencing Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy April 2013

Evidence Update NCAJ Convention 1989-present

Wake Forest Annual Review/Evidence 997-2009


Expanding Retroactivity in Capital Cases Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy, Fall 2013 (forthcoming)

North Carolina Appeals Deskbook, Editor LexisNexis 2008

Searching for an Impartial Sentencer through Jury Selection in Capital Cases Loyala Law Review 1989

An Analysis of the New North Carolina Evidence Code Wake Forest Law Review 1984