Sonya Pfeiffer is a committed criminal defense lawyer who vigorously represents her clients in both state and federal court.   A skilled communicator, Pfeiffer has successfully counseled numerous clients through both jury trials and complicated plea negotiations.

Pfeiffer joined Rudolf Widenhouse after working in the business litigation division of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice, where she was involved with both civil and criminal cases in the firm’s Charlotte office.  In particular, Pfeiffer focused her legal work on medical malpractice and campaign-finance related criminal litigation.  She began her legal career in the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office, where she served in both the Misdemeanor and Felony Drug Unit.

In addition to her legal experience, Pfeiffer is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker.  She spent more than a decade as a television news reporter in Raleigh, Boston, Omaha and New York.  She also covered major international stories while based in Paris, France, including the Yitzhak Rabin assassination in Tel Aviv and the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in Paris.  As a result of this experience, Pfeiffer has a unique ability to tell each client’s story in a compelling and persuasive manner.

Pfeiffer’s years of writing and focus on visual mediums are now also put to work in her role as owner and creative director of Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Bar admissions

North Carolina

District of Columbia

Massachusetts

U.S. District Court, WDNC

U.S. District Court, MDNC

U.S. District Court, EDNC

U.S. Supreme Court

Affiliations

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

North Carolina Bar Association

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Women's White Collar Defense Association

Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers

Mecklenburg County Bar Association

William H. Bobbitt American Inn of  Court

Awards and honors

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Service Award 2017

2016 Ebbie Award for Service 

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Top Verdicts of 2012

North Carolina Lawyer's Weekly

Service Award 2010

Mecklenburg County Public Defender

San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, Official Selection (2007)

      Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Social Justice

Leadership Positions

North Carolina Bar Association

Communications Committee member

Women in the Profession Committee member

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

Vice President of Communications

Diversity and Inclusion Committee Member

Member - Board of Governors

Past Chair - Criminal Defense Section

Past Vice President of Membership

Mecklenburg County Bar Association

Chair, McMillan Committee

Past Chair - Communications Committee

Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation

Board of Directors

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Board of Directors

Speaking engagements

Moderator, “Inside the Staircase: Lies, Fake Science, and the Owl Theory”
Boston, Massachusetts, July 2018
 
Moderator, “Inside the Staircase”
McGlohon Theatre, Charlotte, NC October 2018
 
Moderator, “Documentary as both Art Form and Social Critique”
with Jean Xavier de l’Estrade, Allyson Luchak and David Rudolf, October 2018
 
Moderator, “The Staircase Post-mortem: Lessons Learned from a Hard Fought Case”
Hilton Ballroom, Charlotte, NC November 2018
 
Moderator, The Role of the Artist in Times of Upheaval
Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art
 
Moderator, #ShapingCLT
April 2018, Levine Museum of the New South
 
Moderator, “Spotlight” panel discussion
Byron’s South End, Charlotte, NC March 201
 
Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office
 
Jury Selection Essentials
Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office
 
Jury Selection 101
Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office
 
Curatorial Activism
Queens University, Arts and Advocacy Conference
 
Navigating the Interplay Between Civil Fault and Criminal Responsibility: Lessons Learned in the Acquittal in State v. Gay
North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Fall Conference Asheville, NC
 
The Defense Perspective in the Kenan Gay case
Justice Bobbitt Inn of Court, Charlotte, NC
 
Melendez-Diaz basics and update
Presenter, Justice Bobbitt Inn of Court, Charlotte, NC
 
Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
 
Challenging HGN
Presenter, Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Publications

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Social Justice
Documentary Production, 2007
 

Chapter Editor, "Competency to Stand Trial"
Klinkosum on Criminal Defense Motions 4th Edition, 2018
 

The Intersection of Civil and Criminal Law in the #MeToo Movement
Trial Briefs, January 2019
 

Contributing writer, Mecklenburg Bar Newsletter
2014 - 2017