A love of public speaking and language and a deep-rooted family legacy led Patrick Mincey to study law. A fourth-generation Mercer Law School graduate, he now represents clients across the world in high-profile criminal finance cases.
Mercerians and lawyers can be found on both sides of Mincey’s family tree, starting with his great-grandfathers. His grandfather Rollo Jackson Mincey and great uncle David L. Mincey both earned undergraduate degrees at Mercer, with the latter going on to Mercer Law School and practicing law for more than 60 years and the former having a career as a physician.
David L. Mincey II earned undergraduate and law degrees at Mercer and remains in private practice in Roberta today. His son, David Mincey III (Patrick Mincey’s second cousin), is also a Mercer Law graduate and is currently a Superior Court judge in Bibb County.
“This grander narrative about lawyers scattered throughout the family was influential,” Patrick Mincey said. “What I knew from early days of middle school was rhetoric and oratory. I was deeply drawn to public speaking and the opportunity to communicate on the public stage. It was a natural progression to be drawn to the courtroom from that.”
Growing up, Mincey was fascinated by the great orators of history and got involved early in competitive public debate. The most influential event on his future career was the O.J. Simpson trial, in which the former football player was accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. A middle- and high-schooler at the time, Mincey “lived and breathed” for the proceedings and was captivated by the cross examination of defense attorney F. Lee Bailey.
“That’s when I really started studying other lawyers,” Mincey said. “To this day, I am a student of other lawyers, other great investigators and lawyers for cases that represent something bigger than just their clients.”
Later, as he double-majored in English and French at Davidson College, his love of language solidified that law school was the next step. At Mercer, he competed in moot court competitions, got involved in clerkships and externships, and gained hands-on practical experience. He helped with death penalty work and was a judicial extern for Tilman E. Self III, who was Superior Court judge for Bibb County at the time and now serves as U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Georgia.
“If that doesn’t wake you up to the opportunities that this profession allows for, I don’t know what does,” Mincey said. “Mercer Law’s greatest gift to me was the chance to be out of the classroom, in the courtroom and in the jailhouses.”
‘Enormous responsibility and trust’
Right out of law school in 2008, Mincey joined a law firm in his hometown of Pinehurst, North Carolina, and gained invaluable experience. For five years, he traveled the state doing pure criminal defense — murders, assaults, robberies and drug crimes — and was in the courtroom five days a week.
“Not only was I getting to watch and work alongside some of the best criminal defense lawyers in the state of North Carolina, I was also given enormous responsibility and trust,” he said. “That meant something to me. It meant the world to me. It immediately brought meaning to everything that this profession allows for.”
After Mincey got married in 2012, he joined the firm in Wilmington, North Carolina, that he’s still with today. Cranfill Sumner LLP has 75 lawyers and 28 practice groups across three locations in North Carolina. Mincey built and leads the firm’s international white collar practice group, which has a team of eight lawyers who focus on criminal financial fraud and other regulatory conflicts.
“What I always longed for was to build a white collar practice,” he said. Cranfill Summer LLP “gave me extraordinary independence. I had this blank canvas in front of me, and I’m very proud that this January will be 10 years into my tenure here. We’ve had remarkable growth. My practice involves litigation throughout the United States, and I appear in federal courts across the country. We are involved in investigations covering six continents.”
Mincey’s group tackles complex and far-reaching cases that involve public corruption, tax conspiracies, disputes within regulated industries and alleged fraud amounting to hundreds of millions and billions of dollars. Mincey is particularly interested in cases involving securities and money laundering and representing clients who are whistleblowers.
“The most meaningful representations that I have had in my career have involved representing whistleblowers,” he said. “Criminal defense work is extremely valuable because of the stakes. You are the last line of defense where a client’s liberty is at stake. These are people coming forward, speaking truth to power, and without exception in my experience, they are entirely alone. You’re jettisoning yourself with that individual out onto an ice floe. It’s a surprisingly easy thing to do because you’re inspired by their courage.”
Two cases Mincey’s group is currently involved in were referred to the Securities and Exchange Commission Office of the Whistleblower Program. One deals with allegations of $2 billion in money laundering to offshore financial institutions by high-level Venezuelan government officials. The other involves an investigation into Trump Media & Technology Group and fraud allegations related to its $1.3 billion public merger.
Representing clients in these kinds of cases is a monumental responsibility, but that’s what Mincey loves most about this work.
“That kind of responsibility is what makes this profession worth getting up for and going hard at it early every morning. You’ve got someone’s life or livelihood in the balance. The commitment that you individually make to that person or to that business is going to have a real impact,” he said.
The variety that each day on the job offers also keeps him coming back for more.
“I’m proud of the fact that I never have two days of work in a row that are the same,” Mincey said. “Every case I take is different from the last. My clients are individuals and businesses doing really interesting things. I love getting to learn about a new industry, a new business that they’ve built, and there is nothing routine about it. I’ve managed to create a practice that remains interesting and fascinating every day.”
In the future, Mincey hopes to grow his practice group and help develop young, committed lawyers who want to be challenged by complex cases.
“It’s really been a pleasure to work with lawyers coming up behind me who viscerally understand that awesome responsibility that we take on,” Mincey said. “I can see it fueling them and it helps inspire me.”