Overview

Corena Norris-McCluney focuses her practice on labor and employment litigation and counseling. She is an experienced attorney and human resources advisor with strong reasoning and legal counseling skills in both law firm and corporate environments. Corena has an understanding of the practical aspects of the law as applied to business operations and the ability to work collaboratively with all areas and levels of the business, while assessing the risks and legal framework. Corena has worked extensively as part of senior management teams and in advising executives on employee challenges.

Prior to rejoining the firm, Corena was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she managed and supervised a six-person legal team including the hiring and management of outside legal counsel, served as a member of the Company’s Senior Management Team, advised and counseled on risks facing all areas of the global business, and led food safety and recall efforts. In addition, Corena served as Interim lead of the Company’s Human Resources Department in 2017, supervising a team of approximately thirty-five individuals in all aspects of human resources, including benefits, risks and safety, employee relations, and recruitment. Previously, Corena was an associate and then counsel with the firm (formerly Kilpatrick Stockton LLP) from 2002 to 2014 in its Winston-Salem, North Carolina office where she litigated and defended corporations and municipal entities in employment discrimination lawsuits, advised and defended employers on employee relations issues, and advised employers on state and federal labor and employment laws. She regularly conducted harassment and discrimination investigations on behalf of employers and provided counsel with regard to covenant not to compete litigation.

Corena was recipient of the “Rising Star” Award in 2017 from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). She was recognized as a 2013 and 2014 "Legal Elite" by Business North Carolina magazine for Employment Law. Corena was named a 2014 North Carolina "Rising Star" for Labor & Employment Law by Super Lawyers magazine. She was honored in 2012 with the Citizen Lawyer Award by the North Carolina Bar Association. In 2012, Corena was named one of the "Nation's Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40" by IMPACT and the National Bar Association. She is a recipient of Business Leader magazine's "2011 Movers & Shakers" Award and North Carolina Lawyers Weekly magazine's "2011 Emerging Legal Leader" Award. Corena was also named to Triad Business Journal's "40 Leaders Under 40" list in 2011. She was honored as a 2009 "Women in Business Award" winner by the Triad Business Journal. In 2007, Corena was recognized at the 10th Annual YMCA Black Achievers in Business and Industry Awards for her volunteer work.

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Experience

Successfully defended restaurant owner through trial on pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation claims by former manager terminated from employment while pregnant and after dueling claims of sexual harassment by plaintiff and a former male employee.

Successfully defended a food chain in a matter involving allegations of national origin, infliction of emotional distress, harassment, race discrimination, and retaliation brought by current assistant manager after filing numerous Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges.

Defended a major doughnut company and coffeehouse chain in a matter involving allegations of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and retaliation.

Successfully defended municipality in lawsuit involving claims of harassment and discrimination based on age and race brought by a former employee. In addition, the matter recently received a favorable ruling on appeal by the plaintiff.

Represented a major employer in matter involving allegations of discrimination under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act after employee terminated for poor performance after returning from reserve duty.

Represented a facility services provider and two employees in a declaratory judgment action against a competitor and former employer regarding the interpretation of covenant not to compete and its application to activities and services being provided by client. Successfully defeated the competitor's efforts to obtain a preliminary injunction which would have precluded continued employment of two new employees.

Represented an insurance company in an action brought by former employee and spouse alleging wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, harassment, improper touching, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress damages, negligent retention and alienation of affection.

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Insights
Services
Education

Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D. (2000)

North Carolina State University, B.A., Political Science, Minor in African American Studies (1997) magna cum laude

Admissions

North Carolina (2000)

Clerkships

North Carolina Court of Appeals - Honorable K. Edward Greene (Aug 2000-Aug 2002)

Professional & Community Activities

North Carolina Bar Association, Member

North Carolina State Bar, Member

Forsyth County Bar Association, Member

Winston-Salem Bar Association, Member

21st Judicial District Bar, Member

American Bar Association, Member

YMCA of Northwest North Carolina
     Board of Directors, (2004-2009)
     Human Resources Committee, Chair

Winston-Salem Capital Campaign, Coordinating Committee

Black Philanthropy Initiative, Advisory Board

Crisis Control Ministry
     Personnel Committee, Chair (2009-2013)
     Board of Directors, Chair (2013 -2016)

Winston-Salem Foundation, Member

Winston-Salem Police Foundation Board, Member

Cook Elementary School, Kilpatrick Stockton’s Volunteer Efforts, Coordinator

Heartstrings Infant Loss Support and Awareness, Board of Directors, Member

Wake Forest University School of Law, Law Student Mentor

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