Debra Bechtel

OF COUNSEL

Asheville Office

TEL (828) 320-8853

FAX (919) 873-1814

Debra has a palpable enthusiasm for the practice of law in the public sector, which she brings to the firm with a wealth of knowledge and experience. She began her legal career as a North Carolina prosecutor and went on to spend almost two decades as the Catawba County Attorney. Debra has provided service and support to elected officials, county employees, citizens and numerous professional groups during her career. She has experience with all aspects of local government law including the Board of Commissioners, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, Fire, Public Health, Environmental Health, Economic Development, Planning and Zoning, Elections, Utilities and Engineering, Public Records and Contracts. Debra is uniquely positioned to partner with local government entities across North Carolina to take proactive steps to reduce liability. This includes reviewing, drafting and improving policies, conducting training and offering real time advice on day-to-day issues.

Debra is naturally altruistic and remains engaged in community initiatives outside the confines of her day job. In addition to being an active member of numerous professional organizations, she is a committed leader who values collaboration. She has served as the President of the NC Police Attorneys Association, the President of the NC County Attorneys Association, the Parliamentarian of the NCACC Legislative Goals Conference and is a Founding Member of the Legal Advisors Section of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Debra has previously served on the Criminal Justice Partnership Board and the Drug Treatment Court Board of NC and is currently working on the state-wide opioid allocation agreement. For her work and leadership, she has been awarded the Catawba County Employee of the Year, the EMS Outstanding Leadership Award and the North Carolina County Attorney of the Year.

Since 1992, Debra has been a visiting lecturer at Wake Forest University covering topics such as sociology of law and homicide. She also develops and presents critical training and in-service for EMS, fire and rescue squads, animal control, school health nurses and social workers across the state. Debra is called upon regularly to speak at continuing education conferences for County Attorneys, Public Heath Directors and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Originally from New York, Debra finished high school in Florida but began her professional career in North Carolina and has not looked back. She and her husband, Ken, have two grown sons who both graduated from Wake Forest University, where Ken is also a professor.

Support Team

Kelley Hinchliffe, Legal Assistant

Education

B.A., University of Florida

J.D., University of Florida

Bar Admissions

North Carolina State Bar

United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

United States Supreme Court

  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • International Municipal Attorneys Association
  • National Sheriffs Association

Publications

  • “The Simple and Honest Practice of Law” in Lawyer to Lawyer: North Carolina Reflections of Law ed. Theresa A. Newman (North Carolina Bar Association)
PROFILE

Debra has a palpable enthusiasm for the practice of law in the public sector, which she brings to the firm with a wealth of knowledge and experience. She began her legal career as a North Carolina prosecutor and went on to spend almost two decades as the Catawba County Attorney. Debra has provided service and support to elected officials, county employees, citizens and numerous professional groups during her career. She has experience with all aspects of local government law including the Board of Commissioners, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, Fire, Public Health, Environmental Health, Economic Development, Planning and Zoning, Elections, Utilities and Engineering, Public Records and Contracts. Debra is uniquely positioned to partner with local government entities across North Carolina to take proactive steps to reduce liability. This includes reviewing, drafting and improving policies, conducting training and offering real time advice on day-to-day issues.

Debra is naturally altruistic and remains engaged in community initiatives outside the confines of her day job. In addition to being an active member of numerous professional organizations, she is a committed leader who values collaboration. She has served as the President of the NC Police Attorneys Association, the President of the NC County Attorneys Association, the Parliamentarian of the NCACC Legislative Goals Conference and is a Founding Member of the Legal Advisors Section of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Debra has previously served on the Criminal Justice Partnership Board and the Drug Treatment Court Board of NC and is currently working on the state-wide opioid allocation agreement. For her work and leadership, she has been awarded the Catawba County Employee of the Year, the EMS Outstanding Leadership Award and the North Carolina County Attorney of the Year.

Since 1992, Debra has been a visiting lecturer at Wake Forest University covering topics such as sociology of law and homicide. She also develops and presents critical training and in-service for EMS, fire and rescue squads, animal control, school health nurses and social workers across the state. Debra is called upon regularly to speak at continuing education conferences for County Attorneys, Public Heath Directors and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Originally from New York, Debra finished high school in Florida but began her professional career in North Carolina and has not looked back. She and her husband, Ken, have two grown sons who both graduated from Wake Forest University, where Ken is also a professor.

Support Team

Kelley Hinchliffe, Legal Assistant

Education

B.A., University of Florida

J.D., University of Florida

Bar Admissions

North Carolina State Bar

United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

United States Supreme Court

AREAS OF PRACTICE
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • International Municipal Attorneys Association
  • National Sheriffs Association
SPEAKING & PUBLICATIONS

Publications

  • “The Simple and Honest Practice of Law” in Lawyer to Lawyer: North Carolina Reflections of Law ed. Theresa A. Newman (North Carolina Bar Association)