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Ray Starling, J.D.
General Counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of CommercePresident of the NC Chamber Legal InstituteSenior Lecturing Fellow

Ray Starling, J.D.


Ray Starling is General Counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and President of the NC Chamber Legal Institute. Starling obtained his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from North Carolina State University. While in college, he served as a National FFA Officer and was the student commencement speaker at his graduation. He has since been named a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Young Alumnus and more recently as its Outstanding Alumnus.

Starling received his J.D., with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he served as the Chief Justice of the Holderness Moot Court Bench, graduated Order of Barristers, was the recipient of the James William Morrow, III Award, and was inducted into the prestigious James E. and Carolyn B. Davis Society.

After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Mark D. Martin, Associate (later Chief) Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, practiced law at Hunton and Williams, an international law firm, and became the General Counsel to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He was also a Marshall Memorial Program Fellow and later served as the General Counsel and agriculture policy adviser to the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

In 2015, Starling, who grew up on a farm, was installed as Chief Counsel and agricultural policy adviser to United States Senator Thom Tillis and eventually became the Senator’s Chief of Staff. In 2017, Ray was tapped to staff the National Economic Council at the White House as the Special Assistant to the President for agricultural policy. In this role, he was the top agricultural adviser to the President at the White House. He left that post in mid-2018 to serve as Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, helping lead an agency with over 108,000 employees and a $140 billion annual budget. In 2019 Ray become General Counsel to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and President of the NC Chamber Legal Institute.