Meet Ben Scales
Ben Scales is a lawyer, musician, activist, and volunteer. He has built his law practice on a foundation of protecting his clients’ civil, contractual and intellectual property rights. As an active member of the Asheville community, he’s contributed his time and talents to a variety of causes, organizations, and individuals. And he's played music with some pretty cool folks, too.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986, Ben decided to follow the path of law. In 1991, Ben graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was a member of the Cumberland Law Review. He made his way through Cumberland while working part-time for a civil litigation firm and playing music at night to pay his bills.
Practicing the Law
Early in his career, Ben served as Law Clerk to Judge Eric G. Bruggink on the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC, which adjudicates all contract litigation and other claims against the federal government. While working in Washington, Ben was recruited to serve as Law Clerk to Judge Alex Munson, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, on the island of Saipan. The CNMI’s unique political status as a self-governing commonwealth under the sovereignty of the United States gave Ben a profound education in local, federal and international issues.
Ben relocated to Asheville, North Carolina with his family in 2002, where they settled into the historic neighborhood of Montford. The Scales family has been heavily involved in their neighborhood and community ever since.
Ben has pursued a passionate law career over the course of 26 years throughout Georgia, Florida, and ultimately in North Carolina for the previous 12 years. He’s licensed to practice before the courts of North Carolina, Florida and Georgia, the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Serving our Community
Committed to community justice and reform, Ben has continually stepped up for those who seek to have their voices heard. At no cost, he has defended or otherwise supported members of Moms Demand Action, NORML, Standing Up to Racial Justice (i.e. SURJ), Asheville Black Lives Matter, Occupy Asheville, Americans for Safe Access, and the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network.
Ben’s commitment to advocacy is reflected in the organizations he has also been a driving force in establishing. He is a founding member of the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance, which exists to nurture, engage, and empower the folk music community in the Southeast through education, advocacy, and performance. Furthermore, he founded the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network, which advocates for the safe access to cannabis for medical purposes by patients and their doctors.
His neighborhood community involvement includes producing the Montford Music and Arts Festival, serving two terms as the President of the Parent-Teachers Organization at Isaac Dickson Middle School, as well as providing legal assistance to the Vance Elementary School PTO to achieve their 501(c)3 status. He has also served as an active board member of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County for over a decade, previously as president and currently as treasurer, providing legal assistance along the way.
Additional Community Involvement (in no particular order):
(in no particular order)
- Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County - Ben is currently Treasurer and immediate past-President of this 43-year-old organization
- Isaac Dickson Parent Teacher Organization - Ben served two terms as President, after chairing the committee that built the playground.
- Pisgah Legal Services - Ben volunteers to represent victims of domestic violence and by devoting hundreds of hours of pro bono service, has secured protective orders for dozens of them. Ben was especially recognized by the Buncombe County Bar for his many hours of pro bono service to this cause.
- Stop The Violence Coalition of Asheville and Buncombe County - Ben served on the Board, and in roles ranging from secretary to treasurer to legal counsel of the STV Coalition, an organization addressing racial equity and social justice issues in the community
- Montford Music and Arts Festival - Ben is in his 4th year as director of this event, after serving 9 years as music coordinator. This May 19 will be the 15th Montford Festival, with food, art, crafts and live music from 4-time Grammy winner David Holt, WestSound, Buncombe Turnpike and many others. Several thousand people attend this festival every year.
- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of WNC - Ben is a Big Brother to a young man at Asheville Middle School.
- Medical Cannabis - Ben wrote proposed legislation that would establish legal system for safe access to medical cannabis. That bill has been repeatedly introduced into the North Carolina General Assembly, most recently by Sen. Terry Van Duyn.
- Occupy Asheville - Ben represented pro bono 50 people associated with this movement who were prosecuted for a variety of offenses connected with their protests. Many of the charges were eventually dismissed, with one case going all the way to a jury, which returned a not-guilty verdict in 5 minutes.
- Southeast Regional Folk Alliance - Ben was a founding board member of SERFA, and for several years, he served on the Performance Rights Organization Committee of its parent organization, Folk Alliance International, which exists to nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community.
- Youth Sports - Ben has coached Little League baseball, middle school cross country, youth soccer, and his most recent YMCA 11-13 boys basketball team won the 2018 WNC championship, completing a perfect 9-0 season.
- Habitat for Humanity in Asheville - several Saturdays a year, Ben swings a hammer as a volunteer building houses.
Ben and Cate have three children aged 18, 16, and 12. The older two attend Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and the youngest is at Asheville Middle School.
The Scales are members of Grace Episcopal Church
Ben writes music, sings, and plays guitar and dobro, both solo and in bands with some of the finest musicians in Western North Carolina.
HELP BEN TODAY
Together, we will achieve real justice for victims and others caught up in the criminal justice system. Volunteer now for Ben Scales