David Rudolf and Sonya Pfeiffer are a passionate, experienced husband and wife team who have dedicated their lives to combating abuses by law enforcement, civil rights violations, and wrongful convictions. David faced these issues head-on as the lead attorney in the acclaimed series The Staircase, while Sonya spent years as an award-winning journalist before becoming a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer. Both work the kinds of cases they will discuss in ABUSE OF POWER as active litigators in court, giving them a true personal stake in these stories, as well as a wealth of first-hand knowledge, insight, and relationships.
“As attorneys who use the power of storytelling in the courtroom, we also believe in storytelling’s function as a catalyst for change outside the courtroom. Our goal for Abuse of Power is to build compassion and awareness, while educating and motivating listeners. We aim to do this through a diverse selection of cases, each of which strikes a personal chord that allows listeners to identify and empathize with the people in our true stories. The sooner we stop ‘othering’ and instead start understanding, the sooner we’ll find solutions to the systemic problems within our criminal justice system.”
Rudolf has taught Trial Advocacy at the UNC School of Law and for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and Criminal Litigation at Duke University School of Law. He has also been recognized for his work with professional organizations, serving in various leadership positions in the ABA Criminal Justice Section, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers and Advocates for Justice. Most recently, he has received world-wide acclaim for his representation of Michael Peterson in The Staircase on Netflix.
As a result of his work in The Staircase, Mr. Rudolf received the prestigious Praeses Elit Award from the Dublin Law Society at Trinity College in Ireland. Previous recipients have included Former President FW de Klerk, who helped bring about a peaceful transition to the end of apartheid in South Africa, and Sir Bob Geldorf, who organized the global food charity concert Live Aid. In announcing the award, the Secretary of the Law Society noted that Mr. Rudolf‘s “appearance in ‘The Staircase’ captured the imaginations of millions of viewers across the world,” and that “your commitment to justice and the loyalty you demonstrated for your client is truly inspiring… Your integrity has shone through every aspect of your career.”
Sonya Pfeiffer is a former award-winning television journalist who is now a practicing civil rights and criminal defense attorney. As a journalist, she worked internationally in Paris and Tel Aviv and covered major international stories including the Yitzhak Rabin assassination and the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. She worked nationally in Omaha, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Boston, and New York. Pfeiffer has also directed and produced documentary films including the award-winning short “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Social Justice.”
Pfeiffer later attended law school at UNC-Chapel Hill and now practices criminal defense and civil rights in Charlotte, NC, at Rudolf Widenhouse. A skilled communicator, Pfeiffer has successfully counseled numerous clients through both jury trials and complicated plea negotiations. Sonya sits on the board of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the executive committee of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the board of the Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation. In addition to her trial work, Pfeiffer regularly moderates discussions and panels on a variety of topics; through her background in journalism, filmmaking and law, Pfeiffer brings a unique perspective to conversations related to the legal system and the public perception of the system.