Elaine O’Neal is a seasoned and accomplished attorney who began serving as a North Carolina District Court Judge in 1994. She became the first woman Chief District Court Judge in 2002 and was elected as the first woman Superior Court Judge for Durham County and served the 14th Judicial until her retirement in July 2018. She currently serves as Interim Dean of her alma mater, North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Dean O’Neal is a double Eagle and native of Durham. She received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics. She has had extensive continuing education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The National Judicial College, the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence and the North Carolina Drug Treatment Court Program.

Dean O’Neal is a former member of the NCCU School of Law Board of Visitors. Active in her community, Dean O’Neal has served as a board member or co-founder of a number or organizations and institutions, including Restoration Institute for Leaders, Women’s Recovery House and Families First. She is also a former commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. She has also participated as a board member for Systems of Care, Durham Nativity School and as a member of the North Carolina Gang Oversight Committee. Currently, she chairs the Racial Equity Task Force for the City of Durham.

Dean O’Neal is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.