Judge Stroud began her legal career in 1988 with the law firm Kirk, Gay, Kirk, Gwynn & Howell. She then joined the firm Gay, Stroud & Jackson, L.L.P. in 1995. She worked as a lawyer with this firm until 2004. During this time, she also worked as a 10th Judicial District Court Arbitrator (1996-2004) and a Certified Superior Court Mediator (1997-2004). In 2004, she was elected to the Wake County District Court (10th Judicial District), where she served as judge until she was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2006.