NCLW Leaders in the Law 2024

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NORTH CAROLINA LAWYERS WEEKLY | APRIL 2024 25 A Special Edition of NORTH CAROLINA 2024 NORTH CAROLINA REGAN ADAMSON 26 CAROLE ALBRIGHT 26 CARMEN H. BANNON ............................................................. 26 DAVID L. BROWN 26 JUDGE KRISTEN KELLY BROYLES 27 LEAH MARY CAMPBELL 27 SUZANNE K. CANALI .............................................................. 28 SABRINA N. CONYERS............................................................ 28 ANDREW ERTESCHIK 28 RICK GLAZIER 28 JAMES WADE HARRISON 29 JAMES E. HICKMON ............................................................... 29 JAMES R. JOLLEY 30 JENNIFER MORRIS JONES 30 ROBERT KING III 30 DEANA A. LABRIOLA 30 CATHERINE LEE 31 PATRICIA A. MARKUS ............................................................. 31 KAREN M. McDONALD 32 ROBIN M. MERMANS 32 WESLEY A. MISSON 33 WILLIAM A. "WILL" ODEN III................................................... 33 EDWARD P. O’KEEFE .............................................................. 34 DAVID P. PARKER 34 KEVIN PRATT 34 KRISTINE M. SIMS 34 TODD STILLERMAN................................................................ 35 BENTON L. TOUPS ................................................................. 35 BEN WHITLEY 35 JULIAN H. WRIGHT JR. 35


Kilpatrick Townsend’s Regan Adamson is recognized as an extraordinary young professional and thought leader who focuses on financial matters, including structuring, fund formation, mergers, acquisitions and investment transactions. He earned his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. Active in his community, he was a member of the Bookmarks board of directors for six years, helping the organization fulfill its mission to ignite the love of reading in the Triad. In 2022, he was named to Greater Winston-Salem’s inaugural class of Emerging Leaders, and he speaks Japanese

Childhood dreams: At some points, I wanted to be a lawyer. Area of focus: I focus on corporate and securities work, largely in the investment management industry. I had an interest in both corporate and regulatory work.

First job: At 12 years old, I was a Little League baseball umpire. I learned that you need to keep your eyes on the ball. If you miss something, you will have plenty of people to remind you of that.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: I would tell aspiring attorneys what you do has a big impact on satisfaction in your career, but who you work with is just as important.


Carmen Bannon brings extensive litigation experience, organizational insight and management ability to the position of counsel at the North Carolina State Bar, a position she assumed in December 2023 after serving for many years as deputy counsel. In addition, she is known for her exceptional people skills, including collaboration, teamwork and problem-solving. In addition to her role at the State Bar, Bannon is an associate adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to be a veterinarian or a psychologist.

Biggest accomplishment: I suppose it is a notable accomplishment for a lifelong non-rule-follower to ascend to the post of “Rule Enforcer in Chief.”

Work-life balance: Get a dog, then heed her advice about the importance of going outside, resting, playing and snuggling.

Favorite getaway: I love going to Topsail Island, in large part due to the abundance of fossilized shark teeth. I can spend all day "toothin.'"

A month off : I would celebrate liberation from the tyranny of my email inbox.


Carole Albright is known for her vibrant leadership and hands-on approach in her role as managing partner at Law Firm Carolinas. In addition to her busy schedule, she takes care of her clients’ needs as a board-certified specialist in family law and a certified parenting counselor. She loves teaching and is an instructor in the paralegal department at Guilford Technical Community College.

Childhood dream: Initially, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I volunteered at our local vet one summer and couldn’t handle the blood. In 10th grade, I participated in a legal intern program and did mock trials. I had an amazing mentor in a local attorney who was also in the Maryland House of Representatives. He inspired me to become an attorney.

Focus area: I primarily focus on family law. My family law professor at Wake Forest Law was Suzanne Reynolds, an authority on North Carolina family law and a gifted teacher. She sparked my interest in family law. I knew I wanted to help people on a personal level, and it doesn’t get much more personal than family law.

First job: My first job other than babysitting was in a florist shop in my hometown. I worked with three strong women who not only taught me how to arrange flowers but also showed me how to run a business.


n addition to handling some of the more complex and high-value lawsuits in North Carolina state and federal courts, attorney David Brown serves on the five-member management committee of Goldberg Segalla, a national civil litigation firm with more than 400 attorneys in 22 offices. As co-chair of Goldberg Segalla’s global insurance services practice, he leads a group of more than 45 attorneys in 10 states. He has devoted years of service to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was recently appointed to a four-year term on the its board of trustees.

Growing up: I grew up in Yadkinville, and it was a great small-town childhood. I am the youngest of four children. My father was involved in multiple businesses, and my mother was a college professor.

Biggest accomplishment: My wife and I have had a great time practicing law together for many years while raising three wonderful daughters.

First job: My first job was umpiring Little League baseball games. I learned that sports parents can get a little crazy.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: Law is an interesting and noble profession that is definitely worth pursuing. But it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. There are no shortcuts.




Anative of Wilmington, District Court

Judge Krist i n Kelly Broyles Kristin practiced family law at Halvorsen

Family Law Group in Winston-Salem. She has been devoted to pro bono work during her career and serves as the immediate past president of the Forsyth County/31st Judicial District Bar.

A rea of focus: As an attorney, I primarily focused on family law. I began my career as a staff attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina in Winston-Salem, representing victims of domestic violence. As a District Court judge, I preside over criminal, traffic, civil and family law court.

B iggest accomplishment: Becoming a District Court judge. I am passionate about justice and public service, and in this capacity, I am able to serve my community and ensure that the law is applied fairly and equitably to those who appear before me.

You didn’t know: My favorite animal is the lemon shark, and I have a painting of one in my office. I collect fascinators and have too many to count.


Earlier in her career, Leah Campbell was senior counsel at Deutsche Bank AG in New York, working in the c yber/intellectual property/information technology group at the intersection of law and finance. There she saw how rare it was to encounter women at the counsel table in court. She focused on developing her litigation practice, eventually becoming second chair and first chair in state and federal courts and channeling her leadership skills on developing other women in litigation by encouraging, mentoring, and training them to serve in more prominent roles. She has more than 20 years of banking law experience focused on helping national and regional bank clients resolve complex legal issues. Since joining Bradley in 2019, she has established herself as an innovative leader within the firm and within the North Carolina legal sector.

Childhood dreams: When I was a child, I wanted to be a political pundit, reporter or diplomat

Work-life balance: Remind yourself that you can’t be in two places at one time and try to focus on the present as much as possible.

A month off: I would go camping and stand-up paddleboarding. Then I’d head to the beach and then the city.

to our colleague and friend, Wes Misson, on being named a “Leader in the Law” by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

Wes and the Cadwalader team are grateful to be part of Charlotte’s extraordinary legal and business community.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP




Suzi Canali is known across North Carolina as a domestic violence expert who works tirelessly with other professionals to create better solutions for survivors. As the chief legal officer for Safe Alliance, she oversees the Victim Assistance Court Program and is responsible for agency contract preparation and negotiation, risk management and human resource guidance.

Growing up: I grew up in Springfield, New Jersey. My childhood was shaped by strong inspirational women. My mom chose law as a second career, and as a child, I watched her work during the day and go to school at night.

Childhood dreams: My career ambitions ranged from marine biologist to journalist to teacher. Lawyer was never in the mix. I often think about how amused my childhood self would be to see me as an attorney.

Biggest accomplishment: Working with my husband to create a family and home where we raise our two sons to be compassionate and ethical men. I am proud of the efforts we put in to prioritize our family and raise our children.

Favorite getaway: Hiking and camping through the North Carolina mountains.


Focusing on high-stakes litigation, complex business disputes and appeals, Drew Erteschik co-chairs Poyner Spruill’s government and constitutional litigation and appellate practice groups. He is a certified specialist in appellate practice.

His notable accomplishments include serving as the lead attorney representing a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives before the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief urging the court to take a case involving a 2016 federal law that enables Holocaust survivors and their heirs to recover artwork lost during the Holocaust.

Growing up: I grew up in a military family, and we were stationed in Germany for a large part of my childhood. We had access to only one TV channel (the Armed Forces Network) but I got the opportunity to play with fake swords in real castles.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to be a doctor, but I couldn’t make it past the second day of biology class at UNC.

Work-life balance: Waking up extra early and making time for lots of family vacations.

Favorite getaway: Kure Beach


Sabrina Conyers is a tax lawyer and partner at McGuireWoods, representing public and private corporations, investment banks, private equity funds and other private companies. She chairs the firm’s African American Lawyers Network.

Growing up: I spent my formative years in Bloomfield, New Jersey. It was my haven, a small town with great people and fond memories, and it made a big impact on me.

Biggest accomplishment: Using my legal skills to help create transformative social impact investment funds and to implement guaranteed income programs.

First job: I worked at CVS. I learned that people remember how you make them feel and to use your interactions to be a blessing to others.

Work-life balance: My faith in Jesus helps me tremendously. I practice work-life integration. I take the time I need, and sometimes the scales are tilted heavily one way or the other, and that is OK with me because that is real life.

You didn’t know: I was a White House intern in the Clinton administration, and I have been skydiving.


ick Glazier has devoted his career to public service, starting with his term on the Cumberland County Board of Education. There, he championed the largest bond package in history, allowing the county to build nine schools and revitalize many others. In his term in the N.C. General Assembly, he encouraged cooperation across the aisle and helped pass legislation that created the North Carolina Innocence Commission. He is a longtime professor at the Campbell University School of Law and in 2023 became the director of its Blanchard Community Law Clinic

Growing up: I grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in a diverse community with great schools. It was an incredibly child-friendly town with parks spanning the length of the town.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: To remember, as author Anna Quindlen, has written, "We all want to do well in life, but if we also don't do good with our lives, doing well will never be enough."

You didn’t know: My first case in private practice went to the United States Supreme Court, Graham v Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1089) — it’s been all downhill from there — and I am honored by and devoted to my friends.




Wade Harrison has been a leader in his local community in Burlington and Alamance County since he began his practice in 1979. He is a certified family law specialist, serving families and nonprofits for decades. He has received the N.C. Bar Association’s Citizen Lawyer Award for his contributions to community and civic causes. Most recently, he became involved with the Morrowtown Community Group, a neighborhood organization that exists to empower residents to effect change and better the community.

Childhood dreams: I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13 years old.

Area of focus: I am a board-certified specialist in family law. My senior partners, Bob Wishart and Robert Norris, suggested that I get certified, and it has turned out just fine.

Biggest accomplishment: I married very well. My wife, Ellen, is remarkable. We have two wonderful children and two delightful grandchildren.

First job: I obtained a work permit at age 15 and went to work at a hamburger franchise.

Work-life balance: Make plans to spend time with your family and follow those plans.

Passionate about protecting family and closely held business owners through succession planning, Jim Hickmon strives to keep family businesses within families after an owner’s death. He is a board-certified legal specialist in estate planning and probate law and is a certified financial planner. He also serves as an adjunct professor of law at Wake Forest University.

Growing up: I grew up in Wilmington and the beaches of New Hanover County. I was surrounded by history. Behind my elementary school, my friends and I played for hours in Civil War-era earthworks.

Area of focus: Trusts, estates and probate law. Wachovia Bank made me a trust officer right out of college. It was a fascinating job.

Biggest accomplishment: My volunteer work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, fighting the stigma of mental illness that affects 3 in 5 families.

Work-life balance: Don’t check your e-mail when you’re not at work.

Favorite getaway: Palm Springs, California

A month off : Drive from coast to coast and back again.

You didn’t know: I put myself through college as an FM rock radio DJ

p. o’keefe
of Financial Regulatory Advice & Response
MVA’s Public Service Committee
Thought leader and former Bank of America Global General Counsel advising major financial institutions on internal investigations and litigation, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, law department management, cybersecurity, and risk management; nationally ranked in Chambers USA and Best Lawyers; and included in national publications such as Corporate Counsel, Westlaw Journal, The Clearing House, and Association of Corporate Counsel ACC Docket.
Moore & Van Allen is proud to recognize Edward P. O’Keefe as a recipient of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly’s Leaders in the Law Class of 2024. Representing


ames Jolley is known as a skilled corporate attorney whose community service activities set him apart. He chairs Smith Anderson’s Pro Bono Committee and co-chairs the Recruiting Committee, putting him in front of individuals and organizations that need legal help. He also mentors aspiring attorneys to help them find their pathway into law.

Childhood dreams: For a while, I thought I was going to be a pastor. Church was and continues to be important to me.

First job: I was a high school teacher in Wake County for a few years before going to law school. I learned that everyone makes decisions for a reason. I may not understand the reason or follow why that decision made sense to the person in the moment, but the sooner I sought to understand that reason, the sooner we could start working together.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: Take the job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. The work we do is important, for our clients and for society, and we should honor that work and treat it with the respect and reverence it deserves. However, at the same time, we shouldn’t think too highly of ourselves just because we do this work.

Work-life balance: Balancing professional life and personal life is so much easier when you are surrounded by high-quality people.


With over 30 years of experience in a variety of litigation and environmental matters, Bob King is recognized as a top attorney and trusted adviser by clients and colleagues alike. He is a longtime partner at Brooks Pierce and serves as the firm’s general counsel. Active in professional and civic endeavors, King is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and serves as an elder at Fellowship Presbyterian Church.

Growing up: I grew up in Charlotte.

Childhood dreams: I always wanted to be a writer.

Area of focus: My practice is primarily civil litigation with a fair amount of environmental work as well. My cases vary widely, including IP, PI (both sides of the v), condemnation, wrongful death, toxic tort, employment disputes and all manner of business disputes. I have also had the good fortune to have represented multiple local boards of education, which has been some of my most interesting and rewarding work.

Biggest accomplishment: I have fallen backward into most of the good things in my life. I think of myself more as fortunate than accomplished.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: You are an officer of the court. It is a privilege to practice law. Act like it.


Jennifer Jones is known for her leadership. She is a member of the Cranfill Sumner Management Committee; chairs the Defense Research Institute's workers’ compensation section, the North Carolina team for the Workers’ Compensation Defense Institute; and is a firm leader who enjoys collaborating with her colleagues and clients to develop innovative strategies to resolve workers’ compensation claims.

Area of focus: My goal is to partner with my clients to achieve their desired outcomes in every matter. Typically, mediation provides a great opportunity to reach this goal because I can work with my client to negotiate a full and final settlement and resolution to their satisfaction for the specific matter at hand.

Biggest accomplishment: One of my top professional accomplishments was being appointed to chair the workers’ compensation committee of DRI, a national organization of defense attorneys and in-house counsel. What led to your practice area: The hands-down best part of my job is the partnerships I cultivate with my clients.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: To be effective advocates for their clients, attorneys should be responsive, resilient, innovative, compassionate and determined.


Deana Labriola credits her parents with instilling in her a love of business and inspiring her to represent management teams and closely held businesses. Her parents owned a bar in a Chicago suburb where she grew up, and her entire family worked there in some capacity. At Fox Rothschild, she focuses on mergers and acquisitions, carefully managing a handpicked team of attorneys at varying stages of their careers. She has established a mentorship workflow structure that allows attorneys to develop and grow their practice, while in turn teaching those below them as they rise through the ranks.

Biggest accomplishment: Raising my 14-year-old daughter is number one, as she is turning into an impressive human, and I’m thankful she will be part of, and contribute to, the world. A close second is remaining very much in love with my husband of 19 years. Marriage isn’t for the faint of heart, and we operate on a healthy dose of daily sarcasm, but we have aged well together — like fine wine (or at least mid-grade wine).

First job: Cleaning our family-owned bar on Sunday mornings. My dad and mom paid me what they would pay a third party to do the job. It taught me the value of a hard-earned day’s work.

You didn’t know: I’m an avid fantasy football player.



Catherine Lee, a partner in Hedrick Gardner’s Raleigh office, focuses her practice on defending companies against employment claims and advising management in developing workplace policies and training managers on employment law. Lee also is general counsel to several North Carolina occupational licensing boards. She has long been active in the N.C. Bar Association, including serving a term on the association’s board of directors. In 2017, she received the association’s Robinson O. Everett Award.

Growing up: I was born and raised in Cary, the daughter of Canadians. Among my strongest childhood memories are 16-hour road trips with my parents and two sisters, driving to and from Toronto on vacations.

First job: I worked at Borders bookstore. I couldn’t have asked for a better job. Not only did I have access to authors and musicians that I otherwise never would have, but I once got to make actor Charlton Heston a latte.

Work-life balance: I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Seriously, my three kids (ages 10, 8 and 5) are the best at making sure I carve out the right time for personal life.

A month off : I’d take the family to Taiwan to visit my husband’s family, and really enjoy the time to fully explore the country.

As a health care regulatory compliance and transactional attorney, Tricia Markus works with health care industry clients to navigate a path through the dense network of health laws and regulations. She particularly enjoys working at the intersection of health care and technology. She has been the co-chair of Nelson Mullins’ health care group's Marketing and Branding Committee for five years and serves as president of the American Health Law Association.

Growing up: I grew up on the North Shore of Chicago and attended outstanding public schools, participated in a variety of music and athletic activities, and grew up in the age before social media.

Childhood dreams: At an early age, I decided I wanted to be a Chicago Cub. When I was 6, I asked my father why there were no “girl Cubs.” Dad looked me in the eye and gently said, “Tricia, sometimes life isn’t fair.” I often recall that statement and how it was delivered.

Biggest accomplishment: I donated a kidney to my younger brother when we both were in our 20s.

Favorite getaway: My husband and I honeymooned in New Zealand, and the scenery there is breathtaking. More recently, we’ve enjoyed traveling to Washington state to enjoy different wine areas.

NORTH CAROLINA LAWYERS WEEKLY | APRIL 2024 31 FIND THE MISSING PIECES WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE Get all the pieces when you subscribe! You deserve the full story - in the easy to read digital or print editions - plus all the perks of being a subscriber May 2023 VOLUME 35 IN IN PRINT. PERSON. Expertly Focused On Today’s Legal Professional. WEEKLY QUESTIONS Jeff FEATURE Murder, PAGE Who passed the bar exam? PAGES 16-17 A 4-DAY WORKWEEK? NOT FOR LAW FIRMS PAGE 4 LEADERS IN THE LAW
PATRICIA A. MARKUS PARTNER, NELSON MULLINS RILEY & SCARBOROUGH RALEIGH Thank you, David, for the valuable time and many talents you devote to leading Goldberg Segalla and our clients to success. CALIFORNIA | CONNECTICUT | FLORIDA ILLINOIS | MARYLAND | MISSOURI | NEW JERSEY NEW YORK | NORTH CAROLINA | PENNSYLVANIA © 2024 Goldberg Segalla. Attorney Advertising. Congratulations David L. Brown


In 2002, Karen McDonald was appointed by the Fayetteville City Council as the city's first African American and first female city attorney. In 2023, she was named as Raleigh’s first African American city attorney. She has mentored many young and upcoming attorneys, blazing a path for them. In 2021, she was elected president of the North Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association.

Growing up: I grew up in Fayetteville, and as a result, it was an honor for me to serve as the city attorney of Fayetteville for 21 years.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to be a doctor.

First job: My first job was driving a school bus when I was in high school. When you are responsible for getting a busload of elementary school kids to school or home, you quickly learn the importance of being dependable and on time.

Work-life balance: I have been a city attorney for over 20 years, so I haven’t always done a good job of balancing my professional and personal life. But when I talk to new city attorneys, I tell them something my grandmother used to say, “Start out how you can hold out.” For me that has meant being clear that my children are a priority.

Favorite getaway: Charleston, South Carolina.

Following her divorce, Robin Mermans devoted her career to helping other spouses handle their divorces amicably. She became a certified non-attorney mediator and founded ROAD to RESOLUTION in 2011. She later learned a law degree to better serve her clients and now focuses on alternative dispute resolutions with a goal of keeping her clients out of the courtroom.

Growing up: I grew up in Westchester County, New York. When I think of my childhood, I think of lush green trees and windy roads lined with low-lying cobblestone fences.

Biggest accomplishment: I went to law school as an adult while raising five children and running a business.

Work-life balance: Schedule time for both. Time is your most precious commodity, so use it wisely. I use the calendar blocking system to assist with time management. I put all personal and professional engagements along with my to-dos on my calendar to preserve the time.

You didn’t know: During my freshman year in college, I auditioned for an improvisational group in Boston and was selected from among several hundred people.

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Newsletters are available in 4 formats: Print, PDF, Text file, Link The Katy PERRY Act, also known as the Protecting Elder Realty for cool-down period. During that time, the conveyance of personal residence, in which one party over the age 75, without penalty. The act named after singer battle with Carl Westcott, the 84-year-old founder of 1-800-Flowers. In 2020, Perry and her fiancé, OrMontecito, California, for $15 million. Perry’s business manager, Bernie Gudvi, acted as their representative. and was “unsound mind” when he agreed to the deal with Gudvi. Soon after the transaction, Westcott unwilling to walk away from the purchase, according to Westcott’s lawyers. Lawyers for Gudvi say that evidence suggests Westcott was competent at the time of the sale. Westcott hadsion, sought alternative houses, and taken the other normal steps one would take before selling property, Proponents of the Katy PERRY Act argue that would protect elderly homeowners from being coerced They also argue that would give elderly homeownwith family and legal counsel before making final decision about selling their homes. unnecessary delays and uncertainty the real estate market. They also argue that would disproportionatehomes quickly to raise money for medical expenses or other needs. from lawmakers. They have created website,, to educate people about the issue. Jury finds brokers, realtors’ association guilty of collusion I October, federal jury found the National Association of Realtors, HomeServices of America, and Keller Williams guilty of Together, the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, and the brokerages were ordered to pay damages nearly $1.8 million. However, the judge’s final ruling could ultimately triple those damages. It’s decision that has the potential to upend how real estate is solddants await final judgment. Under NAR rule, home seller required to pay commission to the agent representing the buyer. The plaintiffs alleged that the brokerages collaborated with NAR to enforce this “cooperative compensation rules were pro-competitive and designed protect consumers. But the The trial was held in Kansas City, in lawsuit on behalf of nearly half million Missouri homes sellers. the first two major class action lawsuits centered on NAR’s commissions policy to go to trial. Possible industry changes ahead can no longer require listing agents offer cooperative compensation to buyer agents. Sellers would no longer have to pay their buyer’s agent, and agents would be free to set their own commission rates. Under this scenario, sellers and their agents could still offer buyer agent compenAnother possibility that the court could rule that any form own agents separately. Early settlements The suit had also been levied against Re/Max and Anywhere Real Estate, but both organizations decided to settle before going to trial. Re/Max agreed to pay $55 million to settle all claims. Anywhere Real Estate, the parent company for Century21, Coldwell Banker, and Sotheby’s International, settled for $83.5 million. Those settlements are still pending, and now it’s unclear the judge will OK them as drafted. In statement, Re/Max denied wrongdoing. “We also continue to believe buyer agency, cooperative com pensation and the idea that consumers are best served when they are working with real estate professionals. assessments control California governor vetoes page Katy Perry real estate battle inspires new law Katy Perry real estate battle inspires new law winter 2024 Elder Law winter 2024 Long-term care insurance: Is it right for me? AServices, more than two-thirds all Americans 65 and older will need some form long-term care at some point, whether it’s in nursing home, assisted living facil with long-term care insurance you think it’s likely you will need it. For example, you have family history Alzheimer’s disease or another physical or mental condition that could compromise your ability Additionally, as expensive as long-term care insurance compared to other types insurance, out-of-pocket costs for long-term care arevices, you can expect to pay, on average, $225 per day or nearly $7,000 per month for semi-private room in nursing home. continued on page For adult children, managing everyday things like an elderly parent’s medical care, transportation and activities tough enough when the parent lives nearby. When he or she lives hundreds different level. If you live far away from an elderly parent and few things you can do help make sure they’re safe and comfortable and their needs are being First, you should make firsthand assessment making doctor’s appointments and meeting with financialney to appraise their medical, financial and legal situations so make plan for their care. You should also stay with your parent so you have a better sense of how they’re doing on day-to-day basis and whether still drive safely? Are they handling their appoint ments and managing their money competently? Do they have mobility issues? their home safe place for someone in their physical condition? And are there assisted living facilities or geriatric care services nearby that can help your parent when you’re far away? After appraising the situation and figuring out should meet with an elder law attorney who can draft documents like health care proxy and power of attorney to enable you or trusted per son nearby to make important decisions on your parent’s behalf. In addition, you should consider engaging geriatric case manager who can serve medical and financial advocate for your par ent in absence. benefits How do care for an elderly out-of-state parent? with Personal Injury winter 2024 Most people are broadly aware that distracted driving is dangerous practice that can result in deadly acaccident is one too many. But many people would also According to 2020 report from the National Highway Transprevious year (the year before the pandemic), were distraction-related,cent increase over 2018. Meanwhile, another study shows that nearly many involving texting while driving. These accidents can be particularly catastrophic when they involve truck drivers who are distracted on the road, since the size of their vehicles can increase the impact and thus the injuries to all involved. Take, for example, recent South Carolina case in which 20-yearold commercial truck driver struck another vehicle on rural highway. Dashcam footage from vehicle traveling in the opposite direction showed that the truck driver, who was traveling approximately 10 miles per hour over the speed limit when the collision occurred, never applied his brakes and was visibly distracted by what was confirmed to The truck driver denied fault and tried to avoid responsibility by truck and his phone confirmed otherwise. The driver he struck sufthan risking trial, the truck driver’s insurer ultimately offered to settle for an amount that should pay for the victim’s pain, suffering and In that case, truck driver operating his rig rear-ended another motorist — 22-year-old former National Guard serviceman — who was memory loss, and other debilitating health issues. when he plowed into the other car, and he was sending text messages The case went jury, which found both the trucker and his page Vacationer recovers for injuries page page UM/UIM coverage: What is and Distracted truck-driving cases on the rise, studies show We all expect that we are our fault, the at-fault driver’s for our doctor’s bills. to cover your losses? Even worse, That’s where UM/UIM coverage can step in underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage) additional insurance that you can purchase for your expenses when you get hit by someone without The difference can be stark. For example, your your losses are higher due to surgery, lengthy hospital stay, and time out work — and the other driver’s policy covers only $30,000 worth of harm, your own insurer would cover the $270,000 gap. Had you purchased more UM/UIM coverage, say $500,000 worth, might be enough cover all million, may be as little as $10 or $10 month on your insurance bill. You may, however, have UM/UIM coverage without even realizing it. That’s because it’s required see how much you have, if any. And you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, or you have minimal amount, you should talk to your insurance agent about increasing your coverage as soon as possible. UM/UIM coverage: What is and why do you need it?


As head of fund finance, co-chair of Cadwalader’s finance group and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, Wes Misson is making an impact on the world of finance. Over the past two years, he has advised more than 40 banks as lead or syndicate lender in transactions valued at over $200 billion in terms of lender commitments. In 2023, he received the Fund Finance Association’s Annual Contribution to the Industry Award and was named a Most Effective Deal-Maker as part of the 2023 ALM Southeastern Awards.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. It seemed like Troy Aikman had a pretty good gig in the early ’90s.

Biggest accomplishment: Building my business from a two-lawyer startup to now an 85-lawyer team within America’s oldest Wall Street law firm. It’s a legacy that will last and be handed down to future generations of lawyers.

Advice for aspiring lawyers: Be humble, hardworking, reliable and responsive.

Work-life balance: This career can be all-consuming. You need to take control of your life and always find a way to put your health and your family first.

An attorney with Ward and Smith since 2004, Will Oden leads the firm’s labor and employment practice at its Wilmington office. He is a founding member of the firm’s Pro Bono and Diversity, Equity And Inclusion committees. He also serves as the president of Ward and Smith Business Consulting, a separate management consulting subsidiary, which he started in 2019.

Growing up: I grew up in Washington, North Carolina, and had an idyllic childhood in Little Washington surrounded by loving family and friends. I most enjoyed spending time with them on the Pamlico River in a 13/14foot Henry O.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to be an attorney and a writer.

Area of focus: I practice employment law, which was entirely unplanned. I was hired out of law school by Ward and Smith as a litigation attorney. Shortly after I started, I had the opportunity to join the firm's labor and employment section, and the rest is history.

Biggest accomplishment: Being Alston's and Sallie's father is the best thing I've ever done.

Favorite getaway: I still enjoy spending time on the Pamlico River.

Congratulations to our 2024 North Carolina Leaders in the Law Honorees!
Campbell Law School celebrates Professor Rick Glazier, alumni Will Oden ‘04, and Jennifer Morris Jones ‘05 on this well-deserved recognition!
Professor Rick Glazier
Jennifer Morris Jones



Edward O’Keefe is recognized as a prolific practitioner with an established history of legal successes in-house and in private practice. As the co-head of Moore & Van Allen’s financial regulatory advice and response team and former global general counsel at Bank of America Corp., there is no disputing O’Keefe’s leadership in the field. His leadership extends into public service as co-chair of the firm’s Public Service Committee, where he is known for his civic endeavors and for finding ways to improve the paths and open doors for others.

Growing up: I grew up in a tight-knit, multiethnic family neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island, the oldest of eight children. We were surrounded by family and friends as well as small family-owned shops.

Childhood dreams: I always wanted to be a lawyer and general counsel.

Biggest accomplishment: As part of the executive team at Bank of America, where I was then the global general counsel, I led the bank through the financial crisis. We completed the merger of Merrill Lynch, while recapitalizing the bank, paying off the crisis-based government loans and resolving multiple litigation and investigation challenges.

A month off: I would fish in the Southeast, from South Carolina to the Keys.



s an ambassador for lawyer wellness and legal ethics, Kevin Pratt created “The Human Lawyer ” podcast in 2019 to focus on what makes lawyers feel human, and how that leads to a fulfilling career. The podcast is a nonprofit effort with donations going to Legal Aid of North Carolina’s housing triage team. Pratt is active in professional and community organizations including serving on the BarCARES board and the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Professional Vitality Committee. As corporate counsel at Oyster HR, he manages the organization’s commercial and product legal functions.

Growing up: I grew up in Charlotte, and my childhood was informed mostly by my quest to be the best baseball player I could possibly be. What I lacked in talent I tried to make up for in heart, grit and determination.

Biggest accomplishment: I wrote a bench memo as a law clerk at the South Carolina Supreme Court recommending three capital defendants seeking post-conviction relief have their death sentences reversed for a constitutional violation.

You didn’t know: I sang the national anthem at the Montreal Expos game with the Charlotte Choir Boys



With nearly 45 years of legal experience in Iredell County, David Parker has cultivated a diverse range of skills, tackling everything from complex business mergers to high-stakes litigation. While his expertise extends across various legal domains, including governance, land use and finance, he also has developed a particular focus on business creation and planning.

Growing up: I grew up surrounded by lawyers in Raleigh. I am the son of a lawyer and grew up on a street full of lawyer parents and lawyer kids and future lawyers.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to be a lawyer or an architect or a musician.

Biggest accomplishment: I was moderator of Salem Presbyter of the Presbyterian Church in the same year that I was serving as state chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, which hosted the DNC convention in Charlotte, all the while papering 588 apartments built on Lake Norman and marrying off two of our children.

A month off: I would like to think that I would travel, but I would more likely ruminate on writing about the interplay of religion and politics in today’s America.

You didn’t know: I play piano about 30 to 60 minutes a day.



s managing partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, Kristine Sims fosters a collaborative work environment and helps steer the firm’s strategic vision and decisions. She also chairs the firm’s Partner Compensation Committee. In her community, she has been involved with Cancer Services Inc. for almost 25 years in a variety of leadership roles, including three terms as its president.

Childhood dreams: I wanted to be a sportscaster. Today, I demonstrate my love of sports by cheering from the stands at my daughter's collegiate soccer games

Biggest accomplishment: Having a wonderful relationship with my mom as she gets older, with my sisters as we grow through stages of life, and my daughter, who still relies on me for advice and is an amazing person, whose growth into a compassionate and respectful global citizen brings me immense joy.

Advice to aspiring attorneys: Practice in an area of law that ignites your curiosity and fuels your passion and surround yourself with a cohort of colleagues whom you respect and admire.




As the associate general counsel at Wells Fargo, Todd Stillerman specializes in securitization and commercial real estate. He also is one of the architects of the groundbreaking Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership through Legal Aid of North Carolina, which has helped many residents of the city since it was launched six years ago.

Growing up: For most of my childhood, my father was the pastor of the Baptist churches we attended, and my mother was a middle school educator. Our house was always busy and family-oriented, and I always felt loved and supported.

First job: During the summer between sixth and seventh grades, I worked on a tobacco farm in Harnett County. At first, I drove the tractor, but by mid-summer, I was suckering, priming and stripping tobacco leaves in the fields and assisting in the bulk barns with hanging the leaves to cure.

Advice for aspiring attorneys: This is an exciting time to enter the world of law practice. Legal skills have never been more valuable in the marketplace, especially as technology fundamentally changes the way we practice. Talk to as many legal professionals as you can about what they do every day. Apply to one of North Carolina’s many fine law schools, then study hard and commit yourself to the learning process.


en Whitley is the face of Whitley Law Firm both inside and outside the firm.

He has used his position as a partner at the Whitley Law Firm to promote diversity and inclusion in North Carolina's legal community and across the state. In an industry that has historically been dominated by men, most of the Whitley Law management positions are held by women.

Growing up: I grew up in Kinston. My father was a lawyer in town cases. He helped folks during my childhood, which inspired me to want to serve others

Biggest accomplishment: Growing the Whitley Law Firm to a national practice and continuing with the traditions of giving back that my father started.

Work-life balance: You must care for yourself to be able to show up for your clients. When you are solving people problems for a living or even fighting in a courtroom, you must remember you are a human first then, a lawyer.

You didn’t know: I have Instagram famous cats, and I can be funny.


With a reputation as a respected employment law attorney and trusted business partner for his clients, Benton Toups enjoys counseling those clients to plan appropriately and develop policies that will help them avoid future litigation issues. In addition to employment law, Toups practices business and Employee Retirement Income Security Act litigation and is a certified mediator. At Cranfill Sumner, he chairs the employment law practice group and has been an active member of the firm’s Management Committee since 2022.

Growing up: I grew up in Thibodaux, Louisiana. I had a pretty idyllic childhood growing up on the outskirts of a small town.

Biggest accomplishment: Sustaining a marriage to my law school classmate (our class president, actually) for over 20 years and raising two responsible, respectful young men.

First job: My first job was cleaning equipment in a sugar processing factory when I was 16. It taught me what I didn’t want to do but at the same time gave me respect for the men who did such hard work, day in and day out.

A month off: One day, I hope to be able to find out what I would do with that time.


In his 30 years at Robinson Bradshaw, Julian Wright has given his time and talents to leadership and service in many ways, including serving as co-chair of Robinson Bradshaw’s employment and labor practice group. He is also active in the firm’s recruiting efforts, and he has served as a formal mentor to summer and new associates.

Growing up: I grew up in Winston-Salem with lots of love and support. I recall Old Salem field trips, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Matchbox cars and walking my dog Sissy in the woods that eventually became Hanes Mall.

Childhood dreams: I varied between wanting to be a Major League Baseball center fielder, a Presbyterian minister or a lawyer.

Favorite getaway: Either Jonas Ridge in the North Carolina mountains or Holden Beach.

You didn’t know: Because I like baseball and my parents gave me a poster a while back of all of the major league ballparks, I have a goal to attend a game in every current major league ballpark. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, but it is fun. And I love convertibles. Thanks to my parents, my first car was a yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible. My high school friends called it “the boat,” and putting the top down was “raising the sail.”

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