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Compiled by Nicole Ortiz / North Carolina Best Lawyers 2017


Patterson Harkavy: Burton Craige (employment law – individuals; medical malpractice law – plaintiffs; personal injury litigation – plaintiffs; professional malpractice law, 2001) was an attorney in a civil suit for Willie Grimes, who served 24 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. Grimes maintained his innocence throughout his time in prison, and the case was investigated, which ultimately led to a mediation and settlement between Grimes and the city.

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete: Jonathan W. Yarbrough (employment law – management; litigation – labor and employment, 2011) was a guest speaker at the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce’s Issues and Eggs program, where he discussed the Department of Labor’s final rule, which will take effect on December 1, 2016.

Van Camp, Meacham & Newman: James R. Van Camp (criminal defense: general practice; criminal defense: white-collar, 1983) expressed concerns when it came to light that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was using footage from an animal abuse rescue that occurred at his clients’ animal shelter.

The Sumwalt Law Firm: Vernon Sumwalt (workers’ compensation law – claimants, 2009) assisted a stay-at-home mother of five, who had three limbs amputated after her flu turned to sepsis, apply for social security disability payments. However, since she hadn’t worked or paid into the system for 10 years, she was denied the help she needed.


In-House & Government

FordHarrison LLP, opened its newest office in Charlotte in June 2016. Initial attorneys of this office will be Angela B. Cummings and Julie K. Adams, both joining FordHarrison from Littler Mendelson P.C.

Smith AndersonCaryn Coppedge McNeill (employee benefits [ERISA] law, 2010) was elected president-elect of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is the fifth Smith Anderson partner to serve as president, and will serve as the 123rd president of the association.

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard: Kearns Davis (bet-the-company litigation; commercial litigation; criminal defense: white-collar, 2010) was sworn in as president of the North Carolina Bar Association in June, succeeding Shelby Benton (family law, 2008).

Private Practice

James F. Hopf (environmental law; litigation – environmental, 2009) was appointed to East Carolina University’s staff by the ECU Board of Trustees, where he will work with Chancellor Cecil Stanton.

Nexsen Pruet: North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Trademark Law Sarah Nagae has joined Nexsen Pruet’s Raleigh office to work as special counsel with the firm’s intellectual property group.