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Lawyers In The News: March 7, 2011

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has announced that Corena Norris-McCluney and Jason Wenker, both attorneys in the firm’s litigation department in Winston-Salem, were named to the Triad Business Journal’s “40 Leaders Under 40” list.  This is second year in a row that the firm has had two winners. 

Norris-McCluney focuses her practice on defending employment discrimination lawsuits, advising and defending employers on employee relations issues and advising employers on state and federal labor and employment laws. She regularly conducts harassment and discrimination investigations on behalf of employers. She also provides counsel with regard to non-compete litigation.

Norris-McCluney was also honored with a 2009 “Women in Business Award” winner by the Triad Business Journal. In 2007, she was honored at the 10th Annual Black Achievers in Business and Industry Awards for her volunteer work.

Wenker focuses his practice on commercial and complex business litigation in federal and state courts, as well as product liability litigation and Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls. Wenker has successfully resolved cases for various Fortune 500 companies via summary judgment, mediated settlements and at trial.

 

Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog recently named four new partners in its Raleigh office: James B. “Jamie” Black IV, Dexter “Chip” Campbell III, Stephanie A. Gaston and George L. Simpson IV

Black has been practicing defense litigation at the firm since 1999 and has significant experience in workers’ compensation cases. He has successfully represented employers and insurers in hundreds of claims in both mediations and in litigation before the Industrial Commission and the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Campbell joined Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog in 2003 and has focused on defending civil lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout North Carolina. He regularly defends companies and individuals in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.  He also assists trucking companies with citations and permitting issues, defends professional malpractice claims and regularly assists insurance companies with coverage disputes and investigations of suspicious claims. 

Gaston has been practicing defense litigation at the firm for eight years. She represents individuals and companies in motor vehicle negligence cases, products liability cases, premises liability cases and business disputes.

Simpson handles a wide array of matters involving the insurance industry, including insurance coverage disputes, insurer bad faith, insurance defense and regulatory compliance matters. Over the last 10 years, Simpson has served as lead counsel in hundreds of lawsuits throughout North Carolina. In addition to his experience at the trial court level, he has appeared on behalf of clients at the appellate level.

 

The Mecklenburg County Bar named James E. Ferguson II as the 2011 Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion at the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation McMillan Fund Dinner on Feb. 24. The annual award recognizes individuals who embody high ethical standards, unquestioned integrity, consistent competence and who champion diversity in the legal profession.

Ferguson is co-founder of Ferguson, Stein, Chambers, Gresham and Sumter, which was the first integrated law firm in the state. Recognized as one of the nation’s top trial lawyers, he co-founded South Africa’s first trial advocacy program, offering it to both black and white lawyers, even during the apartheid era. He served more than 15 years as general counsel and member of the national executive committee of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Additional recipients of the Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award include George V. Hanna of Moore & Van Allen and Judge Clifton E. Johnson.

 

Manning Fulton & Skinner has announced that Bradley S. Wooldridge has joined the firm and will focus his practice on tax, general corporate matters, franchise law and intellectual property. Wooldridge is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law and holds an advanced degree in tax law from Northwestern University School of Law. He has a B.S. in physics engineering from Washington and Lee University.

 

Dottie Burch, a partner at Ragsdale Liggett in Raleigh, was recently a featured speaker on equine law at North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Burch leads the firm’s equine practice group, which handles corporate, real estate and litigation matters. Her primary practice is in the firm’s corporate and real estate law departments, where she focuses on business law, including day-today business counsel, business mergers and acquisitions, insurance regulatory law and commercial real estate transactions.

An avid horsewoman, Burch is on the executive board of the N.C. Horse Council. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Meredith College and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

 

Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein has announced that Kristi Kessler Walters will serve as its first-ever chief talent officer. Sidney J. Evering II, special counsel in the firm’s Columbia, S.C. office, will take on the role of director of diversity, which includes duties previously performed by Walters.

As chief talent officer, Walters will focus on the firm’s recruiting, retention and professional development efforts for entry-level and lateral attorneys. She will work closely with the board of directors, department chairs and practice group leaders to develop and integrate systems and programs that impact training, mentoring, career planning and leadership advancement for all attorneys. 

In 2006, Walters was named the firm’s first director of professional development and diversity. She has received numerous distinctions in recent years including the Charlotte Business Journal‘s Women in Business Achievement Award, the N.C. Bar Association’s “Citizen Lawyer” award and the Charlotte Business Leader magazine’s Women Extraordinaire honor.

Walters remains an attorney in the firm’s employment and employee benefits practice group. She earned her J.D. with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999.

McAngus Goudelock & Courie attorney John Spainhour has been invited to join the Council on Litigation Management. The council is a nonpartisan alliance comprised of thousands of insurance companies, corporations, corporate counsel, litigation and risk managers, claims professionals and attorneys. Selected attorneys and law firms are extended membership by invitation only based on nominations from CLM fellows.

Spainhour’s practice focuses on general liability defense and commercial and consumer anti-fraud work. He has tried cases in various courts throughout North Carolina, defended professionals before the National Association of Securities Dealers and defended others before various state regulatory agencies. He is a member of the N.C. Bar Association, the Mecklenburg County Bar, the N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys and the Defense Research Institute.

 

Charlotte attorneys H. Morrision “Morry” Johnston and James G. “Gil” Middlebrooks are helping promote March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month through their support of UMAR, a Huntersville nonprofit that works to build greater community awareness and understanding of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

Johnston has been involved with UMAR since his daughter, Kenna, moved into a UMAR home in 1990. He joined the UMAR board of trustees in 2001 and was board chair in 2005 and 2006. He is an attorney with Johnston, Allison & Hord.

Middlebrooks and his wife, Carolyn, have been involved with the organization since their daughter, Nikki, moved into a UMAR home in 2005. They have been particularly involved with the UMAR ARTS Center in Charlotte and have purchased art supplies, items for their daughter’s group home and recently donated a van. Middlebrooks is an attorney with McGuire Woods.

 

Charlotte criminal defense lawyer and assistant public defender Bree Laughrun was featured in a Feb. 16 Wall Street Journal article on attire in the courtroom. She described how dress and style can break the ice when meeting initially with witnesses and clients.

Laughrun has been practicing as an assistant public defender since September 2009.

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