For legal reasons and client confidentiality, reviews have been slightly edited to remove identifying information and correct typos.
Attorney Gary W. Jackson (Shareholder)
Gary Jackson is a name many attorneys in North Carolina know. He has been president of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and has held leadership positions in several other national and state organizations. He is also a Shareholder of the firm.
Gary is frequently asked to speak throughout the country at educational programs for lawyers and he regularly authors articles addressing current legal trends and developments.
He has won many awards over his 39+ years as a trial lawyer – 24 of which have been spent fighting for plaintiffs in numerous multi-million dollar claims.
In 2020, Gary was selected by his peers for inclusion into the “The Best Lawyers in America”3 list in the Litigation field. North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine has designated Gary a North Carolina “Super Lawyer”3 every year since 2006 for Class Actions and Mass Torts. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 he was designated one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina”3 and in 2013 and 2015 among the “Top 25 Lawyers in Charlotte.”3 Gary has been recognized by Business North Carolina as a “Legal Elite”3 in 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2013. Since 2011, Gary has been recognized as a Fellow3 of the American Bar Foundation, which represents 1% of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. He is a charter fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and holds an AV pre-eminent rating (the highest peer-review rating) from Martindale-Hubbell.3
While this path may seem relatively straightforward on paper, Gary’s path to success has been anything but straightforward – much like his courtroom style.
Attorney Hoyt Tessener, who has known Gary for almost 30 years, said, “Gary has become a successful trial lawyer for many reasons. One reason is he throws you off the scent and you’re left wondering where he is headed.”
(Gary and his debate partner were Louisiana high school debate champions and represented Louisiana in the national tournament.)
Another thing Gary learned growing up is to fight for what he wanted – perhaps the result of living with a mother who fought off cancer three times. This feat motivates Gary to this day.
Fighting for an Education
Gary was rejected when he first applied to Duke Law School. For most people, that would be the end. Not Gary. He immediately went to the dean’s office and appealed his case. The dean asked Gary to come back later that afternoon. When he did, the dean handed him an acceptance letter.
Later during law school, Gary’s family met with financial difficulties and could no longer help Gary as much with tuition. Gary did whatever it took to finish his law degree – worked as a research assistant and resident advisor, and applied for scholarship money. Even so, he excelled in law school, achieving a position on the Duke Law Journal and landing summer positions at prestigious law firms.
Entering the Workforce
How did Gary spell success right out of law school?
New York Big City Law called and Gary answered.
(He didn’t get the job.)
Instead, he landed a better one in San Francisco with what was, at the time, the largest California law firm working on anti-trust cases. He subsequently clerked for a federal judge. Later the AmLaw 100 firm Baker & McKenzie hired him and sent him to the prestigious Harvard Negotiation Program and then to their New York City offices.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Gary tired of New York winters and headed south to a large defense firm, Womble Carlyle in Winston-Salem, litigating its RJR tobacco cases. It was here that Gary says he “first began to develop a professional conscience.”
Switching Sides Despite Pay Cuts
As the disconnect between work and conscience became stronger, Gary began to consider the reality of leaving the corporate defense side and working on behalf of individual plaintiffs. He left the defense practice while he searched for a plaintiff’s firm who would hire a lawyer with no plaintiff experience. He knew he initially would have to take a significant pay cut.
Do what you love and the money will come.
Or will it?
“You won’t win these stucco cases”
Eventually Gary chose to join a Charlotte plaintiff’s firm and take the lead on cases involving defective synthetic stucco that was causing homes to rot.
They were right. At first.
For about a year Gary’s firm did not make money on these cases, and the firm no longer wanted them. But Gary believed in these cases and wanted to fight for the homeowners, so he took the synthetic stucco cases to another law firm.
Still no money.
Yet his evidence against the manufacturers and builders was mounting. Gary took a leap of faith and cashed out his 401(k) to keep the cases afloat.
These cases, which the North Carolina Attorney General at that time described as the largest consumer problems to face the state, numbered in the hundreds. They settled for substantial sums.1
It is not about the money for Gary.
What motivates Gary is fighting for people when they have been wronged.
Success Fighting for Individuals1
Gary has been with the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin since 2017. Throughout his law career he has tried cases in the areas of consumer protection, construction litigation, business litigation, class actions, mass torts, products liability, medical negligence, nursing home negligence, estate disputes, and whistleblower claims. Gary has often been tapped by other law firms as co-counsel on tough cases.
In 2012, Gary was invited by noted trial lawyer Gerry Spence to his nationally acclaimed Trial Lawyers College on his 400,000-acre Wyoming ranch. This unique and one-of-its-kind institution is dedicated to helping lawyers and judges “obtain justice for individuals; the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression.”4
9/11 Trial Lawyers Care Task Force for Victims
In 2002, Gary volunteered as part of a pro bono effort to help families of 9/11 victims obtain recovery through the federal Victims’ Compensation Fund. This effort was the largest private, civil, pro bono program in the history of American law.
A good bye letter was found in the young firefighter’s locker. He had written it for his family in case something were to happen in the line of duty.
- 2020 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society Inductee
- Four James Scott Farrin Attorneys Recognized in 2021 North Carolina ‘Super Lawyers’ and ‘Rising Star’ Lists3
- James Scott Farrin Lawyers Named to 2021 'Best Lawyers' and 'Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch' Lists3
- NC Debt Collector Pays $1.2 Million1 for Alleged Unlawful Contact3
- Three James Scott Farrin Attorneys Named to 2020 'North Carolina Super Lawyers' List3
- ABC11: NC Attorney General investigating OBX rental company for refusing vacation refunds amid COVID-19
- ABC11's investigative special on the state of public housing in Durham3
- Potential Lawsuits Grow as GenX Concerns Escalate
3For information regarding the standards for inclusion for ‘Best Lawyers in America’ list, visit www.bestlawyers.com. For information regarding the standards for inclusion for ‘Super Lawyers,’ ‘Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina,’ and ‘Top 25 Lawyers in Charlotte’ list, visit www.superlawyers.com. For information regarding the standards for inclusion for Business North Carolina’s ‘Legal Elite’ list, visit www.businessnc.com. For information regarding the standards for inclusion in Martindale Hubbell peer review ratings, visit www.martindale.com. For information regarding the American Bar Foundation’s 1% of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction, visit www.americanbarfoundation.org/fellows.