Attorney Paul R. Dickinson, Jr.
Litigation attorney Paul R. Dickinson, Jr. has tried cases that few attorneys have had the opportunity, or the desire, to handle.
Paul has a healthy perspective about the importance of doing his job well for his clients. He once represented the family of a man who was killed by a dump truck down the road from his home in Charlotte — the same road that Paul and his wife use to go to work.
Fellow Farrin litigation attorney Gary Jackson, who has known Paul for over twenty years, said, “I have watched Paul grow from a fledging young attorney to a skillful and tenacious trial lawyer. Through his relentless commitment to achieving justice for ordinary people, he has earned a reputation within the legal community as a formidable advocate and powerful adversary.”
The Judge That Inspired Him to Pursue Law
Growing up in Florida, young Paul had no idea he would eventually go to law school. He had gotten his degree in Finance at the University of South Florida, but he ended up working a sales job after college that he did not enjoy. However, he frequently ran into former Florida Appellate Court Judge E.J. Salcines, who told Paul he would make a good lawyer. Paul’s wife also urged him to apply to law school.
Judge Salcines went to South Texas College of Law in Houston, and encouraged Paul to apply there because it had a formidable reputation for creating excellent litigators. Paul discovered his talent and love for advocacy while there.
A Foot in the (Litigation) Door
Paul started his legal career doing defense work in personal injury cases, so his clients were often big businesses or corporations.
While other first year lawyers were spending time in the library doing research, Paul immediately started working on complex trucking, products liability, and wrongful death cases. He worked with a senior partner and was given the opportunity to work on the biggest cases in his firm. The first trial he ever attended as a lawyer he was the lead — and only attorney — representing his client. Paul’s early experience was invaluable in learning how to be a trial lawyer.
Paul and his family eventually moved to Charlotte in 1993. Since then, Paul’s career has taken off — he has primarily worked in the plaintiffs’ personal injury field, representing both individuals and large entities alike. He has tried cases in the areas of personal injury, products liability, wrongful death, malpractice, business disputes, and more. He has obtained jury verdicts in excess of a million dollars in both federal and state court.1 He has also settled many more cases before they went to trial — many of those for over a million dollars.1 He has tried cases in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana, in both state and federal courts.
The Blackwater Shooting: “I can’t believe I’m in the middle of this”
Despite the many big, important cases Paul has handled in his 30+ years practicing law, one in particular stands out. Paul’s “Wow, I can’t believe I’m in the middle of this thing” moment is the Blackwater Massacre case, where he represented the civilian victims and families of those who were injured or killed at the hands of Blackwater private military contractors in Nisour (Nisur/Nissor) Square in Baghdad, Iraq on September 16, 2007.
Blackwater/Xe Services (now called Academi) is based in Moyock, NC and is where agents and contractors are trained for para-military purposes. One of Blackwater’s Iraqi victims contacted a lawyer in Detroit, and that lawyer then referred the victim to Paul, who practices in North Carolina and could therefore navigate the jurisdictional issues of the case. The lawyer needed someone who could handle something this big and complicated (and would be willing to do so), so he called Paul, who took the baton from him.
Fighting Against the Odds, Halfway Around the World
Paul’s dedication to his clients really showed through in this case. He would wake up for 3 a.m. video calls with the victims’ families in Baghdad. He’d have to cut through mountains of red tape and work to get medical records and important documents translated from and into Arabic. The case was extremely complicated — having started in state court, being removed to federal court, and then sent back to state court. There was an appeal to the federal Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia in the middle of the case and one of the victims that originally survived the shooting succumbed to his injuries before the case could be completed. The case obtained extensive media coverage, and Paul was interviewed by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, “Democracy Now!,” and numerous local press outlets, plus French and German TV.
The Key to Succeeding in Personal Injury Claims
According to Paul, what he enjoys most about working his cases is that it allows him to get to the bottom of the facts. Trials are all about preparation, and he knows that to do a good job or succeed, hard work and preparation are essential, and that’s just part of his process. Paul employs a combination of careful preparation and cultivating of relationships of trust with his clients.
- Three James Scott Farrin Attorneys Named to 2020 'North Carolina Super Lawyers' List3
- MSNBC All In with Chris Hayes: Trump pardoned four ex-Blackwater guards. Here’s the story of their victims.
- USA Today: 'Egregious and disgusting': Trump's pardon of Blackwater contractors sparks outrage, warnings
- NPR: Shock And Dismay After Trump Pardons Blackwater Guards Who Killed 14 Iraqi Civilians
- PBS News Hour: How the Blackwater pardons could have a lasting impact: ‘The Americans got away with it’
- The New York Times: Trump's Most Disgusting Pardons
- Newsweek: 'Trump Has Pardoned a Child Murderer' Says Lawyer for Iraq Blackwater Massacre Victims
For legal reasons and client confidentiality, reviews have been slightly edited to remove identifying information and correct typos.