Brian Clemmons - A Personal Perspective
Lessons learned after law school
Though Brian Clemmons has worked for 23 years as a NC attorney, his greatest influence remains the experience he gained during his first job following law school — when he served as a law clerk to the Hon. James C. Fox, US District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Wilmington.
"I got to observe more than 50 trials, and was in a position where I had to be impartial between the two sides," he said. "I got to see the best ways for attorneys to advocate for their clients, regardless of the circumstances."
One of the main lessons Brian learned was to always be respectful of clients, the court and the US system of law. While in that position, Brian also developed his personal philosophy of law — always seek the truth.
"Cases are good, bad or indifferent, but it is not always easy to get to the truth. As an attorney, you must seek to do that," he said.
A dedicated attorney with respect for clients
This attitude underscores Brian's respect for his clients. It is only by searching for and finding the details of each case, Brian believes, that he and his clients can properly evaluate the situation and best determine how to proceed.
A good example of this is a case Brian handled in 2007, in which an elderly man with diabetes was hit by an SUV in a shopping center parking lot. The man's ankle was crushed, and due to his underlying medical condition, his leg had to be amputated below the knee. The SUV driver's insurance company denied the claim based on a statement by their driver that the elderly man just walked out in front of the car. Two other law firms had declined to take the case.
However, Brian decided to take the case and seek the truth. Following up on information provided by his client, he went to the shopping center and questioned numerous employees at various stores. Eventually he got information that an employee at a store had actually seen the incident. Brian contacted the person and arranged for an interview by the insurance company. Based on that interview, in which the witness said the client had almost crossed the roadway and the SUV driver admitted afterward that he did not see the man before hitting him.
"Helping that man and his family meant a lot to me," Brian said. "I wish I could have done more."
A decision to help injured people
Brian spent much of his career defending insurance carriers and their clients in construction defect, personal negligence, and business dispute litigation. Eventually Brian decided it would be more rewarding to help injured people and their families. Since then, he has investigated and tried many cases in the areas of personal injury, Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability claims.
"You get more immediate personal gratification when you help people. You don't get a lot of hugs representing institutions," he said.
"I'm passionate about the people I represent. Once I get going in the morning, individual cases and clients run through my mind, and I begin to think about what I can do to resolve their problems as soon as possible."
Though Brian is proud of his legal career, his biggest source of pride is his family. He met his wife, Lauren, while they were both law clerks for Judge Fox. She currently serves as an attorney at the NC Department of Justice.
Brian and Lauran have two children, Amy, whom Brian describes as a "lover of life" and their son, Michael, a member of the US National Soccer youth training pool. Michael has played soccer all over the US, as well as parts of Mexico and in England.
The family spends most of its free time traveling to soccer games.