Michael Shepherd — A Personal Perspective
A childhood dream to be an attorney comes true
Michael Shepherd believes that it is important to view an issue from all angles.
He began his career as a paralegal for a small criminal defense and personal injury firm in Greenville, NC. After two years, he was promoted to office manager, where he was in charge of coordinating the team of investigators and leading the personal injury practice.
It was at this point that Michael decided it was time to pursue his own childhood dream of becoming an attorney. He moved to the Raleigh/Durham area and enrolled in the night program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law in Durham, NC.
Many people would have sought employment in a legal practice while attending law school. But Michael believed that a successful personal injury attorney would have to personally understand how insurance adjusters approach accident claims. So he accepted a position as a senior claims representative at a major insurance company, handling claims investigations and conducting settlement negotiations.
"I believe that broadening your experience allows you to see things from all angles. This allows attorneys to see the pitfalls of a case from farther away, making them much more valuable to their clients," Michael said.
"When I represent clients in personal injury cases, I understand how both the client and the insurance agency views the case. It makes the obstacles and hurdles that occur throughout the life of a case much easier to get by."
An understanding of personal injury law from both sides
Michael was working for this insurance company while he obtained his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) certification and attended North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law at night.
"The fact that I was able to work full time while graduating summa cum laude from law school and obtaining my CPCU attests to the strength of my work ethic," he said.
Michael fashions himself after his father, a maintenance and construction worker with a strong work ethic and an unselfish willingness to help others.
"He is one of those people who never misses work, and he is always there to lend a hand, even if it is just helping someone around the neighborhood," Michael said. "I learned a lot from him. I always try to work hard and make the moral decision, whatever the situation might be."
Though Michael is well-positioned to work for an insurance company, his heart is in personal injury law.
"I want to put my law degree to use to help individuals," he said. "In circumstances where you work months, or even years, on a case and see it come out well — it really makes you feel like you are making a difference."