Leto has been successfully litigating cases for plaintiffs in the North Carolina state and federal courts for more than 25 years. She handles cases of workplace injury and mistreatment, personal injury and wrongful death, and sexual harassment and sex abuse. For the past eleven years, Leto has had the highest rating (AV) for legal ability and ethical standards given by Martindale Hubbell. She has been listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of workers’ compensation since 2005. Since 2006, Leto has been included in the list of North Carolina Super Lawyers published by Law and Politics Magazine. In the same magazine, she was listed as one of the top fifty women lawyers in North Carolina from 2006-2009.
In her practice, Ann combines her passions for advocating for individuals and for bicycling culture. She represents injured individuals with a special interest in representing victims of bicycle crashes. Ann began her career in 1995 gaining daily courtroom experience as a criminal defense attorney for the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office and then in private practice in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Her criminal defense career culminated in several death penalty trials, including the first case to go to a North Carolina jury, in 2003, on the issue of a defendant’s ineligibility for the death penalty due to mental retardation.
Valerie represents North Carolina workers, teaches North Carolina law students, and works for the rights of injured workers. Valerie’s book, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law: A Practical Guide to Success at Every Stage of a Claim, was published in June 2014. Valerie specializes in workers’ compensation, representing state employees, union members, police officers, and all types of North Carolina workers. Valerie is active in the legal community, serving on the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and as chair of the Workers’ Compensation Committee.
Valerie teaches trial skills to third year law students at the University of North Carolina School of Law and has taught workers’ compensation law at the Wake Forest University School of Law. Valerie is listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of workers’ compensation and this year was recognized for 10 years as a Best Lawyer. She has been listed as a North Carolina Super Lawyer every year since 2006. She was admitted to the National Academy of Social Insurance in 2011.
Valerie taught elementary school in the North Carolina Public Schools before she went to law school. She lives in Durham with her husband Sam and her children Alexandra and Sam III. The family dog, Grace, took over the household in 2013.
A long time running and triathlon enthusiast, Jesse works with Ann Groninger in the firm’s Charlotte office on bicycle crash cases taking place across the state of North Carolina. Jesse attended law school at Wake Forest University School of Law where he was actively involved in the school’s Student Bar Association and Youth Advocacy Group. Before joining Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC, Jesse was Counsel at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in the firm’s product liability group where he worked with the firm’s complex litigation trial teams in the state of Florida.
Drew represents injured workers, employees, and victims of sexual abuse. He graduated from the Wake Forest University School of Law, where his law school trial team bested competing teams from law schools across the country to win the American Association for Justice National Trial Championship. Drew also served as the executive editor for the WFU School of Law Journal of Law and Policy.
Drew’s passion for helping people grew out of his upbringing in Florida. His mother worked as an assistant in a district attorney’s office and often took Drew to work with her. There Drew learned how important it was to advocate for those who are taken advantage of, underserved, or injured.
Janelle has over 10 years of experience litigating in the areas of employment law, civil rights, personal injury, sexual assault, and wrongful death. She sees her law practice as an act of public service to people who have been wronged and her work as a way to create positive change in our community and places of work. While she enjoys fighting for her clients in court, Janelle recognizes that the stress and expense that litigation puts on her clients can be avoided in some cases by negotiating with companies or opposing attorneys before a lawsuit is even filed. She has helped a wide range of people negotiate settlements privately, guiding them through every step of the process. She has experience handling cases from the very early stages through trial and on appeal.