Our Lawyers

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Leto Copeley

Leto came to North Carolina after graduating from Harvard Law School in order to work as a law clerk for US District Court judge James B. McMillan. During her clerkship she fell in love with the state and decided to stay.  Leto is admitted to all state and federal courts in North Carolina and handles cases of personal injury and wrongful death, sexual harassment and sex abuse, and workplace injury and mistreatment.  She 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 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 has repeatedly been listed as one of the top fifty women lawyers in North Carolina.  Leto currently serves as President-elect of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

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Ann Groninger
Bike Law NCBike Law - Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Ann E. Groninger

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.

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Valerie Color Headshot

Valerie Johnson

Valerie represents injured and wronged individuals, 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 first published in June 2014 and now is in its third edition. Valerie is certified as a workers’ compensation specialist, representing state employees, union members, police officers, and all types of North Carolina workers.

In March 2018 Valerie was honored to accept an appointment by Governor Roy Cooper to serve on the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

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. 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.

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Attorney Jesse Smith

Jesse Smith

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.

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Drew Culler

Drew Culler

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.

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