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About me

Valerie Johnson 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 the chair of the Workers’ Compensation Committee.


Valerie Johnson 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 the areas of workers’ compensation and this year was recognized for 10 years as a Best Lawyer.  She is  a North Carolina Super Lawyer and has been 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.


Practice areas


  1. Workers Compensation: 70%
  2. Employment: 15%
  3. Litigation: 10%
  4. Social Security: 5%



Contingent (25-40%)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

2 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Celeste M. Harris

    I endorse this lawyer. Valerie is a super lawyer and person. She has a pleasant and witty personality which is great to have in a lawyer. Not only does she take on the Big Boys - she wins!


    Celeste Harris Social Security Attorney
    Relationship: Co-worker

  • Bobby L. Bollinger Jr.

    I endorse this lawyer. Valerie is a very smart and hard working lawyer. She cares about her clients, and is an all-around wonderful person anyway. I have referred clients to her when they lived in the Chapel Hill area and will continue to do so.


    Bobby Bollinger Workers Compensation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC

300 Blackwell St.
Suite 101
Durham, NC, 27701


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Best Lawyer, Workers' CompensationBest Lawyers in America2014
Best Lawyer, Workers' CompensationBest Lawyers in America2013
Best Law FirmsU.S. News and World Report2013
Super LawyerLaw & Politics Magazine2013
Super LawyerLaw & Politics Magazine2012
Elected to the AcademyNational Academy of Social Insurance2011
Super LawyerLaw & Politics Magazine2011
Best LawyerBest Lawyers in America2011
Top 50 Women LawyersLaw & Politics Magazine2006
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
PartnerCopeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC2011 - Present
Adjunct ProfessorUniversity Of North Carolina School Of Law2003 - Present
Adjunct ProfessorWake Forest University School Of Law2011 - 2012
PartnerPatterson Harkavy LLP1994 - 2011
Association namePosition nameDuration
Lawyers Mutual LiabilityBoard Member2015 - Present
AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating CommitteeBoard of Directors2009 - 2011
American Association for JusticeMember2005 - Present
American Civil Liberties Union of North CarolinaTreasurer2002 - 2004
North Carolina Academy of Trial LawyersBoard Member2001 - 2008
American Civil Liberties Union of North CarolinaBoard Member2000 - 2004
North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers/North Carolina Advocates for JusticeWorkers' Compensation Executive Committee Member1996 - Present
American Bar AssociationMemberN/A
North Carolina Association of Women AttorneysMemberN/A
North Carolina Association of Black LawyersMemberN/A
Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy GroupMemberN/A
National Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Evans v. Hendrick Automotive GroupPlaintiff won on all issues
Taylor v. Town of Garner and N.C. State UniversityWin for the police officer in N.C. Supreme Court
Campbell v. Nat'l Pipe & Plastics, Inc.Employee won on all issues
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of North Carolina School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1994
University of North CarolinaN/AN/A1987
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Workplace torts and Workers' CompState Employee Benefits and Workers' Comp2012
Implications of Developments in Workers Compensation for Social Security Disability InsurancePathways from Workers's Compensation to Social Security Disability Insurance2009