NC / Durham

Valerie Johnson

Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC
300 Blackwell St Ste 101 
Durham , NC 27701


Valerie is a passionate advocate for injured people and working people in North Carolina.  She was raised in Henderson NC and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Law School.  Valerie taught elementary school between college and law school. Working people are the focus of Valerie's legal work:  you can find her book, North Carolina Workers' Compensation Law: A Practical Guide to Success at Every Stage of a Claim, now in its third edition.  At the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), the state's largest organization for plaintiffs' lawyers, she serves on the Board of Directors of  as Education Vice President.  Before that, Valerie was the Legislative Vice President.  She was the chair of the NCAJ Workers' Compensation Section in 2013-14.  Valerie has been board certified in workers' compensation law since 2000.  She is a member of the NC Association of Black Lawyers. Valerie appreciates the opportunity to serve her profession, and she became a member of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of North Carolina in 2015. She is also proud to be among The National Black Lawyers Top 100. Valerie did not leave teaching behind when she became a lawyer.  She teaches trial advocacy at UNC Law School  and has taught workers' compensation law at the Wake Forest University School of Law. Valerie's peers have recognized her:  she is listed in Best Lawyers in the areas of workers' compensation and was recognized for her 10 years as a Best Lawyer. She has been listed in North Carolina Super Lawyer Magazine every year since 2006. She was admitted to the National Academy of Social Insurance in 2011 and to the College of Workers Compensation in 2015. Valerie has been married to her husband Sam for 25 years. They have two children, Alex and Sam III, and a dog named Grace. In November they appeared on HGTV's Love It or List It and had a lot of fun renovating their Durham home on TV. Favorite Sports Team:  Tarheels Favorite University:  UNC-Chapel Hill Favorite Color:  Carolina Blue Church: Union Baptist, Durham NC TV Show:  Love It or List it (of course) Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird Holiday:  Christmas Read about Valerie's recent activities on our blog.

Areas of Practice:


  • Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation, 2000 " present

Bar Admissions:

  • North Carolina State Courts
  • United States District Court, Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit


  • University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1994 Juris Doctor with Honors
  • University of North Carolina, B.A. in Education, 1987


Classes/Seminars Taught:

  • Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Adjunct Professor, Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Mock Trial of an Employment Case, Labor and Employment Law Conference, American Bar Association, September 2008
  • Current Issues for Workers and Unions under Federal and State OSHA Laws, Union Health and Safety Workshop, AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee Union Lawyers Conference, May 2008
  • Editor, The Essentials of North Carolina Workers' Compensation Law, LexisNexis and the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers Education Foundation, Inc., 2007, 2009 and 2011
  • The Interaction Between State Employee Benefits and Workers' Compensation, Workplace Torts and Workers' Compensation, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, December 1997, December 2000, January 2003, December 2004, December 2007
  • Veterans' Administration and Champus Liens, Workplace Torts and Workers' Compensation, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, January 2003
  • Settlement Issues, Workers' Compensation Roundtable, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, March 2002
  • Police Misconduct, Civil Rights on the Cutting Edge, North Carolina Bar Association, January 2000
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Southeast Regional Program, Assistant Team Leader, May 2000, May 2001
  • Workers' Compensation Basics, North Carolina AFL-CIO Labor School, 1998-2003, 2005-present
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Moderator, Basic Workers' Compensation, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1998-2005
  • Examining the Vocational Expert, Expert Witness Seminar, North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, March 1997
  • Union Stewards' Guide to Workers' Compensation, North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Convention, August 1996
  • Governmental Authority to Regulate SmokingHealth Law Bulletin No. 73, Institute of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, January 1993
Professional Associations and Memberships:
  • North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers/North Carolina Advocates for Justice
    • Education Vice President, 2016
    • Legislative Vice President, 2015
    • Board Member, 2001-2008, 2013-present
    • Workers' Compensation Section, Chairperson, 2013
    • Workers' Compensation Executive Committee, 1996-2004, 2008-present
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers
  • North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina
    • Board Member, 2000-2004
    • Treasurer, 2002-2004
  • AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee,
    • Board of Directors 2009 " 2011
  • Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group
    • Board Member, 2013-present
  • American Association for Justice
  • Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of N.C
    • Board Member, 2015 " Present
  • College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers
  • National Academy of Social Insurance



  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 " present
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers as published by Law and Politics Magazine, 2006 " present
    • One of the Top 50 Women Lawyers, Law and Politics Magazine, 2006
  • Elected to the National Academy of Social Insurance
  • NC APRI Special Award, 2014
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