How We Got Here

In one sense, this firm of ours is entirely new. It’s so different in many ways from everywhere we’ve worked before, and that’s exciting. It’s also unlike any law firm we’ve seen before, and that’s a little scary. But for all of the newness and novelty, to us Counsel Carolina already feels familiar and broken-in because it grew out of a shared history.

All four of us went to law school at the University of Virginia and graduated within three years of each other. Seth and Joe were classmates and became friends while studying together in Charlottesville. Justin and Matt were a couple of years ahead. Whether by luck or happenstance, we all chose to intern at the same small civil litigation defense firm in Raleigh, and after graduation and the bar exam, we all decided to return to start our legal careers there. That shared work experience and the friendship and bond it created eventually set us on the path to start Counsel Carolina.

They call it the practice of law for a reason; it takes practice and that never stops. The four of us spent many years practicing together, right from the beginning, and saw each other develop in real time as professionals and people. We were together when we first argued in court, took a deposition, and went to trial. We taught each other legal writing, served as sounding boards for ideas and strategies, and counseled our first clients together. We shared many victories and, in more rare instances, grew from our defeats.

Although we moved on to different firms over the years, we always remained fast friends. We spent countless meals and vacations together with our families and enjoyed ball games to support our beloved Virginia Cavaliers.  Seth and Justin got married with the rest of us attending as enthusiastic groomsmen. Matt moved to Wilmington and back. Between us we brought four precious children (and future UVA Wahoos) into the world.

Yet all along the way the four of us never stopped talking about practicing law together again. Eventually those “what ifs” turned into “why nots” and then into plans and logistics and finally life-altering conversations and decisions (Powerpoint was involved).  The common thread throughout those discussions was a desire to do good in a profession not known for its humanity. But it wasn’t until our wives and families challenged us to think bigger and more broadly about the impact we could have that our vision and goals came into focus, and we owe this whole endeavor and any future success to them.

Justin Osborn