Alumni Profile: Daniel Gibson (JD ’15)
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Office of Communications and Public Relations
March 19, 2018
Daniel Gibson (JD ‘15) may have been the youngest practicing attorney in North Carolina when he started working as an associate at Cannon Law in Statesville in September 2015.Born in Australia — the accent typically only surfaces when he is really animated about making a point — Gibson grew up in Cary, North Carolina. He graduated from Raleigh Charter High School with so many college credits he was able to finish his undergraduate studies in three years at Campbell University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in government.
That most likely made him one of the youngest students at Wake Forest School of Law when he walked through the doors of the Worrell Professional Center in fall 2012.
In March 2017, Gibson came full circle when he joined Cary Law Firm PLLC as chief litigation attorney, and not just because he returned to Cary. He interned at the firm, then Miller Associates in 2009, “to find out if I wanted to be a lawyer,” he explained.
Apparently it stuck.
Gibson dabbled in politics, interning with the Muir for Mayor campaign and working as legistlative intern for Rep. Paul Stam, then Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. (JD ‘99) and finally the Honorable Justice Paul Newby on the North Carolina Supreme Court.
At Wake Forest law school, Gibson worked as Professor Tanya Marsh’s research assistant for more than two years researching and analyzing relevant cases, statues and secondary sources to help her conceptualize and organize the materials for her first “Funeral and Cemetery Law” course in Spring 2014 and her treatise “The Law of Human Remains.” That led to him co-authoring, “Cemetery Law: The Common Law of Burying Grounds in the United States,” the first of its kind.
“Daniel and I had collected an enormous amount of materials that had yet to be curated or analyzed,” Marsh explained, “and one day we just thought, why not publish them?”
Gibson said what surprised him the most about the research “is just how much cemeteries and how we bury people has changed. What we think is normal isn’t historically normal. Embalming and putting someone in the ground only became normal after the Civil War.”
In addition to creating 50-state-surveys, editing law review articles, researching and planning a course for the spring of 2014, preparing case and book summaries, he helped draft congressional testimony regarding community banking.
While in law school, Gibson served as vice president for the Wake Forest Federalist Society and the Christian Legal Society. He received the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Award for his trial advocacy skills and earned awards for his performance in constitutional law and legislation and administrative law, as well as a certificate of appreciation from then Gov. Pat McCrory for his service to the state.
Since graduating from law school, Gibson has received the Allen A. Bailey award from the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and been admitted to the E.A. Morris Fellowship for Emerging Leaders.
Flash forward to today, and Gibson finds his favorite place is arguing in front of a judge, whether in Superior Court in Wake County or the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He’s represented clients before North Carolina state and federal courts, North Carolina appellate courts, the North Carolina Industrial Commission and the American Arbitration Association.
“My practice focuses on civil and appellate litigation, particularly in a business and contracts context,” he explains. “I have litigated and won six-figure disputes. I have represented businesses, individuals, and consumers in cases against other individuals, other businesses, and state and local governments.”
One of his current cases involves representing a plaintiff against the Town of Cary, proving that you can fight city hall, which in a bit of ironic twist is across the street from his firm. In fact, he had the chance to take his arguments before the North Carolina Court of Appeals on April 4.
“I love being in court; I like a good controversy over what a contract means or how a rule of civil procedure applies. I’ve gravitated toward those cases because I’ve found they are the best way for me to use my passion for research and writing. For me, practicing law is a way to do the two things I love most: thinking and writing. I get paid to read, paid to research, and paid to write. I love it.”
He has also drafted and implemented policies regarding staff, billing, and clients for Cary Law.
”I would be remiss if I didn’t say anything about the massive influence Marty Miller, our senior partner, Paul Stam, Bryan Scott, and Bedford Cannon have had on my career. They’ve shown me how law should be practiced. I wouldn’t be the attorney I am without their guidance and their example.
“I’ve also enjoyed the amount of confidence my firm has in me. I have been practicing for almost three years but, when it comes to litigation, our senior partner says ‘I’d recommend him over myself.’ Between helping manage the firm, taking cases up on appeal, and handling large civil cases, I’ve been given opportunities and cases I don’t see many attorneys my age getting.”
Gibson lives in Durham with his wife, Lindsey, another Campbell graduate, who is a current Master of Theology student at Duke University Divinity School, and their German Shepherd, Herbert. So it should come as no surprise that he’s also interested in theology, baking, policy, and history — British and Civil War in particular.
“I grew up in the Triangle and I love this area,” he says. “I remain a student of law. I married a theologian, which made me a student of theology. Thus, law, theology, and policy are my passions.”