GARLAND – A new attorney has been selected to handle legal matters for the town. During a special meeting Monday, the Board of Commissioners selected attorney Michael Porter as its legal counsel. His law office, The Michael Porter Law Firm, is located in Fayetteville.
The decision was made after Porter introduced himself to the commissioners and answered questions from Mayor Winifred Murphy.
“We’re just thankful that we have obtained a town attorney,” Murphy said about the selection.
Some of his practices include business litigation, personal injury, employment disputes and administrative or regulatory law matters. He has handled many personal injury and wrongful death cases as a plaintiff’s attorney and as an insurance defense attorney for leading insurance carriers. Some of them include Allstate, GEICO, N.C. Farm Bureau and Builders Mutual.
For legal matters, Porter has represented governmental clients such as the Fayetteville Metropolitan Housing Authority, Cape Fear Valley Hospital and the Public Works Commission.
The new legal counsel has a bachelor’s degree from Methodist College and earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law.
He was delighted to receive a call from Winifred on Tuesday, he said.
The Fayetteville native said he has had the great pleasure of representing many clients in Sampson County over the years.
“Garland is filled with wonderful people that love their town, and it has a rich history,” Porter said. “My goal is to provide top-notch representation to the Town of Garland as it faces a future full of hope, but with many challenges ahead. My role as town attorney is to be a trusted advisor and advocate for Garland, and I intend to fulfill that role. I am proud and honored to be selected for this position.”
With three years of experience, Justin Lockamy of Warrick and Bradshaw, P.A., was the other candidate who made a presentation during the meeting. Some of the current practices of the Sampson County native includes real estate, state law and does work for the city of Clinton on collection efforts and annual contract reviews.
“With someone of my experience and my age in this place, I have a fair deal of experience with local governments,” Lockamy said while speaking to the board.
Lockamy said the town does not have an easy job dealing with issues, but his role as an attorney is to keep Garland out of trouble and to bring them out of it, if something unfortunate occurs.
He has a bachelor’s in dramatic arts from the UNC-Chapel Hill. Next, he attended the University of Nebraska College of Law and earned a degree in law, with a concentration in Space and Telecommunications Law.
Commissioners said they selected Porter because of his background and experience in law. His services were also $10 less per hour.
The search began in early June after former town attorney W. Joel Starling Jr. submitted a letter of resignation to Murphy and the Garland Board of Commissioners, noting personal reasons.