Fresh out of law school and having just passed the North Carolina State Bar, Atwater was a young, bright-eyed lawyer with boundless optimism and a fiery passion for justice. Eager to get started, Atwater hung his shingle and began practicing law.
A week or so after opening his office, Atwater got his first case. It was an employment matter. The client, a single mother of two children, had been discharged by her employer without explanation. After several months of applying for countless jobs to no avail, she had gone through her all of savings. Months behind in her rent and facing eviction proceedings, she filed for unemployment benefits, but was denied.
Understanding that the client couldn’t afford to pay a fee, Atwater agreed to represent her pro bono on appeal. Determined to help the client win her case, Atwater recalls spending hours upon hours reviewing the client’s records, reviewing the employer’s policies, researching the law, studying prior decisions, and preparing the client.
The hearing which was scheduled for one hour, took nearly three hours. When it was over, the Judge advised that the decision would be mailed. As Atwater walked his client to her car, he recalls the client asking, “So, how do you think it went?”, to which Atwater replied, “I think it went well”, with the client responding, “me too”. Atwater recalls the the client going on to say, “Well, regardless of how it turns out, I want to thank you.”
Three days later, the decision came, in a white envelope from the Employment Security Commission, stamped official business, addressed to Brandon S. Atwater, Esq., Counsel for Claimant. Atwater opened the envelope, unfolded the decision and began reading. The decision, which included a lengthy analysis, was several pages long. The suspense being too much, Atwater skipped ahead to the last page to read the conclusion, which read: “The determination of the Adjudicator is Reversed. Claimant is NOT disqualified for benefits.” And that was that; Atwater had won his first case…but that was just the beginning.
Since that first case back in 2010, Atwater has continued to expand the practice. Now, the firm proudly represents clients all across North Carolina in a wide variety of matters, including, but not limited to: Wrongful Death, Personal Injury, Nursing Home Litigation, Police Brutality, and Civil Rights Violations.
Over the years, the firm has been involved in numerous highly publicized cases, with cases being covered by print, broadcast and digital media outlets, including the Herald Sun, the News and Observer, the Franklin Times and news channels WRAL5 and NBC17.
In 2012, Attorney Sara Fathi-Nejad joined the Firm. Prior to coming to joining firm, Sara was an worked at a Washington, DC based law firm, where her practice focused primarily on representing individuals and small businesses in both litigation and transactional matters.
In 2012, Ms. Fathi-Nejad helped the firm launch Appeal the Decision®, a division of Atwater Law, where she devoted the majority of her practice to representing claimants in administrative appeals, with a focus on matters before the Division of Employment Security.
Since joining the firm, Sara has also helped expand the firm’s litigation practice. In addition to representing claimants before the Division of Employment Security, Sara has been successful in handling cases involving FMLA and ADA violations, and cases involving wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
The firm’s attorneys perform pro bono services in a variety of ways, including, serving on bar association committees; serving on boards of pro bono or legal services programs; taking part in Law Day activities; engaging in legislative lobbying to improve the law, and by providing legal services at a substantially reduced fee to those unable to pay.
Atwater Law is particularly proud to work with the NC Free Legal Help Program, a free public service provided by an association of attorneys across North Carolina dedicated to Protecting People’s Rights. The participating attorneys regularly provide free legal information to the public via phone or email exchanges.
In the Community
From serving on the board of Non-profit organizations, to putting on a Summer Law Camps for middle schoolers , our attorneys are active in community. We are especially proud to volunteer with the Carolina Center for Civic Education in helping to educate high school student about the Justice System.
The firm is also proud to sponsor the Annual Partners For Peace Celebration which supports the Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center, a community mediation center in Durham, North Carolina.