About Emma Way

Emma Way Articles written 14

Emma Way is a writer and editor living in Charlotte, North Carolina. By day, she is a director of editorial product at Axios, serving as the connector between 30 local reporting teams across the country. The Delaware-native and Washington College graduate has been writing for Super Lawyers since 2018.

Articles written by Emma Way

Work Worth Doing

Chris Olson’s civil rights success is no solo effort

Behind every civil rights case, and every major moment, in Chris Olson’s nearly 30-year legal career, he has a long list of credits. There are legendary attorneys like James “Fergie” Ferguson, Burton Craige, Hoyt Tessener, David Rudolf and Sonya Pfeiffer who have acted as both inspiration and aid for his work. There are the leaders in exonerating wrongly incarcerated North Carolinians like Jamie Lau and Jim Coleman with the Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic and Chris Mumma with North …

Paddling Ahead

Adam Van Grack flows through complex litigation just as he does whitewater rapids

Whitewater kayaking is like skiing, but in an avalanche. The rapids are always changing, whipping the kayak and occupant off course. The feeling Adam Van Grack gets when he’s flying through rough rapids is one that’s matched only when he’s in the courtroom. Both require focus and flexibility. “You have to take every rapid in every moment, understanding that your game plan might change immediately,” says the Olympic-qualifying athlete and commercial litigator. If an opponent …

Cool in Combat

Family attorney Justin Crozier was an Army mental health specialist

In combat, tempers run hot. “You have to maintain an edge,” says Justin Crozier, who worked as a combat medic and mental health specialist in the Army for 10 years. “Without it, you’re not going to be able to do the job that you’re hired to do—to keep us safe.” But the problem with that mindset, he adds, is that it can cause military personnel to remain guarded, and not share the struggles they’re experiencing. Crozier compares it to an overheated car: Putting your foot on the …

When the Roads Diverged, She Took Both

Why Jessica Heltsley moved out of courtrooms and into divorce coaching

Jessica Heltsley didn’t dream of standing in front of a courtroom arguing for her client. She avoided debate. When it came to problem solving, she enjoyed peace and calm, not the hustle of litigation. But Heltsley was a good student, and she had watched her mother rise from a paralegal to attorney. Studying law seemed like a smart path forward. “It wasn’t until my first summer of law school, when I was a family law clerk, and it just clicked for me,” she says. “It felt more …

From Farm to Negotiation Table

How Rita Bolt Barker tackled pandemic lawsuits to protect vulnerable communities

The seeds of Rita Bolt Barker’s career as an environmental attorney were planted decades ago on her family’s farm. She watched conservation in action throughout her childhood and developed a deep love for nature and animals. “My dad would never have admitted that he was one of the original conservationists,” Bolt Barker says, “but a lot of farmers are, of course, good stewards. “That’s where it started.” Bolt Barker considered becoming a veterinarian, but a job-shadowing program …

In Their Blood

Paul and Kevin Mahoney carry on the legacy of their father, Denny

Dennis Mahoney never owned a computer in his 54 years of practicing medical malpractice law. His only cellphone folded in half. When an email arrived for him, a paralegal would print it out, and he’d scribble notes in red ink on the page in response. Denny, as his friends called him, was old school. He took notes on yellow legal pads, jotting down questions and thoughts for a trial. No copy, no paste. No backspace. Terrible handwriting, his sons and fellow attorneys, Kevin and Paul say. …

Solo Success

Six attorneys share the ups and downs of building their own practice

When Jill Jackson appears via Zoom, she jokes about her background. It’s not a buttoned-up law office with books or framed diplomas. Jackson is sitting in the backyard of her Raleigh home. “Of course my dog was like, I need to go out now,” she says with a laugh. Owning her own firm means independence, flexibility and boundless opportunity. The six solo attorneys in this story set their own schedules, choose the clients and cases they take on, and have the freedom to take calls while their …

Shedding Light (without the spotlight)

If you’ve never read about Valecia McDowell’s work, she’s doing it right

“Doing an investigation is a little bit like being in a Scooby-Doo gang,” says Valecia McDowell, co-head of Moore & Van Allen’s white collar, regulatory defense and investigations practice. “A problem presents at the beginning of the episode: ‘Is there a ghost living in this haunted house?’ Or, ‘Who stole the Scooby snacks?’ Then you put together your team. We need a diversity of perspectives and experiences. And then you start fresh, with no assumptions, and you work …

Keeping the Conversation Going

Leto Copeley and Valerie Johnson started a #MeToo podcast before #MeToo hit

In 2017, partners Valerie Johnson and Leto Copeley knew they wanted to do something that addressed the reoccurring questions they encounter in the employment, sexual harassment and personal injury space. They thought a book made sense, came up with an outline, but, in the end, Copeley says, “It just felt so daunting.”  So the duo, who dubbed themselves the “Law Sisters,” turned to Plan B: a podcast. “It just seemed like something we could do more immediately,” Johnson says. The …

Dive Bar

Tony Scheer loved working in the boat and scuba biz; that’s why he stopped doing it

When Tony Scheer talks about his childhood in Syracuse, New York, he recalls summers on the water. “Even though I grew up nowhere near the ocean, I was a water guy,” he says. Scheer loved to sail and water ski, and he was obsessed with underwater explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau. His parents were both waterfront directors at a summer camp. “We were a water family.” Scheer, 62, a partner at Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo, always wanted to be a diver and marine biologist. …

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