Attorneys

Michael B. Brough

Michael Brough Michael B. Brough received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with highest honors, from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1969. He received his law degree, with honors, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1973, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he was a Governor Herbert H. Lehman Fellow.

Mr. Brough founded The Brough Law Firm in 1988. Before that, he practiced as a sole practitioner, then as a partner in Faison, Brown, Fletcher & Brough, and served as President of Adjunct Services, Inc., a firm providing ordinance codification and legal research services to local governments. He has held a variety of teaching positions, including Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at the Institute of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1974-1976); Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law & Administration, UNC-CH (1978-1979); and Visiting Lecturer, University of North Carolina School of Law (1979-1980, and 1991). At these institutions, and at numerous Continuing Legal Education programs, he has taught courses in state and local government law and land use law.

Mr. Brough is the author of two books: Selected Major Issues in North Carolina Zoning and Land Use Law (1986), and A Unified Development Ordinance, (American Planning Association 1985). He has also authored three monographs: The Zoning Board of Adjustment in North Carolina (with Philip P. Green, Jr.) (Institute of Government 1984), Preparing Ordinances Regulating Mobile Homes and Mobile Home Parks in North Carolina: A Guidebook (Institute of Government 1976), and The Nonconforming Use in North Carolina Zoning Law: Text and Model Ordinance (Institute of Government 1976). In addition, he has written over twelve articles on various topics of land use law, including litigation and appeal issues, obtaining development permission under local ordinances, local government liability for unlawful land use decisions, issues involving local watershed protection programs, and issues related to vested rights and takings law.

Mr. Brough is general counsel for the Town of Carrboro, Foxfire Village, Village of Whispering Pines, Town of Pinebluff and Town of Cameron, and he regularly consults with other cities and counties, developers, and citizen groups around the State. His practice is primarily devoted to matters involving state and local government and land use law. He has argued numerous cases in the North Carolina Supreme Court, North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and is a Certified Mediator in North Carolina.

G. Nicholas (Nick) Herman

Nicholas HermanG. Nicholas Herman received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar.  He received his law degree from Duke University School of Law in 1981.  He was formerly a partner in the firm of Coleman, Bernholz, Bernholz, Gledhill, Hargrave & Herman, where his practice concentrated in general, civil and criminal litigation and appeals.  He has extensive litigation experience in state and federal court in a wide variety of areas of law, including county defense, zoning issues, personal injury, civil rights, criminal law, and employment law.  He has also argued over thirty cases in the North Carolina Supreme Court, North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth District.

Mr. Herman is an Adjunct Professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, and he has also taught on the adjunct faculties at Duke Law School, UNC-CH Law School, Campbell Law School, and Elon University (Department of Philosophy).  He teaches courses in trial practice, the law of evidence, legal counseling and negotiating, appellate advocacy, criminal law, criminal procedure, alternative dispute resolution, pleading and practice, statutory interpretation, legal writing, and pretrial litigation.  He has also taught on the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy in trial practice, negotiation and mediation, and deposition-taking skills.  He is the author of five books: North Carolina Civil Trial Practice (Juris Publishing, Inc. 2012); Practical Evidence:  The Law, Foundations, and Trial Techniques (2d ed. West Group 1999); Plea Bargaining (2d ed. Juris Publishing Inc. 2004); Legal Counseling, Negotiating & Mediating: A Practical Approach (Lexis/Nexis 2009); and A Practical Approach to Client Interviewing, Counseling, and Decision-Making: For Clinical Programs and Practical-skills Courses (Lexis/Nexis-Matthew Bender & Co. 2009), He has also written over 40 articles on various subjects of civil and criminal litigation, including direct examination, opening statement, jury instructions, deposition taking, issues in employee drug testing, nuisance abatement, the law of damages, appellate oral argument, and appellate brief writing.

Mr. Herman has been a lecturer at numerous Continuing Legal Education programs on topics such as land-use regulation powers, the law of damages, witness preparation, legal aspects of drug testing, and ethical considerations in civil litigation and appellate practice.  His Bar activities include service as President of the Orange County Bar Association (1991), Vice President (1986), Secretary-Treasurer (1987).

Mr. Herman now serves as general counsel to the Cities of Roxboro and Trinity, and otherwise his practice is primarily devoted to litigation and appeals involving areas such as county and municipal defense, zoning issues, land use regulation, condemnation cases, nuisance abatement, employment law issues, business litigation and personal injury.

Robert E. Hornik, Jr.

Robert Hornik Robert E. Hornik, Jr. received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in Political Science from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York in 1981. He received his law degree from The Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, in 1984. Thereafter, he was admitted to practice in New York, where he engaged in the private practice of law in Syracuse, New York from 1984 through September 1998.

Mr. Hornik’s practice emphasizes municipal law, zoning and land use law and litigation. He joined the Firm in October 1998 after 14 years of private practice in Syracuse, New York, where he also represented local governments and real estate developers. Mr. Hornik now serves as general counsel to the Towns of Hillsborough and Stem, and supports others in the Firm in their capacities as counsel for the Firm’s other municipal clients. Mr. Hornik has represented and advised municipalities in New York and North Carolina on issues including local finance, employment, annexation, zoning, planning and environmental law, and private developers in administrative and judicial proceedings at the State and Federal levels.

Mr. Hornik’s experience includes extensive litigation experience in municipal land use and annexation matters in trial and appellate courts, including the North Carolina Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. He has also counseled clients in various commercial real estate transactions, including site acquisition, leasing and financing of multi-million dollar commercial, retail and office ventures, and large scale residential subdivisions. Mr. Hornik’s practice has included representation of several regional and national wireless telecommunication providers in the site acquisition and permitting processes for wireless telecommunications facilities, including State and Federal court actions brought under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Mr. Hornik is admitted to practice in North Carolina (1997) and New York (1985). He is also admitted to practice in the federal courts in the Northern and Western Districts of New York, in the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina, in the United States Circuit Court for the Fourth Circuit, and in the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the North Carolina, New York and American Bar Associations. Mr. Hornik is active in the North Carolina Bar Association’s Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section, having served as a member of the Section’s first Section Council. He served two terms as Chairman of the Section’s Continuing Legal Education Committee, and has presented continuing legal education programs for municipal attorneys and newly admitted attorneys on several occasions.

T.C. Morphis, Jr.

TC Morphis T.C. Morphis grew up in Hickory, North Carolina. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and History from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1997 and both a Law Degree and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002.

Mr. Morphis has been with the Brough Law Firm since the fall of 2002. His primary practice areas include municipal, zoning, land use, environmental and coastal area management law. He provides general legal counsel for the City of Hamlet and the Towns of Aberdeen, Carthage, Hope Mills, Robbins and Vass. He also works extensively with the Towns of Carrboro, Hillsborough and Pinebluff, and regularly represents citizen groups and other private clients in land use litigation throughout North Carolina.

While in law school, Mr. Morphis worked as an intern with the Conservation Trust for North Carolina; as a regional planning intern with the Triangle J Council of Governments; as clerk with the City Attorney’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina; as an extern for the Honorable Judge Linda McGee of the North Carolina Court of Appeals; and as a co-instructor for a course in cultural diversity at UNC-Chapel Hill. Mr. Morphis’ Masters Project compared land trusts and resource conservation efforts in North Carolina with forest conservation in India, and he was a recipient of a U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies scholarship for the study of Hindi and Urdu in 2000. Mr. Morphis received the Gressman-Pollitt Award for Oral Advocacy in 1999, won the Best Overall award in the UNC Environmental Negotiation Competition in 1999, and was a finalist in the Merhige National Environmental Negotiation Competition in 2002.

Mr. Morphis is admitted to practice in the State courts in North Carolina and in the United States District Court, Middle District of North Carolina. Mr. Morphis is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and serves as a member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section Council. He has been elected to serve as the Zoning, Planning, and Land Use Law Section Council Treasurer for 2014-2015, and previously served for three years as the Co-Editor of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Land Use Law Quarterly. He also previously served on the Triangle Land Conservancy’s Land Protection Committee, and as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the City of Durham’s Community and Family Life Center at Lyon Park.

William C. Morgan, Jr.

William Morgan William C. Morgan, Jr. received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina in 1985. He received his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988, and then served for over two years as a law clerk to the Honorable Woodrow Wilson Jones, Senior United States District Court Judge for the Western District of North Carolina in Rutherfordton. Since joining the Brough Law Firm in 1991, Mr. Morgan has concentrated in municipal defense and land use matters.

Mr. Morgan has extensive experience representing towns and counties in North Carolina. He is general counsel for the Town of Siler City, Town of Taylortown, and Town of Canton, and he regularly works with numerous other North Carolina municipalities including Asheville, Rutherfordton, and Cary. Mr. Morgan’s practice is devoted to municipal defense, zoning matters, and land use issues, and he regularly drafts zoning and unified development ordinance amendments, and police and fire department policy and procedure manuals. Mr. Morgan often consults with municipal officials, developers, and citizen groups in a wide range of matters related to land use issues, and he has represented clients in the North Carolina Supreme Court, North Carolina Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, numerous North Carolina Superior and District Courts, and many local Boards of Adjustment.

Mr. Morgan is admitted to practice in all federal courts in North Carolina, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the North Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association, the American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, and the Buncombe County Bar Association. Mr. Morgan practices primarily from the firm’s adjunct office in Asheville, North Carolina.

Albert M. Benshoff

Albert M. Benshoff moved from his family’s home in central Pennsylvania to Michigan, where he graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Natural Resources in 1976. He briefly worked as a contractor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (now the National Park Service) before working in environmental compliance for National Steel Corp. In 1982, he received a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of Michigan.

For the next 12 years he worked as a planner, first for the Beaufort County, S.C. Planning Commission, then, beginning in 1985 for Cary, NC where he was in charge of the adoption of the first Unified Development Ordinance, the construction of the first five miles of greenway and several comprehensive plans. While working in Cary, he attended the evening law program at NC Central University, in Durham, NC.

Mr. Benshoff was licensed in 1994. After that he became the City Attorney for Lumberton, N.C. until 2003 when he became the Concord, N.C. City Attorney. Some of his accomplishments in Concord include litigating a zoning challenge to the new Cabarrus County jail, the 2005 edition of the Concord Development Ordinance, obtaining and defending the Inter-basin Transfer Permits from the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers to Concord and Kannapolis, the redevelopment of “Brownfield” sites, community development and the construction of the joint Albemarle-Concord-Kannapolis water pipeline. Mr. Benshoff retired from the City of Concord in 2014.

Mr. Benshoff is licensed in all of the state and U.S. Courts serving North Carolina, including the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the American and North Carolina Bar Associations, among other professional and service organizations.

He has served other notable clients, including the Lumberton Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Town of Morrisville, and Moore County. Mr. Benshoff practices in the areas of real estate development, contracts, economic development, annexation, land use and zoning, eminent domain, housing authorities, code enforcement and community development, including US Housing and Urban Development programs.