G. Nicholas (Nick) Herman

Nicholas HermanNick Herman received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar and his law degree from Duke University School of Law. He has extensive litigation experience in state and federal court in a wide variety of areas of law, including municipal and county defense, zoning issues, constitutional law, civil rights, eminent domain, and employment law. He has also argued over 40 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 also an Adjunct Professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, Campbell Law School, and Elon University, and he has taught on the adjunct faculties at Duke Law School and UNC-CH Law School. He teaches courses in trial practice, the law of evidence, legal counseling and negotiating, arbitration, appellate advocacy, civil procedure, alternative dispute resolution, and pretrial litigation, among other courses. 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 six law books: North Carolina Civil Trial Practice (Juris Publishing, Inc. 2012); Navigating the First Year of Law School (Carolina Academic Press 2016); Practical Evidence: The Law, Foundations, and Trial Techniques (2d ed. West Group 1999); Plea Bargaining (4th ed. Juris Publishing Inc. 2017); Legal Counseling, Negotiating & Mediating: A Practical Approach (Carolina Academic Press 2009); and A Practical Approach to Client Interviewing, Counseling, and Decision-Making: For Clinical Programs and Practical-skills Courses (Carolina Academic Press 2009). He has also written over 50 articles on various subjects of litigation and appeals.

Mr. Herman has been a lecturer at numerous Continuing Legal Education programs on topics such as land-use regulation powers, civil litigation and trial advocacy, eminent domain, the law of damages, witness preparation, disability law, and ethical considerations in civil litigation and appellate practice. He now serves as general counsel to the Town of Carrboro and the City of Roxboro. He has served as special litigation counsel for Cabarrus County, Rockingham County, Brunswick County, Chatham County, Currituck County, the City of Concord, the City of Wilmington, the Town of Unionville, and the Town of Garner. His practice is otherwise primarily devoted to general representation and complex litigation and appeals involving areas such as county and municipal law, zoning issues, land use regulation, condemnation cases, nuisance abatement, constitutional law, employment law, disability law, and business litigation.

Robert E. (Bob) Hornik, Jr.

Robert HornikBob Hornik received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in Political Science from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, and his law degree from The Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. Before becoming a principal in the Brough Law Firm, he engaged in the private practice of law in Syracuse, New York, representing local governments and real estate developers.

Mr. Hornik’s practice emphasizes municipal law, zoning and land use law, litigation, and ordinance drafting. He serves as general counsel to the Towns of Hillsborough, Hoffman, Pinebluff, 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 has 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.

Mr. Hornik is admitted to practice not only in in North Carolina and New York, but also 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 numerous occasions.

T.C. Morphis, Jr.

TC MorphisT.C. Morphis grew up in Hickory, North Carolina. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and History from UNC-Chapel Hill and his Law Degree and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Mr. Morphis’ primary practice areas include municipal, zoning, land use, employment, code enforcement, environmental, and coastal area management law. He provides general legal counsel for the Cities of Creedmoor and Hamlet and the Towns of Aberdeen, Carthage, Princeville, Robbins and Vass. He also works extensively with the Towns of Hillsborough and Pinebluff, and regularly represents citizen groups and other private clients in land-use litigation throughout North Carolina. Mr. Morphis has experience at all stages of litigation, from quasi-judicial hearings before local boards to trial court work and appellate advocacy before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court. Mr. Morphis also regularly advises local government clients on code enforcement and board governance issues.

Early in his career, Mr. Morphis served as a clerk with the Charlotte City Attorney’s Office and as an extern for the Honorable Judge Linda McGee of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Mr. Morphis’ Masters-Degree 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. Mr. Morphis also received, at UNC-CH Law School, the Gressman-Pollitt Award for Oral Advocacy, the Best Overall award in the UNC Environmental Negotiation Competition, and recognition as a finalist in the Merhige National Environmental Negotiation Competition.

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. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, and currently serves the Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section Council. He has previously served 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.

Albert M. Benshoff

Al Benshoff graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources. 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. He later received a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of Michigan.

For many years, he worked as a planner, first for the Beaufort County, S.C. Planning Commission, and then for the City of Cary, N.C. where he oversaw 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 N.C. Central University School of Law, in Durham, NC.

After receiving his law degree, Mr. Benshoff became the City Attorney for Lumberton, N.C. and then served as the City Attorney for Concord, N.C. Some of his accomplishments in Concord include litigating a major zoning challenge to the new Cabarrus County jail, re-writing the Concord Development Ordinance, obtaining and defending Inter-Basin Transfer Permits from the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers to Concord and Kannapolis, assisting with the redevelopment of “Brownfield” sites, and organizing community development and the construction of the joint Albemarle-Concord- Kannapolis water pipeline.

Mr. Benshoff provides general legal counsel to the Towns of Oakboro, Mocksville and Stanfield, as well as the City of Sanford Board of Adjustment and Historic Preservation Commission. He has worked with other local government clients, including the Towns of Aberdeen, Carthage, Carrboro, Creedmoor, Selma, Holly Springs, Pinebluff, Robbins, the Lumberton Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Cities of Kannapolis and Roxboro, and the Village of Pinehurst. He practices in the areas of real estate development, code enforcement, contracts, economic development, annexation, land use and zoning, eminent domain, housing authorities, personnel, and community development, including U.S. Housing and Urban Development programs.

Mr. Benshoff is licensed in the North Carolina state courts and U.S. District Courts of the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina, as well as the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, where he serves as co-chair of the legislative section of the Zoning, Planning and Land Use section and on the Board of Directors of the Government & Public Sector section where he is also the legislative section co-chair. He also serves as the President of the Board of Directors of two non-profit corporations providing housing to low income seniors in Cabarrus County, the Methodist Episcopal Senior Housing, Inc. and Housing Episcopal Methodist Presbyterian, Inc.

S. Ellis Hankins

S. Ellis HankinsEllis Hankins earned his B.A., Master of Regional Planning and Law degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. As an attorney with the firm based in Raleigh, his practice focuses primarily on local government representation and appellate advocacy.

He teaches as a visiting professor in graduate public policy and management programs at UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke University, in the areas of state and local government, tax policy and public finance, public law and ethics, and intergovernmental relations. He also has assisted cities, counties, public risk pools, state municipal leagues, and county associations with executive searches and other management needs, as a member of a nationwide public sector consulting firm.

Mr. Hankins served as Executive Director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the statewide municipal association, and previously as the League’s General Counsel and chief state legislative lobbyist. He has represented municipalities and other public and private sector entities and associations in state and federal trial and appellate courts and before congressional committees, as a member of the League staff and in private law practice. He is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

He is a former member of the National League of Cities Board of Directors; the NLC Mutual Insurance Company Board of Directors and Executive Committee (reinsurance company); the NCLM Risk Management Services Board of Trustees; the UNC School of Government Foundation Board of Directors; and the Wake County Parks and Recreation Commission. He assisted with the transition of North Carolina Governor-Elect Roy Cooper, leading the assessment team that evaluated the Governor’s Office, Department of Administration and Office of State Human Resources.

Mr. Hankins is a lifetime honorary member of the NC Municipal Attorneys Association and the NC City-County Management Association, and he received the Grainger Barrett Award for Excellence from the NC Bar Association Government and Public Sector Section. He is a member of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, bestowed by Governor McCrory for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina.

Kevin R. Hornik

Kevin R. HornikKevin Hornik received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in History from Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2013. He received his law degree in 2016, and was admitted to practice in in all courts of this State in 2017.

While in law school, Mr. Hornik worked as a legal writing consultant and instructor, assisting and advising students on their legal writing assignments. He also worked as an intern at the school’s Community and Economic Development Clinic, providing pro bono legal services to non-profit and community and economic development organizations in the Charlotte area and in the surrounding communities. He also was a member of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, participating in and attending lecture series in the greater Charlotte area through both law school and The Magellan Society.

Mr. Hornik’s experience includes local government and municipal land use matters, as well as non-profit and community economic development work. He practices with the firm by counseling the firm’s numerous local government clients in land-use, regulatory, and employment matters, including all operational and transactional aspects of those local governments. In addition, he provides integral legal research, and litigation representation and support for cases litigated by the firm on behalf of local governments. This includes counsel and representation in administrative matters, quasi-judicial proceedings, trial proceedings, and appellate cases brought on behalf of the local governments represented by the firm in the N.C. Court of Appeals, N.C. Supreme Court, the federal district courts of North Carolina, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.