About the Cotton Law Firm
Are you searching for a dedicated, diligent attorney team to deliver expert legal solutions? Look no further than the Cotton Law Firm. Founded in 2008, we offer our clients a new level of legal expertise in Fayetteville, Lumberton, and Durham, NC. We proudly serve Cumberland, Robeson, Hoke, Harnett, Bladen, Columbus, and Sampson counties. We promote a family-oriented environment and are committed to representing you with respect and inclusivity. When you are represented by us, you are represented like family and you receive the personal attention you deserve.
For us, it’s not about building a long, impressive list of winning criminal traffic and personal injury cases (although we have). It’s about protecting the people of our community and helping them build a better future for themselves and their loved ones. We often do pro-bono work and consider giving back one of the most important aspects of our duties as lawyers. We are proud to empower clients and do everything in our control to achieve a successful outcome.
We have a team of experts who have spent years protecting our clients’ rights, including an insurance company veteran. Nichole worked for insurance companies, and Sadie, our negotiator, worked as a claims adjuster. Therefore, we have knowledge of both sides of insurance claims disputes.
“I had a speeding ticket issue, and The Cotton Law Firm was able to go over and beyond for me. They are extremely informative and kept me updated throughout the entire process. I am more than grateful for my experience.”
The Story & Staff of the Cotton Law Firm
Meet Nichole M. Cotton
Cotton is her name, but she’s no softy. Prior to attending law school at the North Carolina Central School of Law, Attorney Nichole M. Cotton worked and lived in the Atlanta Georgia metro area. While she was well-established in the healthcare and automobile insurance industries, she always had a passion for law. She specializes in handling criminal traffic disputes and representing personal injury cases. Her clients have been awarded $1 million, $1.1 million, and $100k with her representation.
- North Carolina State Bar
- U.S. Federal Court, Eastern District of North Carolina 2009
- J.D., North Carolina Central University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina
- MBM, Southern Wesleyan University, Cayce, South Carolina
- B.S., University of South Carolina, Columbia South Carolina
Awards & Recognition
- Voted Best Attorney in 2016 & 2017 in the Fayetteville Observer Readers’ Choice Awards
- Received a Top 40 Under 40 Business Award from the Fayetteville Observer in 2017
Attorney Cotton began her legal career as a Staff Attorney with North Carolina Legal Aid in the Fayetteville office. While there, she worked primarily as a domestic violence advocate and gained experience in consumer law, mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy, family law, and unemployment appeals. In addition, she also has experience with small claims actions, housing matters, and as a DUI attorney.
In 2010, The Cotton Law Firm opened in Lumberton, NC. As business grew, a second location was established in Fayetteville to better serve the needs of clients across Cumberland County, where she is a resident and active member in the local community. She is a member of the Junior League of Fayetteville, where she exemplifies the organization’s commitment to volunteerism in the community as a leader and trained volunteer. When she is not practicing as a criminal or DUI attorney, she serves in her local church.
In her free time, Nichole enjoys spending time with her family in South Carolina, participating in church related activities at Covenant Love and working out at the gym with her personal trainer. Nichole is of Haitian descent and is proud of her heritage. In 2016, Attorney Nichole M. Cotton was voted Best Attorney in the Fayetteville Observer Readers’ Choice Awards. She received a Top 40 Under 40 Business Award from the Fayetteville Observer in 2017.
She also loves meditating, listening to podcasts and audiobooks on self-improvement, metaphysical, business, and mindset improvement books. In addition, she enjoys cooking, playing sound bowls, yoga, working out with her trainer, cooking plant-based food, and maintaining her vegetable garden.
Former Member of American Bar Association • U.S. Federal Court Eastern Division North Carolina • North Carolina Bar Association • North Carolina Advocates for Justice • Cumberland County Bar Association • Robeson County Bar Association • North Carolina State Bar • 12th Judicial District • Former Member of 16th Judicial District • North Carolina Young Lawyers Division • FAMLA (Fayetteville African American Lawyers Association) • North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys • Member of the Junior League of Fayetteville
Meet Attorney Shomik Gibson
Attorney Shomik Gibson is a South Carolina native and now calls North Carolina home. She is proud to call herself a Double Deac after attending Wake Forest University for undergraduate and law school. Before joining The Cotton Law, she clerked in The Kent County Family Law Court and a federal clerkship in The Middle District of North Carolina. Most recently, she has returned home to North Carolina from practicing family law in a Maryland law firm. She looks forward to bringing her previous experiences to The Cotton Law Firm to serve the community in traffic matters, criminal defense, and family law.
Meet Jack C. Keener
Jack Keener was born in Shelby, North Carolina. In 2004, he married his wife and best friend, Kelly. They live with their Four children and their miniature Schnauzer, in Clayton.
From 2000 to 2002, Jack served on a mission trip in Brazil, where he gained first-hand experience of what can happen to communities when there is no one to fight for them. Once he returned to the United States, Jack obtained his undergraduate degree from Strayer University in Business Administration.
Jack worked for 17 years as a paralegal, with experience in criminal, immigration, workers’ compensation, and personal injury practice areas, Jack developed a desire to fight for the legal rights of underserved communities. By 2005, he knew he wanted to take his legal career of helping others further and while working a full-time job, completed the night program at North Carolina Central University School of Law, receiving his law degree in 2016.
Jack Keener, Attorney at Law, handles Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation cases. He enjoys protecting the rights of injured NC clients and understands how difficult the NC Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation system can be for those injured through no fault of their own. He is a member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and is part of the NCAJ Workers’ Compensation and Auto Torts sections. He is also a member of the North Carolina Bar Association.
Jack is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and uses his language skills to support his Latino clients. Jack is focused on providing honest, reliable, and effective legal representation to his clients, including those in the North Carolina Latino community.
Jack has the opportunity each day to represent and fight for the rights of his injured clients. Jack loves the outdoors, archery, and is an avid reader when he is not spending time with his family.
- North Carolina State Bar
- Thirteenth Judicial District Bar (Johnston County)
- J.D., North Carolina Central University School of Law
- B.A., Strayer University
- North Carolina Advocates for Justice
- North Carolina Bar Association
Meet Attorney Asia Dukes:
I have a passion for helping people. I started out as a grassroots community organizer where my focus was raising awareness for wrongfully convicted people. I collaborated with MTV’s Unlocking the Truth to bring national attention to the issue. Those efforts influenced my decision go to law school. I attended NCCU School of Law where I gained the necessary skills to become a champion for social justice. I served as a student – attorney in the juvenile law clinic representing juvenile clients in court. After law school, I worked for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services as a Post-Conviction attorney evaluating convictions for any legal errors that might entitle someone to an earlier release date and representing clients before the NC Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission.
- Winston Salem State University, BA Justice Studies
North Carolina Central University School of Law, JD
Meet Milton Barba, ESQ
My journey to becoming an attorney began when the Great Recession took my job. I worked as a pipe welder and utility foreman for 14 years. My job was one of the more than 9 million casualties of the Great Recession. At the time, the construction industry barely had a pulse. The only logical way to find a job was to change careers. Looking for guidance, I took into consideration that the help I received from the community ameliorated the despair I felt when my livelihood was threatened. I wanted a career that would allow me to give back to the community. So, I went to Wake Tech and got a GED. Then I got an associate. I kept on working until I got my Juris Doctor and my license to practice law.
My understanding of the construction world’s intricacies is an asset to my clients. Furthermore, I am Hispanic – born and raised in Ecuador, I speak Spanish-fluently. This experience and my intercultural communication ability allow me to understand the situation of my clients. A job that will enable me to contribute back to the community is the perfect job for me. Helping to guide individuals through criminal traffic violations is a passion of mine. I can see myself being in my eighties and walking the corridors of courthouses.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my 2 children, my dog, and dancing.
Attorneys Of Counsel
Katie Lawson, ESQ
Attorney Katie Lawson holds an LL.M. in Taxation and has experience working with both the IRS and North Carolina Department of Revenue. She can help you settle your back taxes, negotiate settlements, appeal wage garnishments, penalties, and provide results-driven solutions when you need them most.
Katie Lawson handles our estate planning and estate administration cases.
Ken Harris, ESQ
Attorney Ken Harris handles our civil litigation cases and has over 30 years of experience in the field handling large verdicts. Our firm is proud to defer to Ken Harris for his trusted, civil litigation services.
Mr. Harris received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985 (BA – Political Science). Mr. Harris obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1988.
LaFarran Durman, ESQ
LaFarran Durman is a criminal defense attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina. She is originally from Mississippi where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi. LaFarran obtained her Juris Doctorate at Charlotte Law and has been licensed to practice law since 2016. Her goal is to provide clients with friendly, reliable and fast services at a reasonable price.
Counties served for traffic matters:
- North Carolina
- J.D. – Charlotte School of Law
- B.A. – University of Southern
- A.A. – Hinds Community College
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Mecklenburg County Bar Association
- Leary Bar Association
- Charlotte Black Chamber of Commerce 30 Under 30
Jessica Bentley – Office Manager
Born and raised in Queens, New York. Office Manager Jessica Bentley recently relocated to Fayetteville in search of a change of pace and to be close to her retired Army family. Jessica has worked in the legal field since 2016, has an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York, and is currently on track to obtaining her Bachelor’s degree also in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY. Jessica plans on attending law school where she feels she can truly serve and positively impact her community as an attorney.
Mari Serrano – Criminal/Traffic/Personal Injury Legal Assistant
Hi, I’m Mari! Yes, Mari with an I. I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the sunshine state of Florida when I was 2. I studied business administration and got my AS degree at Valencia College. It was not until the age of 23 when I discovered my passion for law. I became a legal assistant for one of Florida’s best-known injury law firms. My past work experience has helped enhance my personal skills and enables me to work well with different generations and people from all walks of life. I am patient, receptive, observant, and respectful which has led me to the opportunity to work with Fayetteville’s best, The Cotton Law Firm. At the Cotton Law, I am helping clients in personal injury, criminal, and now estates and wills! Hablo español.
Lauren McLamb – Criminal Defense & Traffic Matters Paralegal
Lauren has five years’ experience exclusively in criminal and traffic law. She has helped attorney’s manage countless District and Superior court cases. She is a former graduate of the Paralegal program at Johnston Community College and currently attends Liberty University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Psychology.
Lauren believes in providing excellent customer service to her clients by providing regular contact and updates and maintaining the court calendar and deadlines while providing support to the attorneys. She loves that CLF allows her the opportunity to give back to the community.
When she is not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, Colby and their four animals: Harley, Dixie, Sam and Jinx. She has a strong Christian faith and is a firm believer in women empowerment and self-improvement.
Francisca Fabian – Personal Injury Case Manager/ Paralegal
My name is Francisca and I am one of the personal injury case managers/paralegal. Although I am newer to the firm I have worked in big law firms as well as small ones and have accumulated over 8 yrs of experience in working on personal injury claims. With that, I have developed a niche in dealing with these bad insurance companies. I know the importance of helping people in these moments and giving that relief that they are in good hands. This allows them to focus on themselves and healing while we handle the legal aspect.
I was born in Michoacan, Mexico but raised in Durham, NC. I love to craft, movies, and reading. Most of my time is spent with my 3 little ones at home; 5, 2, and 1.
Maria Mireles – Personal Injury Paralegal
Maria has over nine years of experience exclusively in personal injury claims. She works primarily with attorney Nichole Cotton, and provides support to the other members of the firm.
Maria uses her considerable multitasking skills and customer service experience to help families by providing detailed support to the attorneys and her clients. Maria assists clients by providing regular contact and updates, managing the case process, maintaining the case calendar and deadlines.
Maria enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Roman and their dog, Bella. She loves being part of CLF because it feels like a family.
Teia – NC Criminal, Traffic & Family Law Licensed Paralegal
Teia has experience in Family Law, She has worked with a very high volume firm and can handle almost anything that comes her way.
During her free time, she loves spending time with her son Kingsley and their family. She loves traveling, booking trips for others, and making jewelry. Being a part of CLF has been a great blessing to her career and her. CLF is my FAMILY!!
Bianca – Criminal/ Traffic Legal Assistant
Bianca Clawson Richardson is native to Robeson County. Attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD where she studied Business Management and Public Relations. She has worked in the Legal field for 4 years. Bianca loves to serve her community and is passionate about others.
Nautica Taylor- Receptionist
My name is Nautica Taylor, I currently attend Fayetteville Technical Community College and I am a Dental Hygienist major. I graduated from Lumberton Senior High School class of 2020, and I have also earned a certificate as a medical office assistant at RCC. I enjoy my job at the Cotton Law Firm because I am able to meet and help new people every day.
Work With Us
We are always interested in having passionate, determined, and honorable attorneys join our team. Our team receives countless referrals for the expertise and fierce representation we deliver to our clients.
Nichole is happy to provide pro-bono service for legal aid and help individuals in any way she can. We encourage giving back to the community and are happy to welcome attorneys who share the same goals.