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 Marlo Thaggard-O’Tuel, Associate Attorney
Marlo was born and raised in Lumberton, NC. Her claim to fame is being the first baby born in Robeson County in 1980. Marlo always knew she had a heart for the law. She began working in a law firm as a junior in high school.
Marlo has always worked in the areas of motor vehicle collisions, dog bites, personal injury, and social security disability. Her desire to help the injured has led her to a fulfilling career in working in firms that assist the underdog. As a guiding principle, Marlo applies the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 to all things in her life and the lives of others. Her main concern is that her clients have excellent client service and never settle for anything less than the best. As a zealous client advocate, Marlo prepares extensively for her cases, both in the office and at home, to ensure the best possible outcome for her clients. As the Cotton Law Firm motto says, “We’re No Softies”. She has recently added court appointed DSS cases to her areas of practices.
Practice Areas Include
Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Estate Planning
- North Carolina State Bar
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District and Middle District of North Carolina
- Norman A. Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, North Carolina
- B.A., Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina
- As an undergraduate, Marlo earned a spot on the Dean’s List for all eight semesters and was a Presidential Scholar.
- As an undergraduate, Marlo was also a summer intern for Congressman Mike McIntyre.
As a student in law school, she participated in the Client Counseling Competition, Intramural Moot Court Competition, Delta Theta Phi Secretary, Campbell Law Democrats, Christian Legal Society, Women in
Law Secretary, American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and North Carolina Association of Trial Lawyers.
Marlo recently lost her beloved husband, Patrick, in January 2023. He had been a nurse for approximately 20 years and had recently received his Masters of Science in Nursing in December 2022 from Francis Marion University to be a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Marlo has a bonus son, Hunter, who is an avid fisherman, volunteer fireman, and huge NC State Fan. She also has a shihpoo furbaby, Coal, who is extremely spoiled.
Marlo loves to travel anywhere from the mountains to the coast of the great state of North Carolina and enjoys cruising in the Caribbean. She is a huge fans of 80s and 90s music. Marlo attends West Lumberton Baptist Church of Lumberton, NC.
Cumberland County Bar Association • North Carolina State Bar • National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR)
Attorneys Of Counsel
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.
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.