Dan J. McLamb, Essex Richards PA, Charlotte

I grew up in Johnston County, and most of my relatives were farmers. Anyone who has crawled down a tobacco row at 6 a.m. with gummy leaves hitting you in the face knows that it provides an enormous incentive to work hard in school in order to have an opportunity to do easier work. I came to appreciate many years later that the keys to successful tobacco farming were not dissimilar to the fundamentals of a successful trial practice. There is no substitute for hard work. Despite the best preparation, unexpected events can and do occur. An ability to adjust the game plan is essential, as is the ability to accept that some events are beyond your control. Finally, success is depending on your loyalty to the team working with you and the team’s loyalty to you.

Vita: Born Feb. 20, 1949, in Benson; bachelor’s and law degrees from UNC Chapel Hill; wife and four sons. Why he chose this field: At first, I worked all types of cases. My involvement in the defense of professional-liability cases began when my law partner Joe Yates asked me to help with a case defending a physician. One case led to another, and by the mid-’80s, the majority of my practice was defending medical-liability cases against doctors and hospitals. The same pattern was true of my legal-malpractice work. Memorable case: I remember my first jury trial like it was yesterday. What he’d be if not a lawyer: Backup singer for James Taylor. Passion: Attending Carolina basketball games with all of my boys. Heroes: Howard Manning and Charlie Fulton, my first senior partners and mentors. Favorite book: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Don’t ask him to: Go to a shopping mall.