Benjamin Winikoff, NEXT Leadership Class of 2023
Ben Winikoff is one of the 21 members of the NCAJ NEXT Leadership Program class of 2023. The program, which graduated its first class in 2022, identifies the state’s emerging trial lawyer leaders.
Lives in: Winston-Salem
Law degree from: Wake Forest University School of Law
Works as: Partner at Elliot Morgan Parsonage, PLLC
Legal Association Involvement: NCAJ Employment Law Section, Workers’ Compensation Section and Auto Torts & Premises Liability Section, Employment Law PAC Chair; N.C. Bar Association Employment Law and Workers’ Compensation sections, NCBA Leadership Academy Class of 2018, NCBA 4ALL Committee; Forsyth County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2022 president
Why NCAJ NEXT?
I want to participate in the NCAJ Next program because I want to become a better leader in my community and in my firm. This past January, I made partner, and I have learned that much more goes into running a law firm than just practicing law.
In addition, I am also losing some mentors to retirement. My hope is that through the NCAJ NEXT program I can meet peers or mentors who can help guide me through my complex cases and issues.
Why is the idea of civil justice important to you?
Civil justice is important to me because too many people feel that justice is inaccessible. I frequently hear people complain that the court systems only provide justice for the rich- because they can pay their attorneys by the hour.
Civil justice is important to me to rebut that narrative. If someone breaks the law (or standard of care) they should be held accountable. If the public believes that powerful people or corporations can break the law without consequence (or with lesser consequences), then it erodes trust in our entire legal system. Civil justice is about showing your clients and the public that we all must follow the same rules and face the same consequences.
What’s your vision for the future of NCAJ?
My hope for the NCAJ is that it becomes a more effective tool in educating the public and our General Assembly on the negative impact that tort reform has had on our state. My vision is that the NCAJ plays an essential role in crafting legislation to repeal some of the harmful effects of tort reform.
In addition to the legislative goals, I hope the NCAJ continues to expand and become more inclusive in its practice areas. I would like to see a large focus on getting the different sections to get to know each other to assist with cross referrals/advice in sharing our common clients. One complaint I hear about the NCAJ is that the torts and personal injury sections have more influence and some of the other sections feel left out. I hope we can address that complaint.
Away from work …
I teach workers’ compensation law as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law and serve as a captain in the United States Army Reserves as a judge advocate. I also currently serve on the Board of Directors for MUSE Winston-Salem (formerly New Winston Museum).
I live in Winston-Salem with my wife, Holley, and two daughters. In my free time, I enjoy camping and paddleboarding.