Attorneys & Staff


Joshua D. Hansen

After working for a real estate firm in Raleigh, Josh founded Hansen Law Firm in 2004. Josh’s practice is focused on Eminent Domain and he has represented property owners from the mountains to the coast in condemnation cases involving highway development; power line, natural gas, and sewer and water easements; municipal redevelopment, and other government and private entity takings. In addition to his statewide eminent domain practice, Josh also represents clients in environmental and real estate litigation, as well as cases involving serious and catastrophic personal injury and toxic torts.

Josh graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelors degree in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Chemistry. After working as an environmental research scientist on the North Carolina coast, he attended law school at Tulane University where he graduated with a certificate in Environmental Law.

Josh is a frequent speaker on condemnation law and has presented several Continuing Legal Education courses to other lawyers who practice eminent domain law in North Carolina. He has had an article published in Trial Briefs magazine, a publication of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. He has also served in several capacities for the NCAJ’s Eminent Domain section, including as its Chair.

When not in the office or on the road meeting with Clients, Josh enjoys spending time with his family. He is also an avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, camping, and an occasional round of golf.

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Jessica O. Wilkie

Jessica joined the firm in 2006 and practices eminent domain law, civil litigation, and is the head of the firm’s real estate department. She became a partner in 2016.

Jessica has presented at multiple Continuing Legal Education events, and has served as Chair, Vice Chair, and Education Chair of the Eminent Domain section of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ).  She recently had an article published in NCAJ’s journal Trial Briefs, entitled “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?: Recent Changes in Eminent Domain Laws Help Some Property Owners While Hurting Others.”

Born in South Carolina, Jessica grew up in the small town of Six Mile, nestled near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University, where she also minored in Spanish. After teaching in the biology department at Duke for a year, she headed down Tobacco Road to attend law school at the University of North Carolina. While at UNC, she was named Pro Bono Student of the Year in 2006 for her extensive pro bono involvement. Jessica also teaches law courses in emergency management and paralegal technologies at Durham Technical Community College.

Jessica lives in Hillsborough with her husband, an ardent UNC fan, making for spirited and lively commentary whenever Duke plays UNC (of course she always pulls for Duke!). They welcomed a son in 2013 and a daughter in 2016. Jessica enjoys gardening, camping and hiking in her spare time, and is also a wine aficionado.

Jessica is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the North Carolina Bar Association.

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Caroline L. Fissinger

Caroline was a welcome addition to the firm in 2016 and compliments our team as a condemnation paralegal with over 25 years in real estate litigation.  She has quickly grown to be an integral part of the firm with her diverse legal, banking, and environmental development experience.

Caroline graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics.  Relocated to North Carolina by Bank of America, she fell in love with the area and decided to stay rather than be relocated once again. She is a strong advocate for client’s property rights starting from early planning and negotiations to preparing complex land use cases to a jury.

Caroline has five children ranging in age from a doctor to an elementary school student and enjoys many outdoor family activities including boating, wakeboarding and spending weekends living on Lake Gaston.


T. Cooper Howell

Cooper graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992 with a degree in Business Administration. After working for several years in information technology, he entered Wake Forest University’s joint MBA and law program. Upon graduation in 1998, Cooper worked in Greensboro and Charlotte in the areas of tax law and mergers and acquisitions. In 2000, Cooper joined his father in the private practice of law with a concentration in eminent domain law.

Cooper’s sole emphasis in the eminent domain arena has been in representing landowners against the condemning authorities. He has litigated numerous eminent domain cases in various counties around the state. In 2003 Cooper also started providing legal services to the real estate practice of the Law Offices of Scott D. Beasley, P.A.. Cooper’s business background as well as his current real estate endeavors provide a unique advantage in the eminent domain setting.

Cooper is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the North Carolina Bar Association

W. Brian Howell

Brian Howell was admitted to practice law in 1969 after graduating from The University of North Carolina School of Law. Prior to the law, Brian studied Civil Engineering at North Carolina State University (BSCE, 1966).

For nearly 40 years, Brian has engaged in a varied trial practice. From 1972 through 1974, Mr. Howell served as Associate General Counsel for a large North Carolina regulated utility. While there, he was engaged in a wide variety of complex commercial and regulatory matters, including construction, regulatory, administrative, and environmental issues. Brian returned to private practice in 1975, where he focused on litigation of complex land use issues, including “right to take ” issues in condemnation cases.

Since then, he has litigated numerous land use cases in a number of counties around the state as well as diverse property rights issues including zoning, annexation, and regulatory matters. Although he has represented condemning authorities in limited instances, his primary emphasis has been representation on behalf of landowners against the condemning authorities.

Mr. Howell’s civil engineering background provides a unique understanding to condemnation cases, allowing for better communication of the issues at play.