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Brian McMillan brings experience and insight from more than 10 years in manufacturing, distribution and sales and more than 26 years practicing law at Brooks Pierce to bear on his counsel to individuals and businesses. His practice focuses on a variety of litigation and transactional matters.
Brian’s business and practical background gives him a deep understanding of clients’ goals, operations and legal challenges. His business and corporate practice includes negotiating and drafting distribution agreements, franchise agreements, lease agreements (on behalf of both lessors and lessees), employment agreements, and purchase/sales contracts. He also has extensive experience negotiating and drafting all manner of business contracts and agreements.
"My real-world experience in business impacts my understanding of and my perspective on the legal problems that the Firm's clients face and helps me identify sustainable, practical, cost-effective solutions for our clients."
Brian advocates for clients in a variety of business disputes, both before litigation commences and during litigation, including breach of contract, breach of warranty, and property tax disputes. He also has experience litigating will caveats and disputes among owners of closely-held entities.
With more than ten years of experience in business management and operations, Brian understands the Firm's clients and their industries and regularly provides advice on day-to-day business matters and their legal implications, in effect serving as general counsel to those clients.
Brian represents land owners whose land has been taken or is threatened with taking by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and/or local municipalities through the exercise of their power of eminent domain (condemnation). The focus of Brian’s condemnation practice is securing fair and adequate compensation for clients for the land that the government wants to take or has taken. In that regard, in the last 18 years he has negotiated numerous settlements, including six- and seven-figure dollar amounts, and has taken several condemnation cases to trial. Recently, he and his Brooks Pierce partners won a jury award of $6.3 million for a client from whom the NCDOT had taken a portion of the client’s property for a highway. The NCDOT’s evidence at trial in that case had been that the property owner was entitled to damages of less than $1.5 million. Brian also negotiates with condemning authorities prior to condemnation regarding the impact of public projects on land owned by clients. In some cases, those negotiations include advocating on the client’s behalf for road designs or routes that bypass their land.
Honors & Recognitions
Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law (2021-2023)
University of California at Los Angeles Law School, J.D., 1996, Phi Alpha Delta; Roscoe Pound Moot Court Award—Best Advocate; Moot Court Honors Board
University of Denver, B.S., 1982, Beta Gamma Sigma; Mu Kappa Tau (national marketing honorary society); MKT Outstanding Jr. & Sr. Awards
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.19.2021
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.20.2020
- Media Mention03.11.2019
- Media MentionNorth Carolina Lawyers Weekly , 01.25.2019
- Media MentionNorth Carolina Lawyers Weekly, 10.24.2017
- Press Release04.03.2008
- Client Alert10.13.2012
Professional & Civic
Professional & Civic Activities
Member, North Carolina Bar Association (1997-present)
Member, American Bar Association (1997-present)
Board of Directors, Presbyterian Counseling Center (2019-present)
Coach, Grimsley High School Moot Court Team (1998-present)
I earned a business degree in college and spent more than 10 years in the business world before returning to law school. I was the third-oldest person in my law school class, which gave me a unique perspective on the law school experience. During my business career, which I spent in manufacturing, sales and distribution, I lived and worked in the United States, Italy, Thailand and Denmark. I have traveled all over the world, for business and for pleasure. I believe that two of my strengths are my judgment—on legal matters and on business matters—and my patience. When meeting new people in a social setting and talking with them for a while before telling them what I do for a living, I often hear, “You don’t seem like a typical lawyer.” I take that as a compliment. I became an attorney because my de facto mindset is, “What is the problem, and how can it be avoided or favorably resolved?” I think of the practice of law as primarily an exercise in avoiding problems, when possible, and solving them, when they inevitably occur.