Hillary Woodard joined Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law in June 2019 after honing her litigation skills for nearly two years handling criminal cases as a Randolph County assistant district attorney.
A native of South Carolina, Woodard initially envisioned a career as a professional dancer. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in General and Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of South Carolina in 2013. By the end of her undergraduate years, however, she knew that she wanted to follow a different career path and pursued her interest in law.
She enrolled at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, where she spent a very active three years. In addition to her legal studies, Woodard was a member of the Bankruptcy Moot Court team, co-director of the school’s Peer Mentor Program, and member of the Student Bar Association, serving on its executive board.
She interned at the Wake County Attorney’s office and the Wake County District Attorney’s office and had an externship at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Raleigh.
After receiving her J.D. in 2016, Woodard joined the Randolph County District Attorney’s office, where she handled a broad spectrum of criminal cases in an often-hectic environment. She learned how to juggle multiple tasks and think on her feet.
“I liked trying the cases,” Woodard says, “and I also liked not knowing what I was going to get each day. I liked the variety.”
At Hardison & Cochran, Woodard is concentrating her practice on workers’ compensation cases. She will serve as an advocate for injured workers who are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
Most businesses in North Carolina are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers injured on the job. Unfortunately, employers and their workers’ compensation administrators often deny benefits to injured workers with valid claims.
While it’s a different area of law than the one in which Woodard worked as an assistant D.A., the litigation skills that she developed as a prosecutor will be invaluable in serving as an advocate for injured workers, presenting cases to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which hears workers’ compensation claims and appeals.
In her spare time, Cochran continues to follow her passion for dancing—she’s done ballet dance since age 5—and also keeps fit as a runner.