Erica Wilson

Episode 003

Erica Wilson

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Show Notes

Being interested in law from a young age, Erica Wilson describes her love for the gamesmanship and uniqueness of trial attorney work. Starting as a teacher while in law school, she fostered her legal passions by taking every opportunity to get into the courtroom and observe. Utilizing referrals and resources, she built her client portfolio and gathered enough business over the course of a summer break to propel her career as a trial lawyer. 

Erica is committed to equity and justice and highlights key cases that stand out to her regarding racial discrimination and prejudice. Her passion for education and advocacy has positioned her as a respected figure in both the legal world and the community, where her numerous awards, accolades, and speaking engagements continue to inspire those she encounters. For her “Closing Argument,” Erica emphasizes the importance of measuring a win in the context of your client’s needs, rather than just a simple verdict, to ensure that their goals are prioritized and centralized in your work.


1:13 – Why did you want to become a trial lawyer?
6:21 – What makes you unique?
7:24 – A case that matters.
11:45 – Erica’s “Closing Argument.”


  • Don’t be afraid to fight. Take advantage of the gamesmanship of the courtroom to meet your client’s needs.
  • Although much time has passed, a lot of prejudices still remain prevalent. It’s important to acknowledge this fact and to know that the right representation and legal approaches can help bring justice to fruition.
  • Think about how to measure a ‘win.’ It’s not always straightforward, and sometimes has to do with what you overcome to get to a certain personal goal, rather than the end result alone.

Discover More

International Law Group of Human and Civil Rights Attorneys, P.C. (aka Fairness Firm)
Fairness Firm on Instagram
Erica’s Biography
Erica on LinkedIn


[Theme Song Plays]

Erica Wilson: I enjoy the gamesmanship of trial. It just reminded me of my experiences as a child with my father. A lot of attorneys typically lean towards more so settlement than litigation. And I’m a litigator. I like to fight. I love to be in court.

Narrator: Welcome to Celebrating Justice presented by the Trial Lawyers Journal and CloudLex, the next-gen legal cloud platform built exclusively for personal injury law. Get inspired by the nation’s top trial lawyers and share in the stories that shape our pursuit of justice. Follow the podcast and join our community at Now here’s your host, editor of TLJ and VP of marketing at CloudLex, Chad Sands. 

Chad Sands: Welcome back, friends, to celebrating justice. In this episode, we’re thrilled to introduce Erica Wilson Esq., the managing attorney and visionary force behind the International Law Group of Human and Civil Rights Attorneys. You can also call them the Fairness Firm. To learn more about her journey and insights, I asked her, why did you want to become a trial lawyer? 

Erica Wilson: I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, and I know that’s probably one of the most canned responses that you’ll get from lawyers. But in my decision to be a trial lawyer, I always knew even throughout law school that I did not want to be an attorney who is not in court and not in trial. I enjoy the game. It’s almost like a gamesmanship. I enjoy the gamesmanship of trial. I enjoy being able to tell a story, create a visual for either the jury or a judge if it’s a bench trial. And these are things that you can only do if you’re a trial attorney. You can always do it through the written word. I love a good brief. I love to kind of sit down and articulate my arguments in writing. But there is nothing that compares to the gamesmanship of being in trial. 

Chad Sands: And so how did you first get into the courtroom?

Erica Wilson: I kind of got thrusted just immediately. So just a little bit of a backstory, being a lawyer is a second career for me. I was actually a teacher and I taught while I was in law school. And I even taught for a whole year even after I practiced the bar. And even in my teachings, while I was teaching, I still knew that I wanted to still have some courtroom experience. So I was still taking cases while I was teaching. So I was technically taking off from work and just trying to go and get into the courtroom so I could get some experience because these are things that law school kind of prepares you for, but they don’t really, right? They give you all these simulated experiences, but there’s nothing that compares to the real thing. So what I would do is I would take off from work sometimes or days where we didn’t have school, and I would go, just kind of sit in court and observe, kind of, the culture, to see what the standard protocols are, some of the mannerisms of attorneys, and just absorb that. And then I eventually just started taking cases here and there. I had some referrals from family and friends. And so I would take cases just so I could get before a judge to get my feet wet before I decided to transition completely out of teaching and into practicing law full time. 

Chad Sands: So how did that transition play out? 

Erica Wilson: When school was over for that school year, I took the entire summer. I said, if I can generate enough business by the time school starts, I will quit teaching. And I did. I mean, I hustle. I hit the streets hard. And I had referrals. I tried to utilize all of my resources to build up, you know, my book of business in terms of clients, such that literally the first day of school that started, I went in and I gave my resignation. And I still taught because I was a special education teacher and they were short staffed. So I still even taught for like a month and a half even after I gave my resignation just, you know, until they could find someone. So, but I did like it was just I took the entire summer to see if I could make it. You know, it’s kind of a make or break situation. And I was thrusted into the vortex of litigation literally over the course of the summer. 

Chad Sands: But you said you always wanted to be a lawyer.

Erica Wilson: So, you know, I believe that people, even as children, you know, you can plant seeds in someone. I was six years old and at my church, they had this policy that even at that young age, I felt was arbitrary. All of my cousins and aunts and everybody got to sing in the choir or they got to be an usher. But you couldn’t do these things in my church unless you were a member and you could not get baptized to become a member until you were seven. And that just did not sit right with my spirit. I didn’t understand it. So I approached my pastor, and I convinced him and questioned him behind this policy that I felt at six years old was arbitrary. And I listened to his response and I provided and I shielded my retort to him, such that I was able to convince him to baptize me at six years old instead of seven. And he, after we were done with that conversation, he kind of made a comment. He said, “You should be a lawyer.” And it kind of just planted the seed in me. And then this is, you know, around the time The Cosby Show came out. And so, you know, you got to see for the first time a black female attorney on TV and everybody loved The Cosby Show and kind of what it represented. And I said, Hey, I kind of want to be like Claire Huxtable. And my preacher said that, you know, I should be a lawyer. And it kind of just, the seed was planted from there. 

Chad Sands: I forgot that Claire Huxtable was a lawyer. It’s been a while since I’ve seen The Cosby Show. 

Erica Wilson: I know we don’t want to tell our age with that, but yeah, it hadn’t been that long. But yeah. 

Chad Sands: Yeah, it’s dated now. Personal injury is a very competitive space. How do you separate yourself or what do you think makes you unique as a trial lawyer that you bring into the courtroom? 

Erica Wilson: You know, it is a very competitive space. And I think what separates me from a lot of attorneys, I’m not afraid to fight. And I’m not big on necessarily settling. And I’m not saying settling is always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s appropriate and it’s needed and that will meet the needs of the client. But I’m not one of those ones who’s just, your preemptive response is to settle. I actually, like I said, I enjoy the gamesmanship of being in court. So I welcome and I encourage any opposing counsel who wants to take the matter to litigation to do so. And not a lot of attorneys will do that. A lot of attorneys, particularly in the personal injury space, typically lean towards more so settlement than litigation. And I’m a litigator. I like to fight. I love to be in court.

Chad Sands: Is there any case you could maybe share or tell us about? 

Erica Wilson: One case I’ll tell you that definitely has an impact on me. And it was kind of personal to me when I saw it. If you recall back in August of last year, two Black truckers by the name of Hector Madera and Damon Whitfield, two Black truck drivers walked into a Denny’s and asked for service. And they were, you know, discriminated against and escorted out by the police as if they were common criminals. The reason why that spoke to me in many ways is because I myself, my father was a truck driver and my granddad was a truck driver as well, but my dad did long distance. And I remember over the summers, you know, I would go in the truck with him on the road. And so, it was fun for me. It was an adventure and we basically lived out of the truck and at truck stops, and something similar to the truck stop where this particular Denny’s was. So it just bothered me in a way. These two men were just working and trying to live and get something to eat so that way they could, you know, get back on the road. A lot of people don’t understand the toll that it takes on you being on the road like that, being away, separated from your family, having to kind of live pillar to post and living out of a small cabin on the truck. And all they wanted to do was go in and get something to eat. And so to experience that was very disheartening because again, I grew up on the road and I know that it has, you know, it’s perks to it too. And I was a kid, you know, living out of the truck and going to the truck stops. For me, it was a bunch of junk food, so that was a good experience. But when you’re grown, like these two men were, they wanted to go in and be able to just get a meal and nourish themselves. And so for them to have to experience this in 2023, where we should be way more involved than what we are, it really just spoke to me in a way. And it just reminded me of my experiences as a child with my father who did long distance. My grandfather did local, he pulled logs. But still, it’s still the culture of truck driving. And I understood that because I lived it. I grew up that way. 

Chad Sands: You know, obviously what your dad experienced in his time, very different. But thinking about him as a truck driver back then on the roads and maybe what he had to encounter or deal with. 

Erica Wilson: I was cognizant even back then that there were certain towns and certain places that we could not stop, even though, you know, I wanted to. And he didn’t necessarily, given my young age, explain to me in too much detail as to why, but I understood generally. That’s why I was so disheartened that we were in 2023 and now, you know essentially my clients are telling me the same thing. Even today, they are having to be cognizant of where they’re able to stop and eat before fear of experiencing this again, and it’s just sad really. 

Chad Sands: Yeah, absolutely and I mean I was reading a little bit behind it, but how the restaurant has handled this in the past and that this isn’t kind of the first time this has happened. 

Erica Wilson: Oh, absolutely. Denny’s has a long sorted history with this type of discrimination. And so they are no stranger to these particular allegations, which makes it even more disheartening that they have essentially had noticed that this is a systemic problem within their organization and have not taken any meaningful steps to cure it. 

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Now here is this episode’s closing argument.

Erica Wilson: I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned, I learned pretty early on in my practice. And this is a story that I tell clients or actually potential clients when they ask me, because they do ask, people ask, do you always win? And to that, I respond, how do you measure a win? Because a win is not always as black and white as people would like to think it is in the law. And I learned that lesson my first year of practice. I’m a solo practitioner. And at that particular time, I had just started practicing. I only had one secretary at the time and she was part-time for me. And I, cause we, I did overhead sharing and office sharing with my best friend that I went to law school with. So I had half a person, not even a full time staffer on my side. And I was going up against probably one of the best family law attorneys in the state of Georgia, definitely in the city of Atlanta. He’s one of the authorities on all things family law. I was very much intimidated, almost intimidated to the point to where I did not want to take the case. But I learned so much. And so I ultimately lost. So if you were observing, that particular case and that trial, I lost. This was a child support case. Strictly based on child support, the couple had divorced. My client, I represented the ex-husband. He had remarried. His ex-wife pursued an increase in child support. And I explained to my client that even in my closing arguments, I’m probably going to say some things about you that you are not going to like. I basically, even though he had multiple degrees, one of which was a doctorate, I basically made it seem as though he could not walk and chew gum. And that was the reason for cross contamination between what should have been his business funds and personal funds and things that should have been business expenses and things that should have been characterized as personal expenses. Ultimately, instead of the $500,000 imputation that the ex-wife was asking for, the court imputed his income at $60,000. So on paper, we lost, but for my client, we won because there is a big difference between $60,000 and $500,000. But we technically lost, but for my client, that was a huge win. And so my response is when people say, well, do you win or how often do you win? I then in turn asked them, how do you measure win? What is your goal and what is important to you? Because I can likely still get that for you even though technically you may not be deemed the victor. But so long as you’re able to get what it is that you ultimately, your ultimate objective, if that is met, then we won.

Chad Sands: That was trial lawyer Erica Wilson with the International Law Group of Human and Civil Rights Attorneys. Thanks for sharing your stories, Erica. Visit her website, All right, I’m Chad Sands. I’m out of here. Thanks for listening. See you next time. 

Narrator: You’ve been listening to Celebrating Justice presented by CloudLex and the Trial Lawyers Journal. Remember, the stories don’t end here. Visit to become part of our community and keep the conversation going. And for a deeper dive into the tools that empower personal injury law firms, visit to learn more.