Joshua R. Van Kampen is the founder and leader of Van Kampen Law, PC in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2018, SuperLawyers rated Josh in its “Top 100” attorney list for all of North Carolina and in its Top 25 attorney list for Charlotte. At 46, Josh is among the youngest attorneys in North Carolina to receive these recognitions. The road to the SuperLawyers Top Lists started in Chicago, Illinois where Josh worked as an associate for two nationally recognized employment law defense firms: Seyfarth Shaw and Franczek Radelet. During his six years as a defense attorney, Josh defended Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller businesses in age, race, sex, disability, sexual harassment, traditional labor, and wage and hour litigation. Josh’s defense experience also included counseling employers on litigation avoidance and sexual harassment training.
In 2004, Josh left a safe and lucrative career as a management-side attorney, to open a practice in Charlotte devoted exclusively to representing victims of discrimination, sexual harassment, unequal pay, wrongful discharge, retaliation, and wage and hour violations. It was the best decision he ever made.
Prior to forming Van Kampen Law, PC in July 2011, Josh was a partner at two of the premier, plaintiff-side employment law firms in North Carolina: Fosbinder & Van Kampen, PLLC, and Patterson Harkavy, LLP.
Josh’s Approach to Employment Law
The hallmark to Josh’s litigation approach starts with fearlessness. “We’ve had clients come to us and say that other attorneys they met were scared to take the case. We don’t get scared, we get excited.” The same goes for opposing attorneys. “My grandpa, who was a Wonder Bread delivery driver, always told me that I could be as smart or successful as anyone else if I put the work in. It sounds cliche, but I take that confidence into every single interaction and case. You’re not going to win or be the best lawyer in the room if you don’t believe in yourself.”
Josh’s approach to employment disputes also, at least initially, emphasizes diplomacy and mutual interests with potential defendants. Some lawyers default to banging tables and barking at their opponents—Josh is not one of them.
“We respond to employer stonewalling or gamesmanship by being aggressive in the complaints, briefs, and motions we file in court. That’s where it counts.” In his nearly twenty years practicing law in Charlotte, Josh has established professional working relationships with most of the area’s employment law defense attorneys, which can facilitate early settlement. “If I can be friends with opposing counsel, or at least friendly after a case, I like to do that. It makes my job much more enjoyable.” Many of the firm’s clients are referred by defense attorneys against whom Josh has litigated.
Josh often does more than zealously advocate for his clients—he enjoys taking extra time getting to know them. “I’m always meeting amazing people that happen to be caught in dire straits. I try to be more than their legal counselor, and by doing that I’m a more passionate advocate.”
When Josh is not at work, he loves playing volleyball, fly fishing, and spending time with his three children, Zach, Gaige, and Kennedy, and his Belgian Malinois, Vic.
Business NC’s Legal Elite
2011 – 2012 and 2014 – 2022
Super Lawyers 2012 – 2022
Super Lawyers Rising Star 2009 – 2011
Best Lawyers 2015 – 2022
Scholarly Lectures and Writings
“Changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” North Carolina Advocates for Justice Annual Employment Law Program, Cary, N.C, February 3, 2017
“Changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” North Carolina/ South Carolina Bar Associations Annual Labor & Employment Law Program, Asheville, N.C., October 2016
“Introduction to Federal Employment Discrimination Law,” North Carolina Bar Association, Cary, NC, February 2, 2016
“North Carolina State Law Employment Claims, The Why and How to Litigate Employment Matters in State Court,” Mecklenburg County Bar Association Annual Employment Law Program, January 11, 2013
“Mediation Strategies – Insights from a Mediator, Plaintiff Attorney and Management Attorney, North Carolina/ South Carolina Bar Associations Annual Labor & Employment Law Program, October 27, 2012
“The Art of the Deal – Getting the Most Out of Mediation,” North Carolina Advocates for Justice Annual Employment Law Program, February 2012
“Negotiations Strategy Demand Letter Through Summary Judgment: How to ‘Make’ Good Settlements Happen,” North Carolina Advocates for Justice Annual Employment Law Program, Cary, N.C, February 2011
“ADA Amendments Act: Major Changes / Major Impact,” Mecklenburg County Bar Association Employment Law Program, January 2011
“Lessons to be Learned for Employers from a Plaintiff-Side Employment Attorney,” Union County Chamber Of Commerce, 2008
Purdue University, B.A. 1993
University of Illinois College of Law, J.D. 1998, magna cum laude
Memberships and Leadership Positions
North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Employment Law Section: Past Chairman, Executive Committee Member and Ethics Chair
North Carolina Bar Association Employment Law Council Executive Committee Member (2012-2014)
Federal Bar Association – Labor and Employment Section
Law 360’s Employment Law Editorial Advisory Board
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
National Employment Lawyers Association
North Carolina Prima Facie Tort Manual, Lexis-Nexis, contributing author to Fifth (2013) and Sixth (2014) editions
“Should the ADAAA’s Disability Definition Apply to North Carolina Common Law Wrongful Discharge Claims”, by Joshua R. Van Kampen and Maggie Souders, North Carolina Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Newsletter, October 2010
“Lipstick on a Pig: North Carolina Employment Law Needs a Makeover” North Carolina Advocates for Justice Trial Briefs, June 2009
“The Fair Housing Act’s Protections of Children” GP Solo and Small Firm Lawyer, Volume 15, Number 5, October/November, 1998