J. Carin Burford

Shareholder || Birmingham

Ms. Burford represents management in employment-related litigation concerning claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, unemployment compensation, wage and hour, and workers’ compensation. Ms. Burford also regularly provides training on issues such as employee discipline, harassment and workplace violence prevention, litigation avoidance, and workplace policies and procedures.

Along with her time representing employers, Ms. Burford is a Hearing Officer for the Personnel Board of Jefferson County. In this role, she serves as a quasi-arbitrator hearing cases and recommending action with respect to employee disciplinary appeals for the largest county employer in Alabama.

In addition to her time spent as a frequent lecturer to industry groups, human resources professionals, and safety personnel, Ms. Burford also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alabama School of Law where she has taught classes in both Workplace Law and Workers’ Compensation since 2007.

Outside of work, Ms. Burford is an avid whitewater kayaker currently servicing as Vice President of the Birmingham Canoe Club and teaching as a certified instructor for the American Canoe Association throughout the southeastern United States.

Learn more about J. Carin Burford
  • Ms. Burford successfully defended a large automotive supplier against claims brought by 436 former employees seeking damages for alleged occupational exposure. Through her development of unique strategies for defending these claims, she was able to get 320 of the original plaintiffs dismissed from the suit. After trying the first two cases, Ms. Burford was responsible, in part, for drafting significant novel legal arguments addressing issues of release, exposure, legal causation, and costs before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Both cases resulted in two published decisions in the company’s favor, the second of which has become the standard for causation in occupational disease cases in Alabama.
  • Ms. Burford successfully represented a utility company in a politically high-profile case against a municipality. The case involved an issue of first impression for courts in the Eleventh Circuit, interpreting the rights of a federally-indebted water authority to be the exclusive water supplier to consumers in its service territory. After the judge announced that she would grant Ms. Burford’s motion for summary judgment, the case was sent to mediation before a U.S. Magistrate. After three days of mediation, agreement was reached which provided the utility with relief beyond what the client sought in its Complaint or could have obtained by a judgment at trial.
  • Ms. Burford represented a large retailer providing pre-litigation advice after an employee sustained a series of work-related injuries. By developing an interactive dialogue process with respect to the claimant’s request for accommodation and procedures to follow with respect to the expiration of her extended medical leave, both which have now been applied company-wide. Because Ms. Burford had the unique combination of employment and worker’s compensation experience, she was able to provide a seamless and consistent defense of the claims brought by various counsel who represented the claimant both in state and federal court.
  • Ms. Burford represented a large government contractor in a retaliatory discharge claim after work was completed on-site and certain files became unavailable. Through depositions in the case, Ms. Burford was able to secure testimony that confirmed the Plaintiff’s layoff. Just prior to filing for summary judgment, she negotiated a settlement that was less than a third of the authority given by the company.


  • J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, 2001
  • B.S., high honors, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1997

Admittance to Practice

  • Alabama (Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Courts)
  • Georgia (Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Superior Courts)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (ABA Advisory Panel, Labor & Employment Section)
  • Alabama Bar Association (Labor & Employment, Workers’ Compensation, and Women’s Sections)
  • Birmingham Bar Association (Workers’ Compensation & Women’s Sections; Future Leaders Forum Programming Committee)
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Alabama Self-Insured Association
  • Worker’s Compensation Association of West Alabama
  • Alabama Worker’s Compensation Organization


  • Alabama Self-Insurer's Association Summer Conference - "Viable Alternatives for Dealing with Workplace Injuries" - Destin - August 7, 2017
  • Wiregrass Human Resource Management Association - "''Alabama’s Workers Compensation Act Under Fire?" - Dothan - July 13, 2017
  • Jo-Ann Stores - "Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder? A Guide to Return-to-Work Issues" - Opelika - May 16, 2017
  • University of Alabama School of Law - "Path to Success: Transitioning from Law Student to Lawyer" - Tuscaloosa - April 4, 2017
  • Alabama Law Weekly Webinar - "How the FMLA and ADA interact with Alabama’s Worker’s Compensation Act" - December 13, 2016
  • Alabama Law Weekly - "How the FMLA and ADA interact with Alabama’s Worker’s Compensation Act" - Birmingham - September 30, 2016
  • Alabama Law Weekly - "OSHA and Workplace Safety – Best Practices and New Guidelines for 2016" - Birmingham - September 30, 2016
  • Ultipro - "The Final Overtime Regulations: What The New Minimum Salary Requirements Mean For Employers" - Huntsville - September 15, 2016
  • Alabama Self-Insurer's Association Summer Conference - "Time Is Money – the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Regulations" - Destin - August 8, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "Guns and Weapons in the Workplace – Legal Obligations, Litigation Risks, and Policy Best Practices" - Chicago - May 6, 2016
  • Center for Competitive Management Webinar - "Guns in the Workplace – Legal Obligations, Litigation Risks, and Policy Best Practices" - December 4, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Briefing - "Workplace Accident & Injury Investigations: Management and Response" - Mobile - October 16, 2015
  • ARC of Alabama - "Workers' Compensation: Analysis of a Claim" - Montgomery - August 2015
  • Workers' Compensation Association of West Alabama - "Wild & Wacky Workers' Compensation (and Should It Apply?)" - Tuscaloosa - May 2015
  • Wiregrass Human Resource Management Association - "Tips to Curb Workplace Violence" - Dothan - March 2015
  • Alabama Self-Insurer's Association Winter Conference - "Best Practices and Ethical Considerations of Conducting Internal Investigations" - Birmingham - February 2015
  • Birmingham Bar Future Leaders Forum - "Answering the Call to Care for Our Community (Program Moderator)" - Birmingham - November 11, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "Batten Down the Hatches: Inclement Weather Preparedness" - Birmingham - November 7, 2014
  • Wiregrass Human Resource Management Association - "The Unusual World of Unemployment Law" - Dothan - October 8, 2014
  • Alabama Self-Insurer's Association Summer Conference - "OMG: He Has a Gun - Alabama's Guns in the Parking Lot Law" - Destin - August 11, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies - "Guns in the Workplace - Managing Risky Behavior without Creating Liability" - Las Vegas - May 9, 2014
  • University of Alabama School of Law Labor and Employment Law Society - "Working in Employment Law" - Tuscaloosa - April 9, 2014
  • Alabama Self-Insurer's Association Winter Conference - "Worker's Compensation is Out of the Box - Family Medical Leave and Worker's Compensation" - Birmingham - January 17, 2014
  • Jo-Ann Stores Corporate Headquarters - "Dealing with Difficult Employees" - Hudson - October 17, 2013
  • Jo-Ann Stores Corporate Headquarters - "Handling Wage Garnishments Effectively" - Hudson - October 17, 2013
  • Worker's Compensation Association of West Alabama Spring Conference - "60 Worker's Compensation Questions in 60 Minutes" - Tuscaloosa - February 26, 2013
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "Avoiding Costly Legal Implications in Employee Discipline and Dismissal" - Birmingham - November 9, 2012
  • University of Alabama School of Law First Year Orientation - "Professionalism And Ethics" - Tuscaloosa - August 15, 2012
  • Alabama Self Insurer's Association Summer Conference - "Avoiding Costly Legal Implications In Employee Discipline and Dismissal" - Destin - August 14, 2012
  • Birmingham Bar Association Worker’s Compensation Section Judges CLE Seminar - "Three P’s of Worker’s Compensation – Pain, Peer Review, and Publix" - Birmingham - November 10, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "Return to Work and the Interactive Process: The ADA, Workers' Comp, USERRA, and FMLA" - Birmingham - November 4, 2011
  • Birmingham Bar Association Women’s Section - "Leadership Development" - Birmingham - October 18, 2011
  • Birmingham Bar Association Future Leader Task Force - "Professionalism in the Courts (moderator)" - Birmingham - October 11, 2011
  • University of Alabama School of Law First Year Orientation - "Professionalism in the Law" - Tuscaloosa - August 17, 2011
  • Society of Human Resources Management - East Alabama Chapter - "Return to Work & The Interactive Process – The ADA and Worker’s Compensation" - Auburn - August 10, 2011
  • Alabama Self-Insured Association’s Winter Workshop - "Getting The Most Out Of Medical Records" - Birmingham - January 20, 2011
  • Alabama State Bar Worker’s Compensation Section’s Annual CLE - "Federal Legislative Impacts on Worker’s Compensation Claims (What You Need To Know About The Case You Are Not Filing Or Defending)" - Birmingham - November 5, 2010
  • Society of Human Resource Management – Cullman Chapter - "Federal Legislative Interaction with Worker’s Compensation" - Cullman - September 14, 2010
  • Alabama Self Insurer’s Association Summer Conference - "Ethical Dilemmas in Worker’s Compensation" - Destin - August 17, 2010
  • University of Alabama School of Law First Year Orientation - "Round-Table on Ethics and Professionalism for Lawyers" - Tuscaloosa - August 13, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Breakfast Briefing - "LILLY, GINA, and ADA: The three new leading ladies in employment law" - Birmingham - March 25, 2010
  • Worker’s Compensation Association of West Alabama - "Federal Impacts on Worker’s Compensation Law" - Tuscaloosa - January 26, 2010
  • May 2014 - HR Alabama - "'Lightening' Your Work Load by Understanding Light Duty"
  • December 2011 - Alabama Self Insurer's Association Newsletter - "Referring of Referrals"
  • November 2011 - Birmingham Bar Association Worker’s Compensation Section Judges CLE Paper - "Three P’s of Worker’s Compensation – Pain, Peer Review, and Publix"
  • November 2010 - Alabama State Bar CLE Paper - "Federal Legislative Impacts on Worker’s Compensation Claims (What You Need To Know About The Case You Are Not Filing Or Defending)"
  • September 2010 - Alabama Self Insurer’s Association Newsletter - "Comp Talk"
  • August 2010 - Alabama Self Insurer’s Association Summer Conference Paper - "Ethical Dilemmas in Worker’s Compensation"
  • July 11, 2018 - Engineering News-Record - "Can Workers With Sun-Related Skin Issues File Workers Compensation Claims?"
  • June 13, 2018 - Business Insurance - "Claim denials, not report lag, lead to rising comp costs"
  • May 2, 2018 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Birmingham's Legal Hotspots: Employment and labor law includes wide range of issues"
  • May 1, 2018 - Business Insurance - "Trust, understanding help cut injury costs"
  • May 1, 2018 - Business Insurance - "Gun safety spreads to schools"
  • October 19, 2017 - SHRM Online - "How to Respond to Employees Who Want to Bring Guns to Work"
  • May 11, 2017 - Birmingham Business Journal - "Alabama workers’ comp ruling could have major employer impact"
  • April 3, 2017 - Business Insurance - "Active workplaces present trade-off between worker health and safety"
  • December 7, 2016 - Business Insurance Magazine - "Workplace tragedies create new perspective on comp"
  • March 11, 2016 - Associated Press - "This is the workplace that made guns as mandatory as computers"
  • October 23, 2014 - SHRM.org - "HR at Center of Conflict over Guns in the Workplace"
  • July 25, 2014 - Birmingham Business Journal - "What is Your Tip or Best Practice to Keep Employees Motivated?"

Best Lawyers Award Badge

  • Best Lawyers in America (2016-present)
  • AV Rated By Martindale-Hubbell
  • B-Metro Magazine – Top 150 Female Attorneys in Birmingham (2015)
  • Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers (Workers Compensation) (2013 & 2014)
  • Alabama Super Lawyer – Rising Star (2012, 2013 & 2014)
  • Alpha Delta Pi – 2014 District Leadership Award (special recognition for pro bono legal and public relations advice)
  • Alabama State Bar’s Future Leaders Class VI (2010)
  • Birmingham Bar’s Future Leaders Forum Class I (2009)
  • Birmingham Georgia Tech Club – 2008 Alumni of the Year
  • Georgetown National White Collar Crime Invitational – 2001 National Runner-up, Best Brief
  • J. Melvin England Mock Trial Competition – 2000 Winner
  • Order of Barristers
  • Joseph Henry Lumpkin Inn of Court
  • J. Ralph Beiard Closing Argument Competition – 1999 Semi-finalist

Insights by J. Carin Burford