In 1895, twenty-seven year old lawyer Victor Silas Bryant rode on horseback into the burgeoning city of Durham on the old road from Roxboro, past the sprawling plantations and the small farms that supplied Durham's new and great factories with tobacco to be processed and then distributed all over the world.
Mr. Bryant’s former law partner, Judge Robert Watson Winston, described Mr. Bryant’s Durham beginnings: “This briefless young barrister, without backing or pull had ventured to come to Durham, an industrial center where only the rich were rich and all others were poor, and where the rich were amply supplied with family lawyers.” When he died in 1920, newspapers across North Carolina eulogized Mr. Bryant as one of the state’s preeminent lawyers.
Mr. Bryant earned his recognition through hard work, passion, and integrity. In building his law practice, Mr. Bryant established valued principles. Those principles are best captured by Judge P.C. Graham’s remarks at Mr. Bryant’s memorial service: “A client’s cause committed to his care always received the most careful attention, and he was at all times ready, able and willing to expend his heartiest efforts in his client’s behalf.”
Victor Silas Bryant was born in Mecklenburg County in 1867. He graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina in 1890. He studied law at UNC and obtained his law license in 1891. Mr. Bryant initially practiced law in Roxboro. From 1895 to 1920 he was a principal in law partnerships in Durham, and argued cases in all the state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Bryant also believed in public service. He served as Durham City Attorney for a number of years, and drafted a new Durham city charter in 1899. At different times in his career, he was elected to the North Carolina legislature, where he championed women’s suffrage and public education. Education was a particular interest: Mr. Bryant also served on the Durham school board and as a UNC Trustee.
Mr. Bryant’s son, Victor S. Bryant, Sr. and grandson, Victor S. Bryant, Jr., adhered to Mr. Bryant’s principles in their law practices — and those principles still guide our law firm today. Victor S. Bryant, Sr. (1898 — 1980) shared his father’s passions for law and education. After earning UNC undergraduate and law degrees and passing the bar in 1919, Bryant, Sr. joined his father’s Durham law firm. Like his father, he engaged in a vigorous trial practice and in substantial public service. He served five terms in the legislature and served on the UNC Board of Trustees and UNC Board of Governors.
Bryant, Sr. started the current Bryant firm in 1924. His son, Victor S. Bryant, Jr. (1924 — 2001), joined the firm after earning his undergraduate and law degrees from UNC. Like his father and grandfather, Bryant, Jr. tried cases throughout North Carolina and was recognized as one of the state’s preeminent lawyers.
Today, our firm is guided by the Bryants’ legacy, their standards, and their commitment to excellence in the practice of law. Every day, we work to emulate Victor Bryant as he was described by Judge Graham : “Soon after he began the practice of law, he acquired the reputation, which continued throughout his life, as an able lawyer, careful and painstaking in the preparation of his cases, a careful draftsman of a pleading, a splendid examiner and cross examiner of a witness, and a most able, forceful and brilliant speaker before a jury.” And by Judge Winston: “At the bar he at once took high rank as an indefatigable worker, a diligent and resourceful lawyer, an opponent worthy of any man’s steel.”
Our lawyers are proud to maintain the Bryant reputation.