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Legal Elite – Young Guns 2011

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YOUNG GUNS (BEST UNDER 40)

NEILL G. “MAC” MCBRYDE JR. Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA, Charlotte

I would probably want to live and work in Virginia. I spent four years of college there, lived there for a few years before going to law school and went on my first date with my wife there. No matter where you are in Virginia, you are never very far away from the coast or the mountains, which would provide many easy opportunities to get away from the office with family and friends. The decisions that are made in Washington affect everyone; if I worked closer to Washington, it would be very tempting to find a way to expand my practice to be a bigger part of that decision-making process.

Vita: Born Aug. 25, 1976, in Charlotte; bachelor’s from University of Virginia and law degree from Duke University; wife and two children. Specialty: Corporate. Why he chose this field: I enjoy the partnership dynamic of many corporate transactions. Once a transaction closes, the parties often must work together. This provides incentives for all parties to find creative solutions to differences that arise. What he’d be if not a lawyer: I’d work in or around sports. Memorable case: It involved the completion of Winston-Salem’s new downtown baseball stadium. There were a lot of moving parts — other investors, Minor League Baseball, local government and several banks. It was very satisfying to attend opening day for the 2010 season. Passions: Playing lousy golf and fishing. Favorite place: The Bahamas. Recent Reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I can’t turn the pages fast enough. Don’t ask him to: Sing, other than to my daughters.

Young Guns (Best Under 40)

Neill G. “Mac” McBryde Jr. Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte Shelley K. Abel Rayburn Cooper & Durham PA | Charlotte Norris A. Adams II Essex Richards PA | Charlotte Christopher J. Ayers Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh Jennifer Ball Hutchison Law Group PLLC | Raleigh Justin D. Bice James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte Laurie B. Biggs Stubbs & Perdue PA | New Bern Ashley Kamphaus Brathwaite Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP | Raleigh John D. Burns Williams Mullen | Raleigh Charles Coble Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP | Raleigh Jeffrey M. Davis Higgins Benjamin Eagles & Adams PLLC | Greensboro Tricia Morvan Derr Lincoln Derr PLLC | Charlotte Lex M. Erwin Erwin & Eleazer PA | Charlotte E. Bradley Evans Ward & Smith PA | Greenville Stephanie A. Gaston Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP | Raleigh Jeremy Godwin Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Garland Graham Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro Monica R. Guy, Bell, Davis & Pitt PA | Winston-Salem Grayson S. Hale K&L Gates LLP | Raleigh Jennifer C. Hutchens Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte J. Christopher Jackson Wood Jackson PLLC | Raleigh Jason B. James Poyner Spruill LLP | Charlotte Elizabeth H. Johnson Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh Gene A. Jones Jr. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Raleigh Mark N. Kerkhoff MKN Employment Law Solutions | Charlotte Robert D. Kidwell Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro Roberta B. King Bennett & Guthrie PLLC | Winston-Salem Irene P. King James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte C. Bailey King Jr. Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Charlotte Norman F. Klick Jr. Carruthers & Roth PA | Greensboro Tyler Brown Kline Crumpler Freedman Parker & Witt | Winston-Salem Peter B. McGuire Peter B. McGuire Attorney at Law PLLC | Asheville Daniel Merlin, Johnston Allison & Hord PA | Charlotte George Mason Oliver Oliver & Friesen PLLC | New Bern Melody C. Ray-Welborn Graebe Hanna & Welborn PLLC | Raleigh Arlene M. Reardon Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler LLP | High Point J. Neal Robbins Robbins Kreider PLLC | Winston-Salem Erik M. Rosenwood, Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte William M. Starr Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP | Charlotte Andrew W.J. Tarr Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte Craig A. Taylor Carruthers & Roth PA | Greensboro Samuel G. “Bo” Thompson Jr. Yates, McLamb & Weyher LLP | Raleigh Jason E. Toups Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP | Wilmington David E. Wagner K&L Gates LLP | Raleigh R. Michael Wells Jr. Wells Jenkins Lucas & Jenkins PLLC | Winston-Salem Courtauld McBryde Young Poyner Spruill LLP | Charlotte

Legal Elite – Tax/Estate planning

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Tax/Estate planning: W. Curtis Elliott Jr. Culp Elliott & Carpenter, Charlotte

By Arthur O. Murray

Don’t tell anyone, but Curtis Elliott actually likes the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, he sympathizes with the people who work there. “We’re part of the system, too. We owe a duty to the public to uphold the integrity of the self-assessment system.”

Elliott, 48, and his Charlotte firm, Culp, Elliott & Carpenter, specialize in tax and estate-planning law. Much of the time, his clients’ interests run squarely into the IRS’s. “We try to help clients plan their affairs to minimize their taxes as much as legally possible while trying to stay within the spirit of the Internal Revenue Code, and we counsel our clients to do the same thing.”

He believes the agency is unfairly pilloried in many quarters. That empathy with his opponents, coupled with a commitment to his clients, makes him effective in his field, he says.

Unlike many lawyers, Elliott didn’t dream early in life of going into law. He grew up in Gastonia. His father was a cotton merchant and broker, and his mother was a housewife. Elliott attended the University of South Carolina, where he walked on to the golf team, playing for two years before winning a scholarship. He majored in business and accounting, and it wasn’t until his senior year that he decided to switch gears. “I just thought, I want to go to law school.”

He did. When he graduated, though, his undergraduate experience drove his career. He wanted to move to Charlotte to be near his family, and his accounting degree caught the eye of the local office of Deloitte and Touche. He practiced tax law there for two years and met future law partner Bill Culp. In 1982, Culp drove the next change. “Bill decided to start his own law practice specializing in tax and estate planning.”

Elliott wanted to join the practice but knew he needed more training. He went to George Washington University and earned a master of law in taxation in 1984. “Having a full-time job for two years and going back to school made it a little easier. I just approached it like a job.”

He joined Culp’s firm, where he is now a senior partner. Among his clients are Gastonia-based textile maker Parkdale Mills, Charlotte-based drywall maker National Gypsum and Charlotte developer The Crosland Group.

The other hangover from his undergraduate days is golf. He is a 2-handicap, a member of Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte and a fan of traditional courses. His favorite is Pinehurst No. 2.

He also has a traditional, conservative approach to tax law. “We try to give clients an honest assessment of what they can and cannot do.” That’s not because he lacks courage. “Tax law is very complex, and we have to be careful. If an issue is in a gray area, we have to be careful to exercise a high level of integrity and judgment.” He tries to stay out of the courtroom, settling most cases before they come to trial. Others are decided within the IRS’ appeals division. But he will pursue a case further if need be.

Duke Kimbrell, chairman of Parkdale and former CEO, has watched Elliott develop over the years. “His daddy was a real good friend of mine. I’ve known him all his life.” Kimbrell says Elliott helped set up both the company’s retirement program and his personal retirement.

They still get together every few months. “I can ask him anything, whether it’s smart or dumb, and get by with it,” Kimbrell says. “He doesn’t help us just to make a dollar. I think he’d do it for nothing if we didn’t have the means.”

Legal Elite – Tax / Estate Planning 2011

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Tax / Estate Planning

MARIA M. LYNCH Lynch & Eatman LLP, Raleigh

There is nowhere else I would want to practice law or live, but when I was a much younger lawyer and had a bad day, I would tell myself I could always quit and move to Bozeman, Mont. I had never been to the West, and this idea of moving to Montana was a soothing thought — not a real desire. To avoid the fate of Sam Neill’s Russian sailor character in The Hunt for Red October, who dies regretting not having seen Montana, my husband and I vacationed in Montana, and unexpectedly, the beauty of the landscape was even greater than I had imagined. In the interest of full disclosure, I have never been to Montana in the winter.

Vita: Born Nov. 7, 1953, in Nashville, Tenn.; bachelor’s degree from University of Tennessee and law degree from UNC Chapel Hill; husband and two stepchildren. Why she chose this field: I started as a general tax and business lawyer and gravitated eventually to estate planning. What she’d be if not a lawyer: I grew up working in a small family retail business, and that’s probably what I would have done. Memorable case: I recently helped a family deal with some difficult tax and liquidity issues after the death of the father and, within a relatively short time, the death of his only child. Favorite place: Bath, N.C. Recent Reading: Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Don’t ask her to: Watch a reality-TV show.

Tax / Estate Planning

Maria M. Lynch Lynch & Eatman LLP | Raleigh Michael R. Abel Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro Jean T. Adams Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Winston-Salem Mary Kay Baynard James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte William T. Belcher Poyner Spruill LLP | Charlotte Anne N. Boyd Goodrich Corp. | Charlotte Carole W. Bruce Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro Madison E. Bullard Jr. Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP | Raleigh Stephen T. Byrd Manning, Fulton & Skinner PA | Raleigh J. Alan Campbell Kennon, Craver, Belo, Craig & McKee PLLC | Raleigh Jean Gordon Carter Hunton & Williams LLP | Raleigh Lynn F. Chandler Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Charlotte Andrea C. Chomakos Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Charlotte Kenneth S. Coe Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Michael A. Colombo Colombo, Kitchin, Dunn, Ball & Porter, LLP | Greenville C. Michael Crisp Grier Furr & Crisp PA | Charlotte Jasper “Jack” Cummings Jr. Alston & Bird LLP | Durham Stuart B. Dorsett Ward & Smith PA | Raleigh Debra L. Foster Debra L. Foster PA | Charlotte A. Dumay Gorham Jr. Marshall, Williams & Gorham LLP | Wilmington James N. Greene III Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Charlotte Robert H. Haggard Van Winkle, Buck, Wall, Starnes and Davis PA | Hendersonville Paul M. Hattenhauer Culp Elliott & Carpenter PLLC | Charlotte Michael S. Hawley K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte Carl W. Hibbert Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Raleigh John C. Hine Baddour, Parker & Hine PC | Goldsboro Graham D. Holding Jr. Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte Steve C. Horowitz Wishart, Norris, Henninger & Pittman PA | Charlotte C. Gray Johnsey White & Allen PA | Kinston Ronald P. Johnson Johnson, Peddrick & McDonald PLLC | Greensboro Morry Johnston Johnston, Allison & Hord PA | Charlotte G. Miller Jordan G. Miller Jordan Attorney at Law | Charlotte Jennifer L.J. Koenig Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro David T. Lewis Johnston, Allison & Hord PA | Charlotte Erik C. Lincoln Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Paul H. Livingston Jr. Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro Steven B. Long Williams Mullen | Raleigh Doris P. Loomis McGuire, Wood & Bissette PA | Asheville Neill G. McBryde Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte W. Thomas McCuiston McCuiston Law Offices PLLC | Cary Robert L. Mendenhall Mayer Brown LLP | Charlotte Jared Mobley K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte Marcus L. Moxley Vaughn Perkinson Ehlinger & Moxley | Winston-Salem Charles B. Neely Jr. Williams Mullen | Raleigh Richard P. Nordan Wallace & Nordan LLP | Raleigh Timothy A. Nordgren McPherson, Rocamora, Nicholson & Nordgren PLLC | Durham Rudy L. Ogburn Young Moore and Henderson PA | Raleigh George A. Ragland Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Winston-Salem Jill L. Raspet Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Wilmington Larry H. Rocamora McPherson, Rocamora, Nicholson & Nordgren PLLC | Durham Walter R. Rogers Jr. Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP | Raleigh Kimberly H. Stogner Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Winston-Salem Kimberly Q. Swintosky Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP | Raleigh Neal E. Tackabery Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros PA | Winston-Salem Richard J. Tuggle Tuggle Duggins & Meschan PA | Greensboro Andrew Veach Edwards Craver Veach PLLC | Winston-Salem Westray B. Veasey Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh David Watters Law Office of David Watters PLLC | Raleigh J. Michael Wilson McGuireWoods LLP | Charlotte Keith A. Wood Carruthers & Roth PA | Greensboro Louis Wooten III The Wooten Law Firm | Raleigh

Legal Elite – Real Estate 2011

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Real Estate

FRANK M. BELL JR. Bell, Davis & Pitt PA, Winston-Salem

I like the environment for practicing law in North Carolina, and I cannot picture myself practicing anywhere else. If I were to live elsewhere, I might live in a region that produces pinot noir grapes, for example Sonoma County, Calif. I’d be a vintner, unless the vines were too expensive, and if they were, a sommelier. Since I am a “dirt” lawyer, it would be interesting to focus on another “terroir.”

Vita: Born March 13, 1937, in Charlotte; bachelor’s from Duke University and law degree from UNC Chapel Hill; wife, three children, a stepchild and five grandchildren. Why he chose this field: I’m fond of history, my major in college, and real property — who previously and who currently owns it and what has been done with it from a historical aspect. Memorable case: Drafting several condominium documents for some of the first high-rise condos on the coast of North Carolina and, as chair of the North Carolina Bar Association real-property condominium committee, assisting in the drafting of the second-generation condominium statute, which was adopted in 1986. Passions: Getting the deal right, good wine and beautiful places, usually where trout live. Favorite book: The Story of Civilization: The Age of Reason Begins by Will and Ariel Durant. Recent Reading: The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity by Richard Florida. Don’t ask him to: Take advantage of another lawyer’s mistake.

Real Estate

Frank M. Bell Jr. Bell, Davis & Pitt PA | Winston-Salem Holly Alderman Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro Derek J. Allen Ward & Smith PA | Asheville Charles N. Anderson Jr. Ellis & Winters LLP | Cary Paul A. Arena Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh Bruce Ashley Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro William P. Aycock II Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro Jeffrey A. Benson Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Raleigh Brian Byrd Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro Alison Cayton Manning, Fulton & Skinner PA | Raleigh Holly Marcille Chamberlain Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP | Charlotte Reuben G. Clark III Williams Mullen | Raleigh James H. “Jamie” Clarke Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Morrisville G. Lee Cory K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte David R. Dorton Williams Mullen | Raleigh Paul H. “Woody” Efird III Horack Talley Pharr & Lowndes PA | Charlotte Brian P. Evans K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte David R. Fricke Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh Mark S. Hartman Davis Hartman Wright PLLC | New Bern George E. Hollodick Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros PA | Winston-Salem Gary K. Joyner Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Raleigh Leon M. “Chip” Killian III Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP | Raleigh William B. Kirk Jr. Kirk Palmer & Thigpen PA | Charlotte Robert Charles Lawson Williams Mullen | Raleigh Michael V. Lee Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Wilmington Nicole S. Loeffler Manning, Fulton & Skinner PA | Raleigh B. Palmer McArthur Jr. Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Larry D. McBennett Everett Gaskins Hancock LLP | Raleigh Brent M. Milgrom Jr. Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Charlotte J. Christopher Oates Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte James K. Pendergrass Jr. Pendergrass Law Firm PLLC | Raleigh C.H. Pope Jr. Ward & Smith PA | New Bern Robert J. Ramseur Jr. Ragsdale Liggett PLLC | Raleigh Lacy H. Reaves Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP | Raleigh Leonard Holden Reaves Reaves & Reaves PLLC | Fayetteville Robert Simmons McGuireWoods LLP | Charlotte Robert Sink Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte George W. Sistrunk III Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte Christopher J. Vaughn Carruthers & Roth PA | Greensboro Elizabeth W. Voltz Weatherspoon & Voltz LLP | Raleigh E. Garrett Walker Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro William H. Weatherspoon Jr. Weatherspoon & Voltz LLP | Raleigh Michael G. Winters Ellis & Winters LLP | Cary

Legal Elite – Real estate

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Real Estate: Alfred Adams Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC, Winston-Salem

By Kathy Brown

Strangers often confuse Alfred Adams for someone else, including golfer Jack Nicklaus and NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin. “I never look like me,” Adams, 57, complains.

His colleagues weren’t confused, however, when they voted him the state’s top real-estate lawyer. Clients, too, are certain that he’s deserving of the honor. “In real estate, he’s the best I’ve ever seen,” says Carl Ricker, owner of Azalea Management & Leasing, an Asheville commercial real-estate firm that Adams has represented for more than 20 years. “He is so meticulous. In as many transactions as he’s done for me — and they add up to $70 million or $80 million worth of work — I can’t think of a single instance when he has made a mistake or not caught someone else’s error.”

Adams grew up in Winston-Salem. He found his calling when his eighth-grade teacher assigned her students to research what they wanted to be when they grew up. His father didn’t know any lawyers. “So being a kid who didn’t know any better, I called Wake Forest’s law school and asked to talk to the dean.” The late Carroll Weathers invited the boy to his office and talked to him for more than an hour.

Most of his practice is built around contract work for buying and selling properties for clients such as Lowe’s and Thomasville Furniture. He learned the art of negotiation early in his career, while closing the sale of the first $100,000 home sold in north Asheville. The transaction nearly fell apart because of a $100 wall sconce.

“That was one of the first instances when I had to use diplomacy to get the buyer and seller to reach an agreement,” Adams says. He put the parties in separate rooms to diffuse the tension. He then counseled each side on the relative importance of the overall transaction. “They began to see the wall sconce was not worth the angst it had created. At the end of the day, we closed the deal — the buyer ended up buying the sconce for $50. I learned then that if you can avoid putting someone into an inescapable position and allow them to save their prestige, effective solutions can be achieved.”

Between getting his bachelor’s in history in 1968 and his law degree in 1973, he taught high school for two years in Winston-Salem and in Maryland. “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” Adams says. And he means it. For the past seven years, he has been an adjunct professor at Wake’s law school. He also has been chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association’s continuing legal education committee and its real-property section. It’s the teacher in him that has made him a good lawyer, he says. “You’ve got to teach the jury, the judge or the person on the other side of the table about your position — your theory on the law or the case.”

As an undergraduate, he worked as a ski instructor in Boone during his winter breaks. After law school, he wanted to be back in the mountains, so he started his career in Asheville. He practiced at Van Winkle, Buck, Wall, Starnes & Davis for 21 years, working on residential and commercial real-estate transactions. In 1994, Winston-Salem-based Petree Stockton recruited him and let him focus on the commercial side. He moved to Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in 2001.

Like most real-estate lawyers, Adams rarely sees the inside of a courtroom. The last case he tried was 29 years ago, when he represented an apartment complex that was suing a tenant whose dog had wet on the carpet. “I won,” Adams says, “and retired from litigation undefeated.”

Legal Elite – Patents/Intellectual property

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Patents/Intellectual property: Kenneth D. Sibley Myers Bigel Sibley and Sajovec PA, Raleigh

By Lisa Davis

Bright and early one morning, as you pull away from the drive-through window and take a big bite out of that steak-and-egg biscuit, think of Ken Sibley. He helped make your breakfast possible.

Sibley wrote the patents on the process used to pasteurize the egg. The fast-food fry cook in the back wasn’t breaking any eggs to cook your meal. The eggs arrive precracked and pasteurized, which extends their shelf life. But pasteurization is tricky. Heat the eggs too much, they scramble; not enough, germs remain. It wasn’t until the mid-’80s that food scientists at N.C. State University perfected the process. The patents Sibley wrote for State have been challenged many times, but they’ve held up.

The egg breakthrough is among a long list of Sibley’s patents, mostly for biotechnology and chemical innovations. “To say he’s at the cutting edge is an understatement,” says Mark Crowell, director of the Office of Technology Development at UNC Chapel Hill. Working with faculty at UNC, State, East Carolina and other universities, Sibley has written patents for everything from human gene therapy to drug-screening systems.

“Our faculty relate to him beautifully,” Crowell says. “They consider him almost a scientific colleague. It’s not, ‘Oh God, I have to work with the lawyers.’ Some of them get a kick out of sitting down with him, because he’s very conversant in their science.”

If not for a dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, he might actually have been one of their colleagues. Sibley graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and psychology and went to the University of Rochester to do brain research, aiming for a career in pharmaceutical development or teaching. One night out with his wife, Barbara, he struck up a conversation with a Kodak patent lawyer, whose job sounded intriguing. “I was at a crossroads. My immediate research project wasn’t panning out. I needed to start a new one or make a career change.” He chose the latter and headed to law school at Duke.

He’s still at Duke, taking time out from his private practice to teach a patent-law course and a patent-writing seminar every semester. “Sometimes around here we call him ‘the professor,’” partner Mitch Bigel says.

But Sibley’s combination of academic and pragmatist works, Bigel adds. “He’s really into the legal, theoretical part of intellectual property law, and there are a lot of people like that whose heads are in the clouds.”

The two met at Charlotte-based Bell, Seltzer, Park & Gibson, which Sibley joined in 1985 after getting his law degree. Three years later, he moved to its Raleigh office, and in 1997, Sibley, Bigel and 14 other lawyers left to start a new firm. Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec wrote 476 patents last year, more than any other North Carolina-based firm, Bigel says.

When it comes to patent law, Sibley says, you can’t delegate much. “Understanding a client’s technology is a fairly personal service.” He has developed relationships with inventors such as Joseph DeSimone, the wunderkind chemistry and chemical engineering professor at UNC and State, who holds more than 70 patents.

Sibley has been DeSimone’s legal counsel since he began his research 10 years ago. He is practically a collaborator, DeSimone says: “When you are trying to flesh out your ideas and you’ve got an attorney there that is not just note taking but contributing and teaching you patent strategy and thinking through the details, he really becomes one of the team during the process. I find that invaluable.”

Legal Elite – Employment

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Employment: Penni Pearson Bradshaw Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, Winston-Salem

By Irwin Speizer

Penni Pearson Bradshaw was a mother’s dream. At Westchester High School in Philadelphia, she was an A-plus student, a tennis star, a member of student government and a writer for the student newspaper. To avoid the distractions of a coed campus, she picked Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Va., where she graduated magna cum laude with a double major in religion and American studies.

She still maintains that image, but it masks a hard edge. She is one of the state’s most effective advocates for companies facing employment-law issues. “She is about 5 feet tall, but she is tenacious,” says Frank Murphy, vice president and general counsel of Winston-Salem-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, one of her clients.

Bradshaw says that she has never had a “significant adverse jury verdict” and that she gets many cases dismissed before trial. Her time now is spent advising companies trying to establish human-resources systems. But once a dispute turns into a lawsuit, her litigation style comes into play. “My approach in a deposition is be nice and low-key. Let them talk,” she says. “People let down their guard that way. You can catch them in a lie, in inconsistencies. It’s fun. You know you’ve got ’em.”

Growing up, Bradshaw never gave law much thought. Her father was an insurance executive, and he moved the family several times. At Randolph-Macon, her writing and leadership skills got her named editor of the school newspaper, but by her senior year, she still hadn’t decided what she would be. An aptitude test showed she was suited for law. Her college grades and law-school entrance-exam scores were so good that Carolina offered her a free ride.

Employment-law courses were her favorite, but it took a few years for her to practice in that field. She joined Petree Stockton, a Winston-Salem firm that would merge with an Atlanta firm to become Kilpatrick Stockton, and handled real-estate closings, auto-insurance claims and an occasional employment case.

In her first year, Bradshaw represented Salisbury, which had been sued by property owners fighting annexation. She won the first round, and the appeal went straight to the N.C. Supreme Court. Bradshaw crafted a tight legal brief with a point-by-point defense of the city’s right to annex. “My concept was to keep it simple, keep the court focused on what the requirements were under the statutes, point out that the issues raised by the other side were attempts to make things confusing,” she says. Salisbury won.

By her fifth year, she was focused solely on employment law. Her firm represented large North Carolina companies, and Bradshaw became their employment-law counselor. She divided her time between defending against employee lawsuits over such things as discrimination and advising human-resources departments how to avoid problems. She noticed that companies often ran into immigration issues when hiring technical or engineering experts, so she developed a subspecialty: immigration law.

Bradshaw is active in local civic organizations, though she became sidetracked by a family emergency. Her daughter was diagnosed with a fatal heart defect and was put on a transplant waiting list. Three years ago, at age 11, she died.

Now, every Saturday morning, Bradshaw plays hostess for three hours in the Ronald McDonald Room at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. “I really now know how not to sweat the small stuff,” she says.

Legal Elite – Criminal 2011

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Criminal

DAVID S. RUDOLF Rudolf, Widenhouse & Fialko, Charlotte

If I could live anywhere, it would be in Barcelona, Spain. Why? The culture, the people, the Costa Brava, the restaurants, the architecture, the art, the Mediterranean, the access to Europe, the nightlife — all absolutely fantastic. As for lawyering, I would probably work for a human-rights organization, Amnesty International or something similar.

Vita: Born July 2, 1949, in New York City; bachelor’s from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, law degree from New York University; wife and four children. Why he chose this field: A desire to stand between the power of the state and the rights of citizens. What he’d be if not a lawyer: An architect specializing in restoring historic structures — restoring life for the space much as I try to restore life for my clients. Memorable case: Rae Carruth, the first active professional football player to be charged with capital murder. During cross-examination of a codefendant, Van Brett Watkins, he threatened to rip me limb from limb, like a rag doll. The jury acquitted Carruth of murder, though it convicted him of conspiracy. Passions: My work, skiing, music from the late ’60s through the late ’80s. Favorite place: On top of a ski mountain on a bluebird day. Favorite book: Escape from Freedom by Erich Fromm. I read it more than 40 years ago, and it profoundly changed my view of people, religion, government and culture. Hero: Robert Kennedy. He wasn’t afraid to take an unpopular position if he thought it was right. Don’t ask him to: Say or do something I don’t believe in.

Criminal

David S. Rudolf Rudolf Widenhouse & Fialko PA | Charlotte F. Hill Allen Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh Peter C. Anderson Anderson Terpening PLLC | Charlotte Bradley Bannon Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale | Raleigh H. Gerald Beaver Beaver Holt Sternlicht & Courie PA | Fayetteville Christopher A. Beechler Law Offices of Christopher A. Beechler PC | Winston-Salem Mark T. Calloway Alston & Bird LLP | Charlotte Ames C. Chamberlin The Law Offices of Ames Chamberlin PLLC | Greensboro Locke T. Clifford Clifford Clendenin & O’Hale LLP | Greensboro Christopher R. Clifton Grace Tisdale & Clifton PA | Winston-Salem Christopher A. Connelly The Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly | Charlotte Collin P. Cook Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale | Raleigh Brian S. Cromwell Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Charlotte Kearns Davis Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP | Greensboro Russell W. DeMent III DeMent Askew LLP | Raleigh Sean Devereux Devereux & Banzhoff PLLC | Asheville Christopher Fialko Rudolf Widenhouse & Fialko PA | Charlotte William F. Finn Jr. Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh PLLC | Raleigh John Fonda Bailey & Thomas PA | Winston-Salem Devon A. Glick Law Office of Devon A. Glick | Raleigh Michael J. Greene Goodman, Carr, Laughrun, Levine, Murray & Greene PA | Charlotte Kelly L. Greene Greene & Wilson PA | New Bern W. Rob Heroy Tin Fulton Walker & Owen PLLC | Charlotte Myron T. Hill Browning & Hill LLP | Greenville Edward T. Hinson Jr. James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte Douglas E. Kingsbery Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh George V. Laughrun II Goodman, Carr, Laughrun, Levine, Murray & Greene PA | Charlotte David W. Long Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh Thomas C. Manning Manning & Crouch | Raleigh Duncan A. McMillan McMillan, Smith & Plyler | Raleigh Robert L. McMillan Jr. McMillan, Smith & Plyler | Raleigh Steven T. Meier Steven T. Meier PLLC | Charlotte George W. Moore The Moore Law Office PLLC | Asheville H. Davis North III Cahoon & Swisher, North, Cooke & Landreth | Greensboro Joel N. Oakley Law Firm of Joel Oakley | Greensboro Robert O’Hale Clifford Clendenin & O’Hale LLP | Greensboro John P. O’Hale Narron, O’Hale Whittington, PA | Smithfield Stephen W. Petersen Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Raleigh Eben T. Rawls III Rawls, Dickinson & Scheer PA | Charlotte Edward K. Roberts III Roberts Law Office PA | Raleigh Anthony G. Scheer Rawls, Dickinson & Scheer PA | Charlotte Roger W. Smith Sr. Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh Dennis H. Sullivan Jr. Sullivan & Wagoner LLP | Wilmington Noell P. Tin Tin Fulton Walker & Owen PLLC | Charlotte Amos G. Tyndall Amos Granger Tyndall PA | Chapel Hill David W. Venable The Law Office of David W. Venable | Raleigh William D. Young IV Hatch, Little & Bunn LLP | Raleigh Joseph E. Zeszotarski Poyner Spruill LLP | Raleigh

Legal Elite – Corporate Counsel 2011

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Corporate Counsel

MEREDITH B. STONE NACCO Materials Holding Group Inc., Greenville

It would most likely be living on a beautiful lake somewhere that is peaceful and quiet (a mountain view also would be great) but close enough to a big city that I could still get my fix of good restaurants, theater and museums. Alternatively, the idea of a Caribbean island, Breckenridge, Colo., (where I could ski in the winter and golf in the spring/summer/fall) or Venice, Italy, also would be very appealing.

Vita: Born Nov. 18, 1959, in White Plains, N.Y.; bachelor’s from the University of Vermont, law degree from St. John’s University; husband and one child. Why she chose this field: As an in-house counsel, I have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and become more involved in my client’s business as part of the team. What she’d be if not a lawyer: I could envision myself teaching at the undergraduate or graduate level. Memorable case: Early in my career, as a prosecutor of juvenile-delinquency petitions in New York City, I caught a case involving a drive-by shooting by a 14-year-old girl with a semiautomatic machine gun. The oldest person in the vehicle was 16. Passions: Reading, golf (though my score doesn’t show it), skiing. Favorite place: Tuscany in Italy. Favorite books: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee; A Time to Kill by John Grisham; Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer (a story of George Mallory’s attempts to scale Mount Everest) and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Heroes: Susan B. Anthony and Sandra Day O’Connor. Don’t ask her to: Sing or watch reality TV.

Corporate Counsel

Meredith B. Stone NACCO Materials Handling Group Inc. | Greenville Michael R. Abel Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC | Greensboro G. Templeton Blackburn II Variety Wholesalers Inc. | Henderson Adam H. Broome Cree Inc., Durham; Frank Brown, Rexam Inc. | Charlotte Craig Cannon BB&T Corp. | Winston-Salem James R. Fox Pike Electric Corp. | Mount Airy Douglas R. Gunson Nucor Corp. | Charlotte Grayson S. Hale K&L Gates LLP | Raleigh Kenneth B. Hammer DataFlux Corp. | Cary David Hayden Usfalcon Inc. | Morrisville Josh Howard Research Triangle Institute | Research Triangle Park Timothy D. Johnson Ply Gem Holdings Inc. | Cary Robert D. Kidwell Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro Shirley Linn Fairpoint Communications Inc. | Charlotte Beth MacDonald Family Dollar Stores Inc. | Matthews Richard L. Magee EnPro Industries Inc. | Charlotte Christopher Matton Bandwidth.com Inc. | Cary Jeffrey D. Miller Highwoods Properties Inc. | Raleigh Christopher S. Nesbit McGuireWoods LLP | Charlotte Edward O’Keefe Bank of America Corp. | Charlotte Mark Reeth Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. | Morrisville J. Troy Smith Jr. Ward & Smith PA | New Bern Andrew Spainhour Replacements Ltd. | McLeansville Michael A. Springs Bank of America Corp., Charlotte G. Edward Story Research Triangle Institute | Research Triangle Park Scott D. Syfert Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Robert A. Wicker General Parts International Inc. | Raleigh Bryan Yeazel Stock Building Supply LLC | Raleigh Ann Yaeger Young Mission Health System Inc. | Asheville

Legal Elite – Corporate counsel

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Corporate Counsel: David L. Ward Jr. Ward and Smith PA, New Bern

By Irwin Speizer

From his homespun phrasings, you might not guess that David L. Ward Jr. advises executives about mergers, antitrust issues, bank regulations and corporate structure. To hear him tell it, he was surprised by his rise through the ranks of corporate counsel in his hometown of New Bern, where he returned after law school to join his father’s firm.

True, his father was a local icon, a lawyer and politician who served in the state House and Senate. But the young-er Ward was just another kid who stumbled through after-school jobs before going to college. “Everybody saw me as that little fat kid who used to deliver newspapers or groceries.”

These days, Ward is a specialist in corporate law. The three-lawyer firm he took over from his father in 1971 now has 65 lawyers and nearly 200 support personnel, with offices in New Bern, Greenville, Wilmington and Raleigh.

Troy Smith, his partner and associate for more than 30 years, says Ward is a workaholic who has two sides: the affable Eastern North Carolinian and the overprepared attorney who can be fierce in a contract dispute. “He always has his guns fully loaded before he goes into a conference. That’s the scariest kind of lawyer to deal with.”

Ward picked up at least some of his legal style and work ethic from his father, a disciplinarian who preached hard work and responsibility. Breaking rules around the Ward house in New Bern brought swift punishment — from supper in the kitchen, instead of at the dinner table, to a whipping. Ward had part-time jobs, including one as a baggage handler at the bus depot, often tossing the duffel bags of Marines stationed at nearby military bases.

His mother wanted him to attend exclusive Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, but Ward, a lineman on the New Bern High School football team, resisted. As his senior year neared, she made her last bid. He waited until August, when he thought it was too late to enroll, to tell his mother he would go. She pulled strings and had him admitted.

He earned a bachelor’s in accounting from UNC Chapel Hill and went to law school at Duke. His professors encouraged him to join a big firm in Atlanta upon graduation, but he wanted none of the big city. “I liked the living style in New Bern. I also had some fairly strong feelings that I needed to give back to the community where I had grown up.”

He joined his father’s firm. Many of Ward’s clients were too strapped to pay, so he sometimes accepted shrimp or corn. Smith joined the firm in 1967, but after Ward’s father died in 1971 and the other partner retired the same year, the firm had just two lawyers — Ward and Smith.

His father’s death forced him to scramble to retain one of the firm‘s biggest clients, First Citizens BancShares of Raleigh. First Citizens was trying to open an Albemarle branch, and two bank companies objected, saying a third bank would make it hard for all three to survive.

The battle went to the state Banking Commission. Ward argued that Albemarle was underserved by the two existing banks. First Citizens got its Albemarle charter, and Ward went on to serve as corporate counsel to the bank — a position he still holds.

Ward branched into community-college legal work, mergers and acquisitions, and other aspects of corporate law. What he provides clients today is the same measured and studied counsel that has kept him locked into First Citizens. “He is a very careful man,” says Lewis R. Holding, First Citizens BancShares chairman and CEO. “You can have absolute confidence in what he says.”