Friday, July 19, 2024
Home Blog Page 603

Legal Elite – Employment


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



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.


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


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 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


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.”

Legal Elite – Construction 2011



PETER J. MARINO Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP, Raleigh

If I absolutely had to move my family and practice, it would likely be to New York. My wife and I both have extended family in New York and the Northeast. The public and private construction and real-estate development markets are so diverse there that there would certainly be opportunities to do challenging legal work. The restaurants and theater are tough to beat.

Vita: Born Jan. 15, 1965, in Long Island, N.Y.; bachelor’s from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., law degree from UNC Chapel Hill; wife and four children. Why he chose this field: It was really a combination of my long-standing interest in construction and real estate and the needs and opportunities that presented themselves at my firm. What he’d be if not a lawyer: I’ve been interested in real-estate development and investment for as long as I can remember. I’m fairly sure I’d work in one of those areas in some capacity even if I were not a lawyer. Memorable case: The first two projects in the state undertaken by the newly formed North Carolina Turnpike Authority: the Western Wake Expressway project and the Triangle Parkway project. Passions: Fishing and running. Favorite place: Aspen, Colo. Recent reading: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It’s about an American mountain climber in the Pakistani Himalayas who stays to build schools in poor communities. Don’t ask him to: Cook anything other than on a grill.


Peter Marino Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP | Raleigh Norris A. Adams II Essex Richards PA | Charlotte Greg Ahlum Johnston, Allison & Hord PA | Charlotte H. Arthur Bolick II Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP | Greensboro Mark Boynton Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Winston-Salem Daniel K. Bryson Lewis & Roberts PLLC | Raleigh Thomas Buckley Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP | Raleigh John E. Bugg Bugg & Wolf PA | Durham D. Anderson Carmen Bell, Davis & Pitt PA | Winston-Salem B. David Carson Erwin & Eleazer PA | Charlotte Andrew L. Chapin Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC | Greensboro Richard D. Conner Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC | Greensboro William H. Gammon Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP | Raleigh James B. Gatehouse Rayburn Cooper & Durham PA | Charlotte A. Holt Gwyn Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC | Greensboro David B. Hamilton Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte H. Mark Hamlet Williams Mullen | Wilmington Nan E. Hannah Vann & Sheridan LLP | Raleigh J. Patrick Haywood Carruthers & Roth PA | Greensboro R. Harper Heckman Nexsen Pruet LLC | Greensboro Edward F. Hennessey IV Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte John I. Mabe Jr. Williams Mullen | Raleigh Bentford E. Martin Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte Robert McNeill Horack Talley Pharr & Lowndes PA | Charlotte Michael David Meeker Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP | Greensboro Bob Meynardie The Meynardie Law Firm PLLC | Raleigh Thomas L. Ogburn III Poyner Spruill LLP | Charlotte Joel R. Rhine Lea, Rhine & Rosbrugh PLLC | Wilmington Elizabeth LeVan Riley Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Raleigh Erik M. Rosenwood Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte David A. Senter Nexsen Pruet LLC | Greensboro Judson A. Welborn Manning, Fulton & Skinner PA | Raleigh Gary J. Welch Johnston, Allison & Hord PA | Charlotte Allen L. West Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte Martin L. White Johnston, Allison & Hord PA | Charlotte Steele B. “Al” Windle III Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP | Charlotte Kenneth R. Wooten Ward & Smith PA | New Bern

Legal Elite – Construction


Construction: James Roberts Lewis & Roberts PLLC, Raleigh

By Kathy Brown

During his junior year at Vance High School in Henderson, Jim Roberts was the starting point guard on a basketball team that went 26-0 and won the state championship. While he doesn’t have a perfect record in the courtroom, his winning record there has earned him a reputation as the state’s top construction lawyer.

Raleigh-based Lewis & Roberts is among the state’s largest commercial-litigation practices. Formed in 1997, it has grown to 30 lawyers and added offices in Charlotte and Fairfax, Va. Roberts, 47, litigates and arbitrates cases for practically every type of participant in the construction industry, including building owners, general contractors, subcontractors and surety companies, which provide bonds on construction projects.

He enters the fray when a structure has been built improperly. That’s led him, for example, to litigate a case for the owner of a hotel that had severe foundation defects and to arbitrate a dispute for a shopping-center owner who alleged improper construction.

In recent years, Roberts and his firm have taken on synthetic-stucco cases. Synthetic stucco is a building material used as an alternative to brick and other siding. The material is designed to keep water out. When moisture gets inside, it stays there. That can cause mold, attract termites and lead to other problems. The firm has won more than $55 million for individual homeowners. He’s working on a class-action synthetic-stucco suit, certified last year, in the U.S. Middle District Court of North Carolina.

“Around here, we call Jim ‘the bulldog,’” says John Thompson, owner of Raleigh general contractor JM Thompson Co., which Roberts has represented for nearly a decade. “If he gets into something, he won’t let go. And if he thinks you are in the right on a matter, he will go to the wall for you.”

Roberts has based his practice on a simple rule: “Be prepared.” He modeled his work ethic after William Taylor Jr., a founding partner of Raleigh-based Maupin Taylor PA, where he started his law career. “Taylor always told me, ‘The judges you appear before can figure out who’s shooting straight.’ So when I get involved on a case, I try to have it thoroughly and completely prepared.”

That often means burning the midnight oil. “All I can say is, Jim must have a very understanding wife,” Thompson says. “I’ve known him to work many weekends, even when he’s sick, preparing for a case.”

His specialty is construction, but a personal-injury lawsuit led to his most high-profile case. He defended Jean-Claude Van Damme when an extra sued the star for the loss of his eye after Van Damme struck him with a prop knife during filming of the movie Cyborg in Wilmington. “It was probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen,” Roberts says.

The case went to trial in Cumberland County, and the film’s insurance company hired Roberts to represent Van Damme. The jury found the star liable, but it wasn’t a total loss for Roberts. Court TV broadcast the trial, and he got plenty of national exposure.

Roberts says he can’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a lawyer. He studied history at Wake Forest as an undergraduate, then enrolled in Wake’s law school. After graduation, he moved to Raleigh to work for Maupin Taylor.

“I wanted to be in litigation from the start,” Roberts says. “Practically all my career has been spent in courts or in arbitration.” His enthusiasm for jury trials has not diminished over the years. For him, it’s just like the thrill of sinking a buzzer-beating basket. “There’s no feeling like waiting for a jury to come back,” Roberts says. “When the verdict’s in your client’s favor, it’s nothing short of exhilarating.”

Legal Elite – Litigation 2011



JAMES H. KELLY JR. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Winston-Salem

I’d practice in a similar environment, such as in most parts of Georgia and southern Virginia. I enjoy the customs, culture, food, atmosphere and mannerisms found in the South. All play a part in litigation. But if I had to live somewhere else without regard to the practice of law, I would like to try living in Tuscany, Italy, or the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Tuscany is attractive because of its history, examples of architecture, food, sunshine and the fun of exploring places like Florence and the other old city-states. The Amalfi Coast is attractive because of its access to water and the gorgeous views.

Vita: Born Dec. 26, 1942, in Florence, S.C.; bachelor’s from Davidson College and law degree from Duke University; wife, two children and two grandchildren. Why he chose this field: After my second year in law school and during the three months between the bar exam and active duty in the Army, I worked with Petree Stockton & Robinson in Winston-Salem. After three years in the service, I was fortunate enough to be able to return to the firm, which had a heavy litigation practice. What he’d be if not a lawyer: A professor teaching European and American literature or a worker in one of the traditional western North Carolina industries such as furniture or textiles. Passions: Reading, water sports, North Carolina and travel. Don’t ask him to: Defend the actions of Wall Street, change more diapers or eat raw seafood.


James H. Kelly Jr. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Winston-Salem D. Erik Albright Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro Jerry A. Allen Jr. Walker, Allen, Grice, Ammons & Foy LLP | Goldsboro Catharine B. Arrowood Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Raleigh Jonathan A. Berkelhammer Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro J. Daniel Bishop Bishop, Capitano & Moss PA | Charlotte John D. Burns Williams Mullen | Raleigh Andrew Chamberlin Ellis & Winters LLP | Greensboro Eric H. Cottrell Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Charlotte Richard Ellis Ellis & Winters LLP | Cary Douglas W. Ey Jr. McGuireWoods LLP | Charlotte David E. Fox Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Morrisville Robert Fuller Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte James L. Gale Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Raleigh Mel J. Garofalo Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP | Charlotte James B. Gatehouse Rayburn Cooper & Durham PA | Charlotte Richard S. Gottlieb Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Winston-Salem Christopher T. Graebe Graebe Hanna & Welborn PLLC | Raleigh Kenneth J. Gumbiner Tuggle Duggins & Meschan PA | Greensboro Edward T. Hinson Jr. James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte Justin Howard McGuireWoods LLP | Raleigh Philip R. Isley Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Isley PA | Raleigh Trisha L. Lawson Bank of America Corp. | Charlotte E. Hardy Lewis Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Isley PA | Raleigh Scott Lewis Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP | Wilmington Valecia M. McDowell Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Joseph McGuire McGuire, Wood & Bissette PA | Asheville Mark W. Merritt Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte Raymond E. Owens Jr. K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte Stephen W. Petersen Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Raleigh James H. Pulliam Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Charlotte Joel R. Rhine Lea, Rhine & Rosbrugh PLLC | Wilmington Jonathan Sasser Ellis & Winters LLP | Cary Curtis J. Shipley Ellis & Winters LLP | Greensboro Christopher G. Smith Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP | Raleigh Daniel R. Taylor Jr. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Winston-Salem Richard L. Vanore Carruthers & Roth PA | Greensboro Mark Vasco Alston & Bird LLP | Charlotte John R. Wester Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte Lee M. Whitman Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP | Raleigh Raboteau T. “Rob” Wilder Jr. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Charlotte James W. Williams Roberts & Stevens PA | Asheville Fred M. Wood Jr. Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Charlotte Ronald H. Woodruff Marshall, Williams & Gorham LLP | Wilmington David C. Wright III Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA | Charlotte Jeffrey M. Young Ellis & Winters LLP | Cary

Legal Elite – Litigation


Litigation: Clarence W. "Ace" Walker Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman LLP, Charlotte

By Frank Maley

Ace Walker was sure there must be some mistake. How could he be the state’s top litigator when he hasn’t tried a case of any kind in more than five years? But there is no mistake. To his peers, Walker, 72, is still the best. “It’s a little embarrassing, because I can point to people who are active litigators now and who I regard as better than me.”

Maybe his backers can be forgiven for not realizing that he has moved on to other things. Walker once kept a higher profile. He was president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1978 and 1979 and a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates from 1980 to 2000. He has lectured on corporate and securities law and in the ’70s and ’80s argued rate cases for Charlotte-based Duke Power Co. before the N.C. Utilities Commission.

Now Walker specializes in corporate and securities law. “A lot of lawyers in the state know me by name and reputation, generally, but the only circumstances in which they see me operate is as a litigator. They don’t see me in corporate transactions and in securities transactions because that’s not up front. That doesn’t get attention.”

Walker makes sure it doesn’t. As far as he’s concerned, his corporate and securities work is confidential. He’s a little more open about other parts of his life.

He grew up in Durham, the son of a machine operator for cigarette maker Liggett & Myers. When Walker was a freshman at Duke, his dad opened a filling station. It was near campus and was frequented by professors, including Jack Latty, who would become dean of the law school. “He was very impressive to me. I was very close to him. He thought I should go to law school, and I did.”

After getting his law degree, Walker worked for Mudge Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon in New York. He developed an expertise in utilities and securities law and worked with Leonard Garment, who would become counsel to President Richard Nixon. But Walker and his wife, Ann-Heath, wanted to raise their children in the South. In 1959, Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman needed someone with experience in securities law, and he thought Charlotte had the brightest future of any Tar Heel city.

The key to a litigator’s success, Walker says, is building trust among your audience, whether it’s a judge, jury, arbitration panel or commission. Walker is highly regarded for his ability to build consensus and resolve contentious issues. “He’s personable, so he’s good in an adversarial role, and he’s good in a nonadversarial role of trying to get people together,” says Charlotte lawyer Russell Robinson, a past Legal Elite winner.

In 1993, Walker was appointed to chair an ABA committee to recommend ways to change how the association is governed. He decided to take whatever time was needed to debate every issue completely. It took more than two years for the committee to issue its report, but its recommendations were unanimous.

Many were adopted by the House of Delegates. They helped broaden leadership opportunities for women, minorities and rank-and-file members, ABA President Dennis Archer says. The delegates assured future refinements by adopting another recommendation — mandatory governance reviews every 10 years.

But Walker says he still isn’t sure exactly why he was asked to chair the committee. “People say a lot of flattering things when they ask you to do a tough job.”

Legal Elite – Intellectual Property 2011


Intellectual Property

WILLIAM J. MASON MacCord Mason PLLC, Wilmington


Intellectual Property

William J. Mason MacCord Mason PLLC | Wilmington Albert P. Allan Allan IP Litigation | Charlotte Corby C. Anderson McGuireWoods LLP | Charlotte Stephen S. Ashley Jr. Ashley Law Firm PC | Charlotte David D. Beatty Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec PA | Raleigh Christopher L. Bernard Clements Bernard PLLC | Charlotte Anthony J. Biller Coats & Bennett PLLC | Cary Sandra Boscia Lowe’s Cos. | Mooresville James R. Cannon Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec PA | Raleigh Larry Coats Coats & Bennett PLLC | Cary Michael S. Connor Alston & Bird LLP | Charlotte Arthur J. DeBaugh Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Raleigh Alan W. Duncan Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro Steven Gardner Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP | Winston-Salem Kimberly Bullock Gatling Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro David A. Harlow Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP | Raleigh John P. Higgins Summa Additon & Ashe PA | Charlotte Steven J. Hultquist Intellectual Property/ Technology Law | Chapel Hill Susan S. Jackson K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte Richard E. Jenkins Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt PA | Durham Matthew J. Ladenheim Trego, Hines & Ladenheim PLLC | Charlotte Lance A. Lawson Alston & Bird LLP | Charlotte Frank W. Leak The Law Office of Frank W. Leak PLLC | Winston-Salem Howard A. MacCord Jr. MacCord Mason PLLC | Wilmington James A. Medford Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greensboro E. Eric Mills Ward & Smith PA | New Bern John F. Morrow Jr. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC | Winston-Salem Edward O’Keefe Bank of America Corp. | Charlotte John Owen Coats & Bennett PLLC | Cary James G. Passé Passé Intellectual Property LLC | Raleigh W. Kevin Ransom Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Julie H. Richardson Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec PA | Raleigh Edward W. Rilee MacCord Mason PLLC | Wilmington Michael P. Saber Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP | Raleigh F. Michael Sajovec Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec PA | Raleigh David W. Sar Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP | Greensboro Karl S. Sawyer Jr. K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte Jeffrey J. Schwartz Schwartz Law Firm PC | Charlotte W. Murray Spruill Alston & Bird LLP | Durham Debra K. Stephens Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (USA) Inc. | Research Triangle Park Steven N. Terranova Withrow & Terranova PLLC | Cary Michael A. Tobin K&L Gates LLP | Charlotte Robert C. Van Arnam Williams Mullen | Raleigh J. Mark Wilson Moore & Van Allen PLLC | Charlotte Benjamin S. Withrow Withrow & Terranova PLLC | Cary Neal B. Wolgin Tillman Wright PLLC | Charlotte W. Swain Wood Wood Jackson PLLC | Raleigh

Legal Elite – Family 2011



MICHAEL F. SCHILAWSKI Wake Family Law Group, Raleigh

I’d like to practice law in or around King Salmon, Alaska. The fly fishing is fabulous. The pace would be considerably slower, and I could commute to the borough courthouse via Cessna instead of fighting traffic on Raleigh’s Beltline. The equitable distribution of marital property — beaver pelts, dried fish filets, stacks of winter wood and cans of fuel oil — would be far less complicated.

Vita: Born Dec. 19, 1948, in Marinette, Wis.; bachelor’s from UNC Chapel Hill, master’s from N.C. State University, law degree from Campbell University; wife and two children. Why he chose this field: I started practicing with one partner. He practiced real-estate law, and I did a little bit of everything else. I began to enjoy family law and was first certified as a family-law specialist in 1989. I’ve been practicing family law almost exclusively ever since. What he’d be if not a lawyer: High-school teacher and football coach. Memorable case: Every case is slightly different and the complicated ones take you into real-estate issues, contracts, tax law, estate-planning issues, etc. Passions: Fly fishing. Favorite place: Lake Como, Italy. I’d like to visit again. Recent reading: Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis by Howell Raines. Heroes: My father and his father. Don’t ask him to: Revise the Wake County Family Court Rules (again).


Michael F. Schilawski Wake Family Law Group | Raleigh Carole Albright Forman Rossabi Black PA | Greensboro G.W. “Trey” Aycock III Coltrane Aycock & Overfield PLLC | Greensboro D. Caldwell Barefoot Jr. Barefoot Family Law | Raleigh Shelby D. Benton Hollowell & Benton PA | Goldsboro Robert S. Blair Jr. Horack Talley Pharr & Lowndes PA | Charlotte Heidi C. Bloom Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP | Raleigh L. Stanley Brown Hamilton Moon Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC | Charlotte Lynn P. Burleson Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh Nelson M. Casstevens Jr. Casstevens, Hanner, Gunter, Riopel & Wofford PA | Charlotte Elizabeth Caviness Caviness Law Firm PLLC | Charlotte Cary E. Close Cary Close Family Law | Raleigh Charles W. Coltrane Coltrane Aycock & Overfield PLLC | Greensboro Joslin Davis Davis & Harwell PA | Winston-Salem William K. Diehl James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte A. Doyle Early Jr. Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler LLP | High Point David W. Erdman Erdman Hockfield & Leone LLP | Charlotte Carole Gailor Gailor, Wallis & Hunt PLLC | Raleigh Janet Gemmell Cape Fear Family Law | Wilmington Nancy L. Grace Wake Family Law Group | Raleigh C. Ray Grantham Jr. Robinson & Lawing LLP | Winston-Salem Kelly L. Greene Greene & Wilson P.A. | New Bern Howard L. Gum Gum, Hillier & McCroskey PA | Asheville Monica R. Guy Bell, Davis & Pitt PA | Winston-Salem Deborah S. Halvorsen Horton Henry & Halvorsen PLLC | Winston-Salem Michael S. Harrell Manning, Fulton & Skinner PA | Raleigh David E. Holm Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale | Raleigh Jill Jackson Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh William W. Jordan Hill Evans Jordan & Beatty PLLC | Greensboro Cynthia P. Leone Erdman Hockfield & Leone LLP | Charlotte James F. “Rik” Lovett Rik Lovett & Associates | Raleigh Patrick S. McCroskey Gum, Hillier & McCroskey PA | Asheville Meredith J. McGill McGill & Hampson PA | Raleigh Jonathan Gordon McGirt | Raleigh Jaye Meyer Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh Barbara R. Morgenstern Barbara R. Morgenstern PLLC | Greensboro Ralph S. Pennington Pennington & Smith | Wilmingtonv Mark D. Riopel Casstevens, Hanner, Gunter, Riopel & Wofford PA | Charlotte Lee S. Rosen The Rosen Law Firm | Raleigh Amy E. Simpson James, McElroy & Diehl PA | Charlotte Nicole H. Sodoma Sodoma Law PC | Charlotte Robin J. Stinson Bell, Davis & Pitt PA | Winston-Salem Alice C. Stubbs Tharrington Smith LLP | Raleigh Lorion Vitale Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, Bryan & Vitale | Raleigh Alfred Decatur Ward Jr. Alfred Dectaur Ward Jr. PLLC | New Bern