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Attorneys Named Super Lawyers

By Staff Reports, posted Apr 25, 2014
A legal industry accolade that comes out each year is the Super Lawyers list, which is a publication of Thomson Reuters. Super Lawyers is a rating service of lawyers across the nation. Peer nominations and evaluations along with third-party research are used to review candidates.
 
CHRISTOPHER K. BEHM (See Legal Elite profile), Block, Crouch, Keeter, Behm & Sayed
 
NORWOOD P. BLANCHARD III
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Crossley McIntosh Collier Hanley & Edes
Title: Partner
Education: East Carolina University (B.S.B.A.); Duke University (J.D., magna cum laude)
Career highlights: Blanchard has argued numerous appellate cases at the N.C. Supreme Court, N.C. Court of Appeals and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Areas of focus: Employment, general civil and municipal
 
DANIEL LEE BRAWLEY
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Williams Mullen
Title: Partner
Age: 72
Education: UNC Chapel Hill (A.B. and J.D.)
Career highlights: Brawley was a visiting professor at the law school at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. “The opportunity to work with law students and professors in a post-Soviet Union environment was educational and rewarding and confirmed my abiding appreciation of the American judicial system,” said Brawley, who also has been voted by his peers into Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame.
Areas of focus: Litigation, construction and admiralty
 
ALGERNON L. BUTLER III (See Legal Elite profile), Butler & Butler
 
AULEY M. CROUCH III
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Block, Crouch, Keeter, Behm & Sayed
Title: Partner
Age: 69
Education: Citadel (B.S.); John Marshall Law School (J.D.)
Career highlights: Crouch has been a Superior Court mediator and arbitrator since 1993. His representative reported cases include: Sevigny v. Dicksey; Marina Food Associates Inc. v. Marina Restaurant Inc.; and Williams v. Houses of Distinction Inc.
Areas of focus: General civil, including commercial/business disputes, construction litigation, personal injury and condemnation in federal and state courts
 
G. STEPHEN DIAB (See Legal Elite profile), Murchison, Taylor & Gibson
 
KATHLEEN SHANNON GLANCY
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: The Law Offices of Kathleen Shannon Glancy
Title: Founding attorney
Education: University of California, Irvine (B.A.); Santa Clara University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Glancy served five years as staff and managing attorney at Legal Services in Fremont, Ohio and in Wilmington. In 1985, she founded her own law firm. She is an active leader in the N.C. Advocates for Justice’s Workers’ Compensation Section and Workplace Injury Litigation Group as well as the Labor and Employment Section of the ABA.
Areas of focus: Board certified workers’ compensation specialist, social security
disability
 
H. MARK HAMLET (See Legal Elite profile), Hamlet & Associates
 
HENRY L. KITCHIN JR. (See Legal Elite profile), McGuireWoods
 
PAULA A. KOHUT
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Kohut
Title: Sole member
Age: 56
Education: University of California, Irvine (B.A.); Wake Forest University (J.D., cum laude)
Career highlights: “Representing individuals and small businesses in North Carolina for over 30 years continues to be a wonderful career. It is an incredible privilege when individuals, business owners and colleagues bring me in as a trusted advisor to assist in designing and implementing estate and succession plans, as well as assistance with new and existing businesses,” Kohut said.
Areas of focus: Trust and estate planning and administration and business law
 
GILBERT “GIB” LAITE III
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Williams Mullen
Title: Partner
Age: 57
Education: University of Maine (B.S.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Laite graduated with honors from law school at Wake Forest and served two years as a law clerk to the U.S. District Court. He then entered private practice with the Maupin Taylor firm in Raleigh. In the late 1990s, he established the firm’s Wilmington office. Maupin Taylor merged into Williams Mullen in 2006. Laite is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and listed by Best Lawyers in America in eight categories of practice.
Areas of focus: Business, property, construction and financial sector
 
JAMES W. LEA III
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: The Lea/Schultz Law Firm
Title: Attorney
Age: 59
Education: UNC Chapel Hill; Campbell University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Lea has practiced in family law for the past 32 years. He serves on the N.C. State Bar’s Family Council, a selected group of family lawyers that sets policy and recommends changes to family law on behalf of the N.C. State Bar. His firm was listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Law Firms in family law, tier one.
Area of focus: Family law
 
MICHAEL LEE (See Legal Elite profile), Lee Law Firm
 
ERICA B. LEWIS
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo
Title: Managing partner
Education: University of California, Davis (B.S.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Lewis founded the Wilmington office of Hedrick Gardner. Under her leadership as office managing partner, the practice has flourished and continues to be one of the largest law firms in Wilmington. She holds an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell and was most recently recognized in the 2014 listing in The Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.
Areas of focus: Practice focuses on appellate advocacy, employment law and workers’ compensation
 
JOHN D. MARTIN (See Legal Elite profile), Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog
 
JEAN SUTTON MARTIN (See Legal Elite profile), Rhine Martin Law Firm
 
JOEL R. RHINE (See Legal Elite profile), Rhine Martin Law Firm
 
LINDA B. SAYED (See Legal Elite profile), Block, Crouch, Keeter, Behm & Sayed
 
GARY K. SHIPMAN
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Shipman & Wright
Title: Partner
Education: UNCW (B.A.); Campbell University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Shipman has been practicing since 1980. He has handled more than 100 jury trials to verdict during his career.
Area of focus: Complex civil
 
R. CLARKE SPEAKS
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Speaks Law Firm
Title: Attorney
Age: 44
Education: East Carolina University (B.S.); Campbell University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Speaks is the founder of his law firm. “We aggressively pursue the legal objectives of our clients. Our clients are those who are injured in accidents, accused of crimes, involved in civil or commercial lawsuits or facing divorce and custody disputes,” he said. Speaks said the firm represents individuals and corporations in state and federal court at all levels of the civil and criminal process.
Area of focus: Personal injury
 
RYAL W. TAYLOE
Category: Super Lawyers
Firm: Ward and Smith
Title: Attorney
Age: 55
Education: UNC Chapel Hill (A.B.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Career highlights: “Highs and lows occur every day in the wide world of litigation and dispute resolution. A typical highlight for me is leading a client to a resolution that makes the most sense, whether it be an early settlement or courtroom trial,” Tayloe said.
Areas of focus: Commercial, real estate and construction
 
Super Lawyers - Rising Stars

A number of local attorneys also were named to Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list this year. To be eligible for the Rising Stars category, candidates have to be either 40 or younger or in practice for 10 years or less.
 
SETH P. BUSKIRK
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Clark, Newton and Evans
Title: Lawyer
Education: Appalachian State University (B.S., cum laude); Campbell University (J.D., cum laude)
Career highlights: Buskirk has represented clients in numerous maritime and inland transportation matters including: vessel collisions, fixed structure and cargo damage, personal injuries, wrongful death, limitation of liability actions, vessel arrest and sale, towing and salvage, charter party disputes and shipboard investigations on behalf of protection and indemnity clubs. He has also represented clients in areas of commercial, real estate and planned community governance law.
Areas of focus: Maritime and transportation law
 
STEPHEN E. COBLE
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Coble Law Firm
Title: Attorney, manager
Education: Elon College (B.A.); Appalachian State University (MPA); University of Dayton (J.D.)
Career highlights: North Carolina Lawyers Weekly named Coble an Emerging Legal Leader in 2010. He also was named on the Super Lawyers-Rising Star list in 2012.
Area of focus: General civil litigation

TRIP COYNE
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Williams Mullen
Title: Attorney
Age: 34
Education: Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Coyne served for two terms as law clerk to the N.C. Business Court.
Areas of focus: Business law and
litigation
 
SAMUEL B. FRANCK
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Ward and Smith
Title: Attorney
Age: 38
Education: Virginia Tech (B.S.); College of William and Mary (J.D.)
Career highlights: “I value every opportunity to help clients resolve problems, particularly those that benefit from creative thinking and practical diligence,” Franck said. “Some examples include the negotiation and consummation of sophisticated multiple party transactions; the development of condominiums for mixed-use, commercial and residential projects; restoration of the legal components of failed developments; and facilitating cooperative solutions for owners’ associations.”
Areas of focus: Board-certified specialist in real property law-commercial transactions; condominium and planned community development; and representation of owners associations
 
JANET L. GEMMELL (See Legal Elite profile), Cape Fear Family Law
 
DALTON B. GREEN

Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo
Title: Partner
Education: UNC Chapel Hill (B.A.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Green has a special interest in the issues raised by the interplay between workers’ compensation and employment laws such as the FMLA, ADA and REDA. She has a background in the impact of an employee’s use of technology, including social media and the Internet, as well as employer-sanctioned mobile devices. She speaks regularly at employment seminars, is involved with Lower Cape Fear HRA and is a published contributor to DRI’s flagship magazine For the Defense.
Areas of focus: Employment law and workers’ compensation defense
 
JUSTIN HUMPHRIES
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Humphries & King
Title: Partner
Age: 32
Education: University of South Carolina (B.S.); Campbell University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Humphries is dually licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. He has appeared before the N. C. Court of Appeals on three occasions, secured dismissal of civil and criminal charges.
Area of focus: Business litigation
 
MELODY J. JOLLY
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog
Title: Associate attorney
Age: 34
Education: UNC Chapel Hill (B.A. and J.D.)
Career highlights: Jolly has successfully litigated cases at the trial court level as well as before the N.C. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She also devotes considerable time to counseling professionals on their ethical obligations and with regard to potential malpractice claims in an effort to help her clients avoid lawsuits. She is an active participant in the Defense Research Institute, specifically the professional liability committee, and she is vice chairwoman of the firm’s professional liability practice group.
Areas of focus: Professional liability defense and construction
 
CHRISTOPHER J. LEONARD, Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
 
STEPHEN S. LOGUE JR.
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Murchison Taylor & Gibson
Title: Attorney
Age: 35
Education: N.C. State (B.S.); UNC Chapel Hill (J.D.); New York University (LLM, Taxation)
Career highlights: Logue has represented a number of national lenders in connection with construction and permanent financing totaling about $1 billion in lending transactions in the past few years. He has represented regional lender regarding real estate matters related to the foreclosure of numerous residential subdivisions and commercial properties in southeastern North Carolina. Logue also has represented regional lender in the disposition of foreclosed properties, including large residential subdivisions, commercial properties and future development tracts.
Area of focus:  Distressed real estate
 
ANDREW NETTLEMAN, Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
The Nettleman Law Firm

JAMES TIMOTHY MOORE
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Shipman & Wright
TITLE: Associate attorney
Age: 33
Education: UNCW (B.S.); Campbell University (J.D.)
Areas of focus: Wrongful death and personal injury litigation
 
WILLIAM A. ODEN III
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Ward and Smith
Title: Attorney
Age: 35
Education: UNC Chapel Hill (B.A.); Campbell University (J.D./M.B.A.)
Career highlights: Oden’s practice focuses on employment, occupational safety and health and workers’ compensation. A former president of the New Hanover County Bar Association and Lower Cape Fear HR Association, he currently serves on NCSHRM’s Leadership Council and as NCSHRM’s Governmental Affairs co-chairman.  Oden also was selected to participate in the N.C. Bar Association’s 2014 Leadership Academy. 
Areas of focus: Employment law, employment litigation, occupational safety and health and workers’ compensation
 
JILL RASPET
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Smith Moore Leatherwood
Title: Partner
Age: 35
Education: UNCW (B.S.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Raspet is a member of her trusts and estates team in Smith Moore Leatherwood’s Wilmington office. She assists clients in drafting and executing comprehensive estate plans, with specific emphasis on estate tax, gift tax and charitable gift planning.
Areas of focus: Board-certified specialist in estate planning and probate law and CPA
 
JAMES F. RUTHERFORD
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Mason & Rutherford
Title: Partner
Age: 36
Education: UNCW (B.S.); Michigan State University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Rutherford practices law in state and federal courts. He said that being certified by the N.C. State Bar as a specialist in criminal law as well as being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers have been his greatest professional honors so far.
Area of focus: Certified specialist in criminal law
 
REBECCA A. SCHERRER
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Hamlet & Associates
Title: Attorney
Age: 35
Education: UNCW (B.A.); Northeastern University (J.D.)
Career highlights: Scherrer focuses her practice on construction and commercial litigation. She has litigated cases before the trial court and the N.C. Court of Appeals and has successfully defended her clients against claims of wrongful death, breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices. She is currently the secretary and treasurer of the New Hanover County Bar Association.
Areas of focus: Construction and litigation
 
FAISON G. SUTTON
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Murchison, Taylor & Gibson
Title: Member (partner)
Age: 34
Education: Duke University (B.A.); UNC Chapel Hill (J.D.)
Career highlights: Sutton advises real estate developers in the acquisition, development, subdivision, zoning, leasing and sale of real property and assists with the formation and management of residential planned communities, commercial and residential condominiums, timeshare and fractional interest projects, shopping center facilities, office complexes and mixed-use developments.  
Areas of focus: Commercial real estate and development
 
JASON E. TOUPS
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog
Title: Partner
Age: 33
Education: Louisiana State University (B.A.); Mercer University (J.D.)
Career highlights: “Being named partner this past year has probably been the single biggest accomplishment of my professional career thus far,” Toups said. “Being recognized this way by my peers has meant a great deal to me, and the huge support I have received from the local community in reaction to this accomplishment has been extremely humbling. I am truly blessed to live and work in such a great community and firm, surrounded by so many good, hardworking people.”
Areas of focus: Workers’ compensation and subrogation
 
ALLEN N. TRASK III (See Legal Elite profile), Ward and Smith
 
THOMAS G. VARNUM
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard
Title: Attorney
Age: 31
Education: UNC Chapel Hill (B.A., with honors); University of California, Davis (J.D.)
Career highlights: In his intellectual property practice, Thomas helps clients acquire, protect, enforce and exploit their intellectual property rights. He also represents individuals and companies in all types of entertainment projects. In addition, Thomas provides general business counseling to all types of businesses in the area. Thomas is a member of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission and a supporter of the Cucalorus Film Festival.
Areas of focus: Intellectual property, film/entertainment, civil litigation and general business counseling
 
KASEY WAGNER
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: The Law Offices of Richard Flexner
Title: Partner
Age: 34
Education: Wake Forest University (B.A. and J.D.)
Career highlights: Wagner represents injured individuals in a variety of cases including nursing home abuse, automobile accidents, premises liability incidents, trucking accidents and wrongful death. Previously, she spent five years litigating injury cases for insurance companies.
Area of focus: Plaintiffs’ personal injury
 
BRETT WENTZ
Category: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars
Firm: Wentz Law
Age: 34
Education: East Carolina University (B.A.); Campbell University (J.D.)

To see a list of area attorneys named to the Legal Elite list, click here. 
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