Achievers & Accolades

Area Attorneys Chosen For 2019 Rising Stars List

By Staff Reports, posted Apr 5, 2019
A number of local attorneys also were named to Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list. To be eligible for the Rising Stars category, candidates have to be either 40 or younger or in practice for 10 years or less.


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Estate Planning & Probate
FIRM: Kohut & Adams PA
TITLE: Shareholder
EDUCATION: Ferris State University (B.A.); University of Detroit Mercy (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Adams has practiced in Wilmington since 2011 and is a member of the N.C. Bar Association Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law and Elder and Special Needs Law sections. She has served on the boards of the New Hanover County Estate Planning Council and Coastal Women Attorneys.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Estate planning, trust and estate administration, guardianships, elder law and special needs planning


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Estate Planning & Probate
FIRM: Ward and Smith P.A.
TITLE: Attorney
EDUCATION: Washington and Lee University (B.A.); Duke University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Carter advises individuals, families and closely-held business owners on estate and business succession planning issues, gift planning to reduce potential estate taxes and the preparation of gift tax returns, as well as the administration of estates.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Asset protection planning; business succession planning; estate administration; estate planning; trust and guardianship law


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Workers’ Compensation
FIRM: Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo
TITLE: Partner
EDUCATION: N.C. State University (B.A.); Campbell University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Collins became a partner of Hedrick Gardner in 2017. She has published multiple articles on Medicare compliance and regularly presents at client seminars and industry conferences on Medicare compliance and workers’ compensation subjects.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Workers’ compensation; Medicare Set-Asides and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Bankruptcy/Consumer
FIRM: Cape Fear Debt Relief
TITLE: Owner and Managing Attorney
EDUCATION: UNC-Chapel Hill (undergraduate and J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Cook is one of only a few attorneys in Wilmington recognized by the N.C. State Bar as a board-certified specialist in business and consumer bankruptcy law. He founded Cape Fear Debt Relief in 2011 as a boutique bankruptcy law firm that represents both debtors and creditors in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 cases.
AREA OF FOCUS: Bankruptcy


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: General Litigation
FIRM: Ward and Smith P.A.
TITLE: Attorney
EDUCATION: Appalachian State University (B.S.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Coyne has significant experience in corporate, construction, commercial, class action, maritime and real property litigation, and regularly appears as lead or local counsel throughout the state and federal courts of North and South Carolina, as well as in other jurisdictions.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Appeals; business, civil and commercial litigation; construction litigation; maritime and admiralty; mergers and acquisitions; and contract negotiation and drafting


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Estate Planning & Probate FIRM: Dugan & Leger PLLC
TITLE: Attorney
EDUCATION: N.C. State University (B.A.); Penn State University (J.D. and M.B.A.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Fernez is a member of the N.C. Bar Association; N.C. Bar Association, Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section; N.C. Bar Association, Elder Law Section; and New Hanover County Bar Association.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Estate planning; elder law; Medicaid planning and applications; estate administration and probate; guardianship; business law; and real estate


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Bankruptcy/Business FIRM: Butler & Butler LLP
TITLE: Associate
EDUCATION: UNC-Chapel Hill (B.S.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Prior to law school, Fritz served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. He joined Butler & Butler as an associate after serving as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Catherine R. Aron and the Hon. William L. Stocks with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Representing debtors, creditors and the Chapter 7 Trustee in both consumer and business bankruptcy cases, and also has represented creditors and clients in a variety of other civil practice areas


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Immigration
FIRM: Helen Tarokic Law PLLC
TITLE: Associate Attorney EDUCATION: N.C. State University (B.A.); Wake Forest University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Haddock prepares U visas, assisting victims of crime and domestic violence, and fights for a spectrum of immigrant rights. Under President Clinton’s Violence Against Women Act 1994 (VAWA statute), Haddock has obtained legal status for immigrant victims of extreme battery and cruelty at the hands of their U.S. citizen spouses.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Immigration law, fluent in Spanish


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Family Law
FIRM: Cape Fear Family Law
TITLE: Attorney
EDUCATION: Campbell University (B.A.); Elon University (J.D.)
AREAS OF FOCUS: Family law


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Civil Litigation/Defense (See Legal Elite profile), Hamlet & Associates PLLC
See Humphries' Legal Elite list profile


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Business/Corporate
FIRM: The Humphries Law Firm
TITLE: Managing Partner
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 and has practiced maritime law in federal courts in Virginia and North Carolina.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Business litigation


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Professional Liability/ Defense
FIRM: Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP
TITLE: Attorney
EDUCATION: UNC-Chapel Hill (B.A. and J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Jolly leads Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog’s Professional Liability section and has also maintained an active leadership role in the Defense Research Institutes’s Professional Liability Committee since 2009, currently serving as its vice chair.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Community association law, construction law, professional liability


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Criminal Defense (See Legal Elite profile), Burney & Jones
See Jones’ Legal Elite list profile


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Estate Planning & Probate
FIRM: Murchison, Taylor & Gibson PLLC
TITLE: Partner/Member
EDUCATION: UNCW (B.A. and B.S.); Campbell University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Miars’ practice experience includes a wide range of business and transactional, estate and trust-related matters. Her practice is primarily devoted to representing privately owned businesses and business owners, counseling them in all phases of their business life, from formation or acquisition, to planning, strategy and growth, through sale and transition.
AREAS OF FOCUS: Business law and taxation; mergers and acquisitions; estate planning and probate; estate and trust litigation


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Criminal Defense/White Collar) (See Legal Elite profile), Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog
See Mincey's Legal Elite list profile


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Criminal Defense
FIRM: The Law Group
TITLE: Partner
EDUCATION: UNC-Chapel Hill (B.A.); Elon University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Nettleman has practiced law in Wilmington since 2010, when he opened The Nettleman Law Firm with his wife. In 2015 he joined The Law Group as a partner. He practices in the areas of criminal defense and employment law.
AREAS OF FOCUS: State and federal criminal defense, DWI, drug offenses, violent crime, sexual offenses, state unemployment appeals


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Business Litigation
FIRM: The Regan Law Firm
TITLE: Founder
EDUCATION: Mary Washington College (B.A.); Campbell University (J.D.)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Regan represents businesses and individuals in transactions as well as in litigation before North Carolina’s trial and appellate courts, including the N.C. Business Court and all three of the state’s federal district courts. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army having served as a non-commissioned officer in the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
AREAS OF FOCUS: Litigation, business law, real estate, construction law


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: General Litigation  
FIRM: Fox Rothschild LLP  
TITLE: Partner  
EDUCATION: N.C. State (B.A.); New England School of Law (J.D.)  
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Tarrant concentrates his practice on representing and advising clients on complex business, financial, real estate, commercial association and land use matters. He regularly represents a variety of litigation clients in state and federal court and community associations in governance and enforcement issues, as well as energy and utility companies, developers, builders, property owners and local governments in land use, permitting and municipal law matters.  
AREAS OF FOCUS: Business litigation, real estate, community associations, land use and development


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers- Rising Stars: Real Estate  
FIRM: Theriault Law  
TITLE: President  
EDUCATION: UNC-Chapel Hill (J.D.)  
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Theriault first received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating in 2014. The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys included him on its 2015 list of Top 10 under 40 in North Carolina. He also was named among The National Trial Lawyers top 40 trial lawyers in North Carolina under the age of 40 from 2012 to 2017.  
AREA OF FOCUS: Civil litigation


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Workers’ Compensation  
FIRM: McAngus, Goudelock & Courie  
TITLE: Attorney  
EDUCATION: Louisiana State University (B.A.); Mercer University (J.D.)  
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Toups has advised and defended North Carolina employers and municipalities against workers’ compensation and other employee disability claims since moving to Wilmington in 2006. He is a frequent presenter at various regional and statewide industry-related conferences and regularly provides education and training to local employers and their employees about workplace safety, disability, investigation and defense against workplace injuries.  
AREAS OF FOCUS: Workers’ compensation and subrogation


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Business Litigation  
FIRM: Ward and Smith P.A.  
TITLE: Attorney  
EDUCATION: East Carolina University (B.S.); Campbell University (J.D.)  
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Trask focuses his practice on assisting those who own, manage and invest in real estate and common interest communities. He has experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including depositions, hearings, mediations, arbitrations, trials and appeals. He is the leader of Ward and Smith’s Agribusiness practice, where he coordinates the firm’s resources to address the specialized issues facing clients in the agribusiness community.  
AREAS OF FOCUS: Agribusiness, industrial hemp and cannabidiol (CBD); civil litigation and arbitration; real estate developers and community associations; zoning and land use


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Intellectual Property (See Legal Elite profile), Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard
See Varnum's Legal Elite list profile


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Criminal Defense  
FIRM: Wentz Law  
TITLE: Founder  
EDUCATION: East Carolina University (B.A.); Campbell University (J.D.)  
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Wentz is the founder of his law firm. “I started doing this to help people, and having the ability to do that on my own is one of the highlights,” he said.  
AREA OF FOCUS: Criminal defense


CATEGORY: Super Lawyers-Rising Stars: Personal Injury General/ Plaintiff  
FIRM: Ward and Smith P.A.  
TITLE: Attorney  
EDUCATION: UNC-Chapel Hill (B.A. and J.D.); Duke University (M.P.P.)  
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Wilson leads Ward and Smith’s Personal Injury and Wrongful Death practice. He has extensive experience litigating claims for wrongful death, serious personal injury and a broad range of civil litigation before state and federal courts, including cases involving vehicle accidents, professional malpractice, premises liability, products liability and class actions, among other areas.  
AREAS OF FOCUS: Civil litigation; personal injury; medical malpractice; premises liability; insurance coverage and litigation; business, commercial and contract litigation

See Wilson's Legal Elite list profile
Ico insights


Dallas headshot 300x300

Protecting What You Care About: Business, Family, & Employees

Dallas Romanowski - Cornerstone Business Advisors
Img 1576c1

What We Think is Unique About Our Firm

Eddie Nowell - South Atlantic Capital Management Group
Geofflosee300x300 10221511305

Got Flood Insurance? Get That Proof of Loss Form in Quickly!

Geoffrey Losee - Rountree Losee LLP

Trending News

Entrepreneur Richard Johnson's Latest Project Aims To Boost Burgaw

Johanna Cano - Jun 14, 2019

Nearly Done With The Pearl, Developer Plans 32 More Downtown Apartments

Cece Nunn - Jun 14, 2019

Plastics Molding Manufacturer Gets Its Start In Wilmington

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jun 14, 2019

New Hanover Regional Grows To A $1.2B Operation

Vicky Janowski - Jun 14, 2019

Field Of Vision

Jenny Callison - Jun 14, 2019

In The Current Issue

Manufacturer On Board To Invest $25M

With its proximity to the Cape Fear River and customer markets, the Wilmington area provides an essential location for National Gypsum, a gy...

NHRMC Recognized For Patient Experience

New Hanover Regional Medical Center was recognized for its patient experience through the Healthgrades 2019 Outstanding Patient Experience A...

Building Efforts To Attract Workers

With demand running high for construction industry workers, officials with area training programs and companies are looking for ways to attr...

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`
Transporting the Future - Power Breakfast 3.12.2019
Health Care Heroes 2018