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Lawyers in the News – July 2023

Lawyers in the News – July 2023

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New associations 

Leigh Brady has been named chief executive officer of the State Employees’ Credit Union. The first female CEO, she has spent 35 years at SECU and served as chief operating officer since 2021, previously holding leadership positions in various areas of the organization including human resources, communication, organizational development, accounting, marketing and auditing.

Kevin Ceglowski has joined the Raleigh office of Smith Anderson as a partner in the workplace law team. His employment law experience includes representation of employers in both state and federal court in a variety of areas, including defending discrimination charges, counsel and advice and drafting employee handbooks and policies.

Poyner Spruill announced that Marieé Walton has joined the firm as its chief operating officer, based in the Raleigh office. Prior to joining the firm, she was the chief administrative officer of a private equity startup in New York City.

Phil Thomas and Kevin Cline have joined Chalmers, Adams, Backer & Kaufman in the firm’s Raleigh office. Both focus on political and government law and civil litigation, with Thomas formerly serving as chief counsel and political director of the North Carolina Republican Party and Cline having served as the Republic National Committee’s election integrity counsel in North Carolina.

Gordon, Rees, Scully, Mansukhani has added Megan Stacy as a partner in its Raleigh office, where she joins the construction, commercial litigation, product & general liability and trucking and transportation practice groups.

The Charlotte office of Seyfarth Shaw has added Andrew Quesnelle as a partner in the firm’s labor and employment department, where he will bring nearly 17 years of experience in labor and employment law, litigation, investigations, labor, and employee relations and benefits.

Tanisha Palvia has joined Moore & Van Allen’s white collar and government enforcement defense group in the Charlotte office. She focuses her practice on representing individuals and corporations in white collar criminal defense and other government enforcement matters, as well as representing clients in internal investigations.

Law Firms 

Smith, Currie & Hancock and Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker, both construction and federal government contract law firms, have announced their combination. The firm will use Smith Currie Oles and Smith Currie, along with corresponding logos, under the auspices of Smith, Currie & Hancock. The firm will now include 76 attorneys across seven offices, including Charlotte.


Eleanor Gilroy has been promoted to the position of of counsel by Cranfill Sumner. Based in the firm’s Raleigh office, she practices in the civil litigation section and defends clients in a variety of matters, including cases involving premises liability, personal injury, construction defects, motor vehicle accidents and business disputes.

Wake Family Law Group promoted two attorneys in its Raleigh office to partner: Rachel Beard and Melanie Phillips. Beard is a board-certified family law specialist focusing on family law negotiations and litigation; she is also a certified parenting coordinator in high-conflict custody matters and certified as a family financial mediator. Phillips, a member of the Family Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and the Wake County Bar Association, is a board-certified family law specialist representing clients in all North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations.


Lesley Attkisson Lewis has been selected as a winner of The M&A Advisor’s 14th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards, chosen from a pool of nominees based on her accomplishments in business and service to the community. A partner in the Charlotte office of Moore & Van Allen, Lewis handles a broad range of corporate transactional matters, with a focus on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, carve-out transactions and private equity investments. She is a member of the firm’s public service committee and has served on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Hope Gala Committee since 2019.

Cranfill Sumner partner Robert H. Griffin in Raleigh recently competed training and is now a certified Superior Court mediator with the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. Chair of the firm’s trucking and commercial transportation practice group and co-chair of the civil litigation section, he concentrates his practice in the defense of trucking and commercial transportation claims and lawsuits.

Five attorneys from Brandley Arant Boult Cummings’ office in Charlotte have been inducted into the 2022 North Carolina Attorney Pro Bono Honor Society: Leah M. Campbell, Matt S. DeAntonio, Rachel M. LaBruyere, Najla Long and Amy E. Puckett were recognized for providing more than 50 hours of pro bono legal services to North Carolina residents who are unable to afford legal assistance. The attorneys are involved in several pro bono efforts, including working with Safe Alliance’s Victim Assistance/Legal Representation Program, Second Harvest Food Bank, Council for Children’s Rights, Habitat for Humanity and the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

Moore & Van Allen and Robinson Bradshaw announced that Charlotte Legal Initiative to Mobilize Businesses (CLIMB) is the recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association’s 2023 Filling the Justice Gap Award. CLIMB provides pro bono business law services to historically under-represented entrepreneurs and small business owners of limited means through a network of volunteer lawyers from Charlotte law firms. In its 18-month pilot program, CLIMB volunteer lawyers provided nearly 1,000 hours of direct pro bono services to 54 clients. Conceived in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020, CLIMB is now supported by the Charlotte offices of 10 law firms. In addition to Robinson Bradshaw and Moore & Van Allen, McGuire Woods, Bradley, Alston & Bird, Cadwalader, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Mayer Brown, Parker Poe and Troutman Pepper have committed volunteers and financial support to CLIMB.

Professional groups 

Andy Banzhoff, a partner at Devereux & Banzhoff in Asheville, began his one-year term as the 49th president of North Carolina Advocates for Justice on July 1. A board-certified specialist in state and federal criminal law by the North Carolina State Bar, he concentrates his practice on criminal trial and appellate litigation and has served as president of the Buncombe County Criminal Defense Attorney’s Association.

Fifteen lawyers and paralegals from Wells Fargo — including Deputy General Counsel Mark Metz — provided free legal advice as part of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Lawyer on the Line Program, which connects Legal Aid NC clients with free legal advice over the phone. The volunteers, located at the bank’s offices in Charlotte, helped 13 tenants facing serious problems with their living conditions, everything from mold to sewage backups.

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