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Lawyers in the News August 2023

Lawyers in the News August 2023

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New associations 

Alan Castro has joined Horton & Mendez, a personal injury practice, of Wilmington. His experience includes personal injury, employment, business, insurance defense and corporate law and contract public defense work. 

Dr. Amy Clay of Poyner Spruill’s office in Raleigh has been elected to serve on the board of Housing Options for Students Today. The organization addresses housing needs for college students by matching students with volunteer hosts who provide safe, private housing. Clay focuses her practice on education law and is a qualified Title IX investigator and decision-maker. She also holds a doctorate in school psychology from N.C. State University. 

Drew Heath has joined Nelson Mullins as a partner and state lobbyist in its government relations group. He formerly served as director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, state budget director, secretary for the Council of State, chairman of the N.C. Industrial Commission and as a Superior Court judge. 

Sarah Jacobs has rejoined the Charlotte office of Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings as a partner in its health care practice group. She represents care providers in regulatory, transactional, value-based and operational matters; advises senior leadership teams; and provides strategic, workable solutions for health care operations. 

Sean M. Sullivan has rejoined Williams Mullen’s environment and natural resources group as a partner in the firm’s Raleigh office. He advises clients on major federal environmental programs, with a particular emphasis on hazardous waste, brownfields redevelopment, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and emerging contaminants such as PFAS and 1,4-dioxane. 

Law firms 

Moore & Van Allen of Charlotte is co-sponsoring the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Project to help trafficking survivors who also were financially exploited return to fiscal stability. The program includes providing credit repair services and connecting survivors to safe banking. The program’s co-sponsors are Lexington Law and 

Two attorneys for Ward & Smith, Charles Ellis and Hugh Overholt, have been appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to the plaintiffs’ leadership team for claims brought under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Ellis and Overholt, who also is a retired Army major general, will serve as liaisons between the court and other attorneys for the plaintiffs. Ellis works in Ward & Smith’s office in Greenville, and Overholt is in its office in New Bern. 

Moore & Van Allen and Robinson Bradshaw announced that Charlotte Legal Initiative to Mobilize Businesses has received 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. The program also is supported by the Charlotte offices of eight other law firms: McGuire Woods, Bradley, Alston & Bird, Cadwalader, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Mayer Brown, Parker Poe and Troutman Pepper. 

Robinson Bradshaw has been named the No. 2 best midsize law firm to work for in Vault Law’s 2024 national rankings. Vault also ranked Robinson Bradshaw first in the nation for career outlook, pro bono and associate satisfaction; second for associate/partner relations, firm culture and selectivity; and third for quality of work. Robinson Bradshaw is a Carolinas-based law firm with national practices. 

Fifteen lawyers and paralegals from Wells Fargo 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 from the bank’s offices in Charlotte helped 13 tenants facing serious problems with their living conditions. Participating in the effort were Craig Baldauf, executive vice president and deputy general counsel; Jose Bermudez, lead counsel; Natali Bollinger, senior paralegal; Loretta Carty, senior counsel; Gloria Fazzolari, lead counsel; Annie George, lead counsel; Sarah Hayden, paralegal; Glenn Huether, lead counsel; David Lamothe, assistant counsel; Ryan Larkin, managing counsel; Mark Metz, deputy general counsel; Brittany Mullen, senior counsel; Kasasira Mwine, e-discovery project manager; Anna O’Neal, managing counsel and senior vice president; Bryan Riddle, senior counsel; and Ben White, senior counsel. 

Robert El-Jaouhari and Elizabeth Stephens, both of Cranfill Sumner’s Raleigh office, have been named as vice chairs of the firm’s administrative, regulatory and government law practice group. The group advises businesses, individuals, professionals and local governments on trending federal and state regulatory issues. El-Jaouhari, a partner, is a real estate and regulatory litigator whose practice includes defense of real estate industry professionals, multimillion-dollar real estate disputes, regulatory rulemaking and permitting, and 1,4-dioxane regulations. Stephens, who is of counsel, focuses her practice on municipal, labor, employment, regulatory and administrative law. She also has acted as a municipal and business lobbyist in North Carolina and Wisconsin. 


Chris Dwight has been elected a partner at Poyner Spruill in its Rocky Mount office. He advises clients on a broad range of corporate and securities matters, including corporate reorganizations, restructurings, commercial contracts, corporate governance, the formation and maintenance of business entities, and securities offerings. 

Lenneka “Nikki” Feliciano has been appointed chair of the board of directors of Legal Aid of North Carolina. A partner at Pinto, Coates, Kyre, & Bowers, her practice includes worker’s compensation, insurance defense, insurance coverage, personal injury litigation, subrogation, commercial litigation and construction litigation. Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people. 

Elizabeth Stephens has been promoted to the position of of counsel in the Raleigh office of Cranfill Sumner. She practices municipal, labor, employment, administrative and regulatory law and represents municipal interests before the North Carolina General Assembly, particularly in regulatory, administrative, and environmental matters. 


The Shumaker law firm and three of its intellectual property partners, Patrick Horne, Alex Long and Jason Smith, have been recognized as among the top patent attorneys in the world with their inclusion in the Patent 1000 attorneys list from Intellectual Asset Management. Horne serves as Shumaker’s intellectual property and technology regional service line leader. Long has been a member of the United States Patent Bar since 2005 and has extensive experience in patent, trademark, and copyright prosecution as well as counseling and licensing. Smith has more than a decade of experience and concentrates his practice in patent application preparation, prosecution, and post-grant proceedings, as well as opinion work and client counseling.  

Alex Riddle of the law firm Riddle & Brantley in Goldsboro has been certified as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. She was approved for membership based on her performance as lead counsel in a motorcycle accident case that resulted in a seven-figure confidential settlement in favor of her seriously injured client.  

Gene Riddle of Riddle and Brantley’s Raleigh office was recently designated a “Top 10 Trucking Trial Lawyer” by The National Trial Lawyers. The honor recognizes trial lawyers with vast knowledge and expertise in truck accident cases. Riddle is the founder and managing partner of Riddle & Brantley, and he has represented the victims of truck accidents for almost 40 years. 

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.  

Alex J. Hagan of Ellis & Winters’ office in Raleigh has been elected secretary-treasurer of the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel. The association is an invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests. At Ellis & Winters, he leads the litigation group and is a member of the firm’s management committee.  

Patricia A. Markus, a partner at Nelson Mullins office in Raleigh, began her one-year term as the president of the American Health Law Association on July 1. Markus represents health care providers and health technology companies nationwide on regulatory compliance, reimbursement, licensure, operational matters, health information privacy, security, and technology. 

Submit notices for Lawyers in the Law to Ross Chandler at [email protected].

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