H. L. Stephenson, III

P: 252.215.4004
F: 252.215.4077

An attorney‑client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement. The content of any unsolicited email sent to Ward and Smith, P.A., or to any of its attorneys at an email address available on this website, will not create an attorney‑client relationship and the contents of such unsolicited email shall not be considered confidential. Therefore, do not use this website or the email addresses available on this website to provide confidential information about yourself or a legal matter to Ward and Smith or any of its attorneys.

Mailing Address:
Post Office Box 8088
Greenville, NC 27835-8088

Professional Experience

Mr. Stephenson leads the Firm's business development and client relationship efforts.  His practice experience encompasses business law (including formations, transfers and acquisitions, tax planning, and controversies) and estate planning.  Most of Mr. Stephenson's legal career has been devoted to counseling business owners and managers, and other professionals, on a diverse range of legal and business issues.  He has lectured extensively on business law, tax, and estate planning matters, and has authored and co-authored manuscripts on those subjects.  Mr. Stephenson presently is engaged in building and maintaining relationships with business managers and professionals across a broad range of industries.  He also has been and remains involved in a broad array of civic, charitable, economic development, and philanthropic activities.  Mr. Stephenson has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his fields of law.

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1982
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States Tax Court

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2006-2007
  • Board Member of the Year, North Carolina Area Council, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 2014
  • Pitt County Citizen of the Year, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, 2014


  • LL.M., Taxation, College of William & Mary Law School, 1983
  • J.D., The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1982
  • A.B., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1979

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Beaufort County Committee of 100
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Pitt County, Inc. (board member; Advisory Board member; foundation board member; past president; leader of two capital campaigns; chairman, Resource Development Committee)
  • East Carolina Estate Planning Council (past president)
  • East Carolina University Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, Inc. (past board member; past president; honorary board member)
  • Martin County Committee of 100
  • North Carolina Bar Association—Sections: Business Law; Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law; Tax Law
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center Eastern Advisory Committee (committee member; past vice chairman; chairman)
  • North Carolina Community Foundation (past Pitt County Advisory Board member; past chairman of Pitt County Advisory Board)
  • North Carolina Economic Developers Association
  • Pitt County Committee of 100 (past president; past board member; legal counsel)
  • Pitt County Educational Foundation, Inc. (board member; chairman of the board)
  • Small Business & Technology Development Center (Advisory Board member; past vice chairman of Advisory Board)

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions: www.bestlawyers.com; businessnc.com/special-sections/legal-elite/; and www.superlawyers.com/north-carolina.

Practice Groups

Practice Concentrations

  • Closely-Held Businesses and Owners
  • High Net-Worth Individuals
  • Nonprofit Organizations

Peer rated