Matthew A. Cordell

Business, Privacy & Regulatory Lawyer
919.277.9196 919.277.9177
Post Office Box 33009, Raleigh, NC 27636-3009

Matt's practice encompasses a broad spectrum of business and regulatory matters, with a particular emphasis on financial institutions and financial services. He handles business transactions, securities offerings and reporting, mergers and acquisitions, corporate matters, lending and financing, consumer protection compliance, and privacy and information security issues, as well as a variety of matters involving government and quasi-governmental entities. Matt leads the Privacy and Information Security Practice Group, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional.  He is a frequent writer and speaker on privacy and information security issues, as well as on corporate, banking and commercial law matters. He has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his fields of law, and has been recognized by a number of organizations and peer surveys. 

Matt is an active leader in the legal profession, serving in a number of statewide leadership roles, including as Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division. In addition to his passion for helping his clients meet their goals, he enjoys contributing to his communities. He devotes significant time to providing free ("pro bono publico") legal services for the benefit of those in his communities.


  • J.D., with honors, The University of North Carolina School of Law, 2007. The North Carolina Law Review.
  • M.B.A., with distinction, Campbell University, 2004
  • B.B.A., summa cum laude, Trust and Investment Management, Campbell University, 2004

Representative Experience

  • Advised a banking organization in the merger of a multi-billion dollar federal savings association into a state-chartered bank, obtaining regulatory approvals from federal regulators and state regulators in 18 jurisdictions
  • Negotiated and closed $10 million sale of portfolio of mortgage loans
  • Advised a large U.S. banking organization with respect to establishing its first European office
  • Represented a bank in multi-state branch purchase transaction
  • Represented a bank in establishment of trust department and broker-dealer/investment advisor relationships and related compliance issues
  • Represented bank in $17 million loan transaction for construction and development of mixed use coastal development
  • Assisted energy company in the creation and implementation of a fuel purchase card program
  • Assisted money transmitter business with creation and implementation of compliance programs
  • Advised banking organizations in hundreds of regulatory compliance matters
  • Represented NASDAQ-listed public shell company in successful reverse merger transaction
  • Prepared proxy statements (for M&A transactions and annual meetings), periodic reports (10-Ks, 10-Qs) and current reports (8-Ks) for multiple public companies
  • Represented acquirers and sellers in public and privacy company mergers and asset transactions ranging from $100,000 to $50 million
  • Efficiently represented purchasers in small company asset acquisitions valued at less than $100,000
  • Represented director in SEC investigation of trading practices
  • Advised companies regarding federal and state ("blue sky") exemptions and strategic deal structures in private securities offerings.  Filed appropriate notices with the SEC and all state securities regulators
  • Represented organizations, including online retailers, business associates of healthcare entities, and institutions of higher education, in data breach response efforts following nationwide data security breaches involving tens of thousands of individuals' personal information
  • Advised healthcare provider in strategic agreements with software developers, vendors and business associates
  • Represented large credit reporting agency, background check provider, and record keeping company in developing products and services and in contract negotiations with healthcare providers, employers and educational institutions
  • Represented healthcare company in investigation by attorney general over marketing and data use practices
  • Advised financial institutions, healthcare providers, business associates and educational institutions regarding responses to subpoenas, government investigations and other records requests
  • Advised and formed more than one hundred start-up companies with a variety of ownership and tax structures
  • Represented high growth technologies companies in negotiations with angel investors, venture capitalists and institutional investors
  • Represented founder of closely-held company in dispute and division of company assets and liabilities with co-founder
  • Advised regarding re-capitalization of manufacturing company to reduce debt financing and permit investment non-voting preferred stockholders
  • Advised national fire suppression system company regarding North Carolina licensing and compliance issues
  • Represented breweries, wineries, distilleries, cigar manufacturers, importers, and retailers before the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Consulted textile manufacturer regarding import and export requirements, origin disclosures, and product safety requirements
  • Advised toy manufacturer regarding child and consumer protection requirements

Reported Decisions

RL REGI North Carolina LLC v. Lighthouse Cove, LLC et. al., 762 S.E.2d 188 (N.C. Supreme Court 2014)

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, 2013-2017
  • "Rising Star," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2014-2017
  • "Young Lawyer of the Quarter," North Carolina Bar Association, 2012

   Super Lawyers Logo

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association — Division: Young Lawyers; Section: Business Law
  • Craven County Bar Association (2007-2014)
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Craven Alumni Association; Leadership Craven Alumnus, Class of 2009; Young Professionals Group charter member)
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Committee: Strategic Planning & Emerging Trends; Mentoring Subcommittee (2012-2013); Bar Association Subcommittee (chair, 2013-2014);  Division: Young Lawyers (Chair; Division Director, 2013-2015; chair, Newsletter Committee, 2010-2013; and editor of The Advocate 2008-2012); Section: Business Law
  • North Carolina Bar Association Leadership Academy (Class of 2012)
  • Toastmasters International, New Bern Chapter (charter member, vice president, 2013-2014)
  • Wake County Bar Association

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2007
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

About Me

I am a business and regulatory lawyer, and I am passionate about helping my clients succeed.  My goal is to be the most resourceful person my clients know—someone who identifies legal and practical problems and creates workable solutions.  I wake up every day thinking about how I can help my clients achieve their goals and protect them from risks.

My practice includes a variety of transactional and regulatory matters, with a particular emphasis on the financial services sector.  I handle a range of matters for businesses of different sizes and in various industries, from large, publicly-held corporations to closely-held businesses to government and quasi-governmental organizations.  One of the aspects I enjoy most about my practice is the opportunity to work with smart, savvy leaders and innovators in a number of fields.

My favorite thing about practicing law at Ward and Smith is the firm's strong emphasis on teamwork, which allows me to collaborate with my partners all over the state with a single goal in mind: meeting the client's need effectively and efficiently.

To me, a significant part of being a "professional" means contributing to my community and taking leadership roles in areas outside of my law practice.  I have been actively involved in the North Carolina Bar Association, where I have held many volunteer and leadership positions for nearly a decade.  I am currently the Chair of the Young Lawyers Division, leading more than 6,400 young lawyers and law students across North Carolina in dozens of pro bono, public service, and community-oriented initiatives.  I have also been involved in a number of pro bono projects and continue to look for opportunities to serve my community.

As a true legal nerd, I enjoy reading, writing, and talking about the law even outside of work.  I have written for many publications, in addition to my own legal blogs ( and, and I have had many opportunities to speak about legal issues for a variety of groups, from lawyers to accountants to governmental officials.

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions:;; and

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