B.T. Atkinson

Corporate Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email btatkinson@wardandsmith.com
910.794.4845 Fax 910.794.4877
Post Office Box 7068, Wilmington, NC 28406-7068

With nearly 30 years of experience, B.T. is a veteran banking attorney whose practice focuses on corporate, securities, and regulatory matters in the financial services space. He regularly advises regional and community banks, underwriters and issuers, and public and private companies. Clients rely on B.T.'s extensive experience for guidance with securities offerings and reporting, business formation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance matters under federal and state law, and corporate governance issues. 


  • J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 1992
  • B.S., Accounting, University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Belk College of Business, 1987

Representative Experience

In his business practice, B.T. has represented: 

  • Carolina Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: CARO), a $4 billion bank holding company, in its acquisition by United Bankshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: UBSI), a $21 billion bank holding company in a stock-for-stock merger transaction valued at $1 billion.
  • A $5 billion bank in its initial public offering to facilitate sales of controlling blocks of stock by two private equity funds.
  • A nationally prominent investment bank as placement agent for a $40 million private offering of subordinate debt and as dealer-manager for an issuer tender offer for common stock funded by the proceeds of the offering.
  • A $400 million troubled community bank in its recapitalization by a consortium of private equity funds.
  • A $600 million community bank holding company issuing $25 million in subordinate debt to fund a pending acquisition.
  • A $2 billion bank holding company in the acquisition of $300 million publicly-traded community bank in a registered stock-for-stock merger transaction.
  • A $3 billion bank holding company in the acquisition of a $400 million private bank holding company in the first utilization of the South Carolina fairness hearing exemption.
  • A specialty hospital company in its initial public offering and subsequent private offering of subordinated debt securities.
  • A publicly-traded rural telephone company in its sale to a multi-state telecommunications company.
  • A nationally prominent investment bank as placement agent for a $90 million private offering to fund the purchase, recapitalization, and rebranding of a community bank.

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2010–2024

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina Bankers Association
  • South Carolina Bankers Association
  • Independent Banks of South Carolina
  • West Virginia Bankers Association

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1992
  • South Carolina, 2013

About Me

My motto:

Take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed.

What I admire most about my clients:

The commitment and dedication of community and regional banks to the communities they serve.

The best thing about Ward and Smith is:

Many law firms talk about their commitment to collegiality and teamwork in order to best serve their clients, but every aspect of this firm's systems and culture is thoughtfully structured to do just that. 

One surprising thing people don't know about me is…

I sat for and passed the South Carolina bar exam in 2013 when I was 48 years old.  I'm pretty sure I was the only one in a very large room wearing reading glasses.

Where I'd most like to live and why:

Wilmington, because, in addition to being on the coast, my father grew up here and our ancestors were some of its earliest settlers. 


* 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.

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.

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Legal Elite Business North Carolina 2024
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers 2023
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers 20234

Subscribe to Ward and Smith