C. H. has extensive experience in representing both entities and individuals in matters involving real estate and construction opportunities and issues. He advises clients involved in the acquisition, financing, leasing, and sale of real estate; and the construction of improvements. C. H. also has extensive experience in guiding clients through the maze of governmental approval, zoning, and subdivision issues that surround the development and use of real estate. He also is experienced in the areas of tax-deferred exchanges; conservation easements; construction contracts, disputes, and liens; timber and logging; agricultural issues; and wetlands issues. C. H. has made numerous presentations as a continuing legal education program lecturer for the North Carolina Bar Association. He has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his respective fields of law. Prior to joining the firm, he served as research assistant to Associate Justice (later Chief Justice) Susie Sharp, North Carolina Supreme Court.
- J.D., with high honors, The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1972. Associate Editor, North Carolina Law Review, Order of the Coif, The Chief Justice Walter Clark Award.
- B.S., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1968
- Representation of the purchaser in the purchase of a timberland tract for several million dollars
- Representation of the seller in the sale of development acreage for several million dollars
- Representation of the borrowers in numerous Commercial Mortgage Backed Security loans
- Negotiation and preparation of several development service agreements in which profits are divided between the landowner party and the developer/builder party
Honors and Distinctions*
- "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers, 2012-2013, 2015, 2020
- The Best Lawyers in America, 1995-2021
- "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers, 2013 and 2015
- "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, 2006, 2009-2011, and 2013-2016
Professional and Community Affiliations
- Home Builders Association of Craven and Pamlico Counties
- North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Environmental, Energy & Natural Resources Law; Real Property; Zoning, Planning and Land Use
Admitted to Practice
- North Carolina, 1972
- All state courts in North Carolina
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
My practice focuses on real estate related issues. Accordingly, when I come across articles or information dealing with real estate legal issues, I review them to attempt to keep my knowledge up to date. Experience has demonstrated that even if the article topic does not affect a case on which I am working at that time, eventually, the knowledge I have gained will be useful. My clients expect me to have a broad range of knowledge about real estate issues and it is gratifying to be able to answer their questions promptly. Of course, like all attorneys, I do not always know the answer.
The greatest advantage of working in a Firm with attorneys knowledgeable in many areas of the law is that if a matter arises about which an individual attorney has limited knowledge, usually there is a "go-to" person in the Firm with knowledge about that subject. As a result of that "back up," an attorney who does not know the answer is not required to leave the client with no answer.
For me, to be part of a Firm where the attorneys perform at that level, and for that Firm to be located in eastern North Carolina, have been doubly satisfying. I was born and grew up in eastern North Carolina, have always wanted to live here and have always lived here. At the same time, I want to practice law at a high level of competence. Fortunately for me, I have been able to do both at Ward and Smith. The attorneys at this Firm concentrate their efforts on enhancing the clients' results as opposed to merely enhancing the clients' expectations.
* 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.
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