Gary J. Rickner

Retired Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Post Office Box 33009, Raleigh, NC 27636-3009

After a distinguished legal career, Gary retired from the firm's law practice in the winter of 2022.

Gary is a diverse trial lawyer whose litigation practice includes all forms of commercial and business disputes and product liability defense.  He has tried to verdict in excess of 70 jury trials, including a wide variety of jury cases in state and federal courts in North Carolina and before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.  Gary regularly defends banking, development, and private institution clients in matters such as contract breaches, business disputes, fraud, and class action litigation of all types.  He also represents manufacturers in products liability matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Gary practiced law in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 


  • J.D., cum laude, Cumberland School of Law, 1974. Associate Editor, Cumberland-Samford Law Review.
  • B.A., Taylor University, 1971

Representative Experience

  • Successfully defended employee class action lawsuit against financial institutions client over retirement plan investment options
  • Successfully defended financial institutions client in class action lawsuit involving overdraft changes
  • Successfully defended medical equipment supplier in a TCPA class action
  • Successfully defended large insurance company against bad faith claims insureds and recover punitive damages against insured for fraudulent claim
  • Represents manufacturers in products liability lawsuits involving catastrophic injuries (
  • Represents clients in FINRA arbitrations

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2006-2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 1995-2021
  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, Litigation, 2006, 2013, 2018, 2021 
  • American College of Trial Lawyers (Fellow, 1992-present)
  • "Top 100: North Carolina Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2008-2011
  • American College of Trial Lawyers (North Carolina Chairman, 2008-2010)

 Best Lawyers Logo    Super Lawyers Logo

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association — Section: Litigation
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Eastern North Carolina Inn of Court
  • Federal Bar Association — Section: Federal Litigation
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Antitrust and Complex Business Disputes Law; Litigation
  • North Carolina Economic Developers Association
  • The Voice of Defense Bar
  • American College of Trial Lawyers

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1998
  • Indiana, 1974
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • All state courts in Indiana
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Seventh Circuits
  • United States Court of International Trade
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • United States Supreme Court

About Me


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

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 2021
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers 2023
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers 2023

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