Hayley R. Wells

Employment, Litigation, and Alcoholic Beverage Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email hrw@wardandsmith.com
828.348.6018 Fax 828.348.6077
Post Office Box 2020, Asheville, NC 28802-2020

Hayley's practice primarily focuses on labor and employment law, civil litigation, and alcoholic beverage law.

Hayley regularly advises individual and corporate clients on matters of covenants not to compete, employment discrimination, discipline and termination, harassment, wrongful discharge, wage and hour matters, personnel policies and procedures, and preparation of employment agreements and employee handbooks.  She also litigates employment-related matters in North Carolina state and federal courts.

Additionally, she represents both corporate and individual clients in all aspects related to litigation, including hearings, depositions, discovery, mediation, arbitration, and trial. Her experience includes commercial litigation, environmental litigation, estate litigation, and personal injury matters.

As head of the firm's Alcoholic Beverage Law Practice Group, Hayley regularly advises brewery and other craft alcoholic beverage clients in various aspects of the law, including permitting, negotiation, preparation and termination of distribution agreements, defense of ALE enforcement actions, labeling compliance, interpretative guidance, music licensing, liability waivers, festival questions, and personnel matters.


  • J.D., cum laude, The University of Georgia School of Law, 2008.  Editorial Board member, Journal of International and Comparative Law.
  • M.B.A., The University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, 2005
  • B.A., cum laude, International Business, The University of Georgia, 2001

Representative Experience

  • Successful representation of multi-state mining operator in challenging denial of mining permit and obtained award of attorneys' fees and costs
  • Successful defense of large durable medical equipment provider against various claims by supplier, including trade secret misappropriation, Lanham Act, and fraud and recovered related attorneys' fees and costs in defending against the claims
  • Successful defense of employers in U.S. Department of Labor, N.C. Department of Labor, and Equal Employment Opportunity Investigations
  • Successful representation of lender in deficiency action with related lender liability claims resulting in seven-figure settlement for client
  • Successful representation of clients in trials involving serious personal injuries
  • Successful representation of spousal beneficiary under multi-million dollar life insurance policy against claims by decedent's children
  • Successful representation of individuals in challenging manner of death decision by North Carolina Medical Examiner
  • Representation of alcoholic beverage clients in matters before the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
  • Successful representation of employers in federal discrimination lawsuits
  • Successful representation of employers in arbitration proceedings
  • Successful representation of corporations and individuals in lawsuits involving breach of contract, breach of warranty, unfair and deceptive trade practices, fraud
  • Negotiations and preparation of distribution agreements for alcoholic beverage law clients
  • Drafting and negotiating of various agreements in the employment context, including non-competition agreements, employment agreements, physician agreements, severance packages, employee handbooks, and executive compensation arrangements.

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, Employment, 2023-2024
  • "Rising Star," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2013-2020
  • "40 & Under List," Benchmark Litigation, 2017-2019, 2021- 2023
  • "40 Under Forty," Biltmore Beacon

Super Lawyers LogoLegal Elite

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Asheville Alumnus, Class XXVIII
  • Asheville Brewers Alliance, Legal Counsel
  • Asheville Helpmate, Board Search Committee Member; Former Board of Directors Member
  • Buncombe County Bar, Executive Committee member
  • Brewers Association Associate Member
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association—Western District of North Carolina Chapter, Member
  • Harry C. Martin American Inn of Court
  • North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • North Carolina Bar Association—Sections: Labor & Employment Law; Litigation: Section Council and CLE Committee Co-Chair
  • Pink Boots Society
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Western North Carolina Human Resource Association

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2008
  • Colorado, 2015
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • All state courts in Colorado
  • United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina

* 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

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