H. L. Stephenson, III

Business Development Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email hls@wardandsmith.com
252.215.4004 Fax 252.215.4077
Post Office Box 8088, Greenville, NC 27835-8088
Post Office Box 33009, Raleigh, NC 27636-3009

Steve is laser focused on the firm’s client relationships, and helping our clients find solutions to their issues, whether legal or otherwise. Most of Steve's legal practice was devoted to counseling business owners and managers, and other professionals, on a diverse range of legal and business issues.  He has lectured extensively on business law, tax, and estate planning matters, and has authored articles on those subjects. He now focuses exclusively on client relationship management. 

Steve presently is engaged in building and maintaining relationships with business managers and professionals across a broad range of industries.  He also has been and remains involved in an array of civic, charitable, economic development, and philanthropic activities.


  • LL.M., Taxation, College of William & Mary Law School, 1983
  • J.D., The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1982
  • A.B., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1979

Honors and Distinctions*

  • Jeremiah Milbank National Gold Medallion, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 2019
  • "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2006-2007
  • Board Member of the Year, North Carolina Area Council, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 2014
  • Pitt County Citizen of the Year, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, 2014

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Professional and Community Affiliations

  • A Time For Science (Board member, past Chair)
  • Beaufort County Committee of 100
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain, Inc. (Board member; Advisory Board member; foundation Board member; past President and Chairman of the Board; leader of two capital campaigns; Resource Development Committee; Chair of North Carolina Boys & Girls Area Council)
  • East Carolina Estate Planning Council (past President)
  • East Carolina University Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, Inc. (past Board member; past President; Emeritus Board member)
  • Greenville/Eastern North Carolina Alliance Fundraising Committee member
  • Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce (past board member, and Chair Membership Committee)
  • Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church (past member and Chair Administrative Council, member of Investment Committee)
  • Martin County Committee of 100
  • North Carolina Bar Association—Sections: Business Law; Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law; Tax Law
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center Eastern Advisory Committee (committee member; past Vice-Chairman; Cchairman)
  • North Carolina Community Foundation (past Pitt County Advisory Board member; past chairman of Pitt County Advisory Board)
  • North Carolina Economic Developers Association
  • North Carolina Public Schools Forum (board member)
  • Pitt County Committee of 100 (past president; past Board member; legal counsel)
  • Pitt County Educational Foundation, Inc. (Board member; Chairman of the board)
  • Small Business & Technology Development Center (Advisory Board member; past Vice-Chairman of Advisory Board)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Visitors

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1982
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States Tax Court

About Me

The best thing about Ward and Smith is the culture of teamwork and lack of competition among attorneys.  I would not want to work in a law firm where attorneys compete with each other, and do combat in the halls.  Many law firms are like that.

I would most like to live in eastern North Carolina.  Why?  It's very simple: It is the only place I have ever lived, and I love it, with all its warts and challenges.  I've lived a blessed life here, and so many people don't have the same blessings I have had.  My motivation is to help the people of the region as much as I possibly can as long as I possibly can.

"One thing I know: the only ones of you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."   Albert Schweitzer

* 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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