E. Knox Proctor V

Financial Institutions Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email ekp@wardandsmith.com
252.672.5427 Fax 252.672.5477
Post Office Box 867, New Bern, NC 28563-0867

Knox is a general business attorney with a financial institutions and regulatory background.  He helps large, mid-sized, and small businesses with general corporate and business issues, including mergers and acquisitions, and is particularly well-equipped to address a variety of regulatory issues and lending matters.  Knox has experience with securities issues, and also advises on trust issues, securities brokerage, investment advice and asset management services, and insurance services.  He serves on various North Carolina Bar Association committees, including those that deal with legislative issues affecting financial institutions and trust administration.

Knox also serves as President of the New Bern Civic Theatre.  He previously served on the Legal Issues and Workplace Policies and Education Committees of the North Carolina Chamber and on the Board of the New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce.  Prior to joining Ward and Smith, Knox served as related financial services counsel for one of North Carolina's major multi-bank holding companies.  Before that, he practiced law with a large law firm in Raleigh.  Knox was named a 2017 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in the field of Corporate Law.


  • J.D., with high honors, The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1987. Board of Editors, North Carolina Law Review, Order of the Coif, Chief Justice Walter Clark Award.
  • A.B., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1984
  • Davidson College, 1979-1981
  • The McCallie School, 1979

Representative Experience

  • Represented acquiring bank holding company in interstate merger
  • Represented selling bank holding company in merger of equals
  • Represented bank in sale of bank branch
  • Established collective investment fund documentation (personal trust and employee benefit) for major bank wealth management group
  • Represented lending bank in $85 million financing for regional hospital system
  • Represented lending bank $4.5 million financing for non-profit
  • Represented foreign entity and U.S. subsidiary borrower in $16 million credit facility
  • Represented supplier borrower in $3 million receivables financing
  • Represented housing authority in HUD financing
  • Regularly negotiate and prepare loan participation arrangements among financial institutions
  • Regularly advise financial institutions on regulatory issues
  • Regularly advise corporate fiduciaries on policies and procedures, prepare forms and templates, and address regulatory and risk situations
  • Prepared form templates for manufacturer's RFP program for motor carriers and transportation brokers
  • Developed written supervisory procedures and related requirements for FINRA-regulated broker-dealer
  • Conducted internal investigation of governmental organization
  • Advised on endowment fund expenditures under Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act
  • Represented governmental organization in establishment of non-profit organization

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers® 2010-2024
  • "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers®, 2017, 2022, 2024

 Best Lawyers Logo     

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association — Forum: Franchising
  • American Bar Association — Sections: Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice; Business Law; Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
  • New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors, member; Leadership Craven Alumnus, Class of 2001)
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Administrative Law; Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Law; Bankruptcy; Business Law; Constitutional Rights; Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law; International Law & Practice
  • North Carolina Chamber

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1987
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina

About Me

My motto is North Carolina's "To be rather than to seem."  I joined Ward and Smith because it follows that motto and does what it says it will do.  It really does put our clients first, it really does insist you join the team, and it really does have your back.  I enjoy working with a variety of our business clients.  The folks we represent are incredibly smart and interesting people, so I get to learn something new every day.

I became a lawyer because it's a long family tradition.  I love living in New Bern, but I enjoy having a practice that takes me all over all over North Carolina and sometimes to other places.

* 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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  • 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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