Lauren leads the Family Law practice and is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Family Law. Her experience encompasses various areas of civil litigation with a primary focus on complex familial issues. Her practice includes premarital and post-marital agreements, complex equitable distribution, custody and child support litigation, and adoption. Lauren routinely represents and counsels clients on financial family-related issues involving business valuations, pension valuations, military retirement division, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, real property appraisals, and division of executive benefits. She also has extensive experience with interstate custody and jurisdictional issues, high conflict custody cases, custody evaluations, and adoptions.
Lauren handles litigation and non-litigation matters involving mediation, arbitration, premarital and post-marital agreements, separation agreements, and surrogacy agreements. She also represents clients before the NC Court of Appeals and NC Supreme Court on family-related cases after final judgment at the trial court level. Lauren practices throughout Eastern North Carolina. Prior to joining the firm, Lauren was a law clerk to Judge J. Douglas McCullough of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
- J.D., cum laude, Campbell Law School, 2005. Fourth Circuit Editor, Campbell Law Observer, Order of Barristers, National Trial Team, Top Advocate, International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
- M.B.A., Campbell University, 2005
- B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002
- Representation of client in valuation and division of multi-million dollar residential building, development, and rental business
- Representation of client in division of multi-million dollar corporate benefit package, including vested and non-vested stock options
- Representation of client in negotiation of Premarital Agreement to protect assets acquired prior to and during marriage
- Representation in valuation and division of privately-owned grocery store
- Representation of child in emancipation proceeding
- Representation of clients in custody actions including modification of custody resulting in a change in primary custody
- Representation of clients on appeal following trial on issues of custody, child support, equitable distribution, and domestic violence
- Representation of parents in private adoptions, domestication of international adoptions, step-parent adoptions, and guardianship placement through the Department of Social Services
Honors and Distinctions*
- "The Best Lawyers in America," Best Lawyers®, 2021-2022
- "Rising Star," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2011, 2014-2021
- "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, 2017, 2019, 2022
Professional and Community Affiliations
- Chrysalis Counseling Center (board member)
- Craven County Bar Association (300th Celebration Committee public relations chair, 2009 - 2010; secretary, treasurer, and vice president, 2009 - 2010)
- Eastern North Carolina Inn of Court
- North Carolina Symphony, New Bern Series (board member, 2014 - present)
- New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Craven Alumnus, Class of 2010)
- North Carolina Bar Association — Leadership Academy, 2015
- North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Family Law; Litigation
- Merci Clinic (past board member)
- Twin Rivers YMCA (board member 2013 - present, Secretary 2014 - 2015, 2016)
Admitted to Practice
- North Carolina, 2005
- All state courts in North Carolina
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
One surprising thing people don't know about me is that I was born and raised under the Friday night lights. I didn't grow up in Texas, but I grew up in a family where football reigned supreme. My grandfather was an educator and coach all of his life who shaped and molded those he had the opportunity to come in contact with. Some of my first memories include football players who came to know his family as theirs. In turn, if it was a Thursday or Friday evening, I was on the football field learning to love the game that my grandfather loved and life lessons that came along with the brotherhood. To this day, my love of football is strong and my competitive spirit is alive and well.
"I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
* 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.
Highlights + Insights
7 Guidelines for Parents Sharing Custody of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Domicile for Public School Enrollment Under Joint Custody in NC
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.