J. Michael Fields

Health Care Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email jmf@wardandsmith.com
252.215.4026 Fax 252.215.4077
Post Office Box 8088, Greenville, NC 27835-8088

Michael leads the Health Care practice.  He counsels physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers on regulatory, compliance, and transactional matters.  He represents all types of closely-held businesses and their owners on such issues as the formation of business entities, financing transactions, and the merger, acquisition, and sale of businesses.  Additionally, Michael advises banks, automobile and tractor finance companies, shopping center owners, homeowners' associations, and suppliers in the agricultural and construction industries on financing transactions, workouts, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and collections.  His bankruptcy practice is focused on the representation of creditors in contested plan confirmation, relief from stay, cash collateral, lease assumption and assignment, fraudulent transfer, and preference litigation. 

Michael also provides mediation services in bankruptcy cases.  His mediation training includes the acclaimed 40-hour American Bankruptcy Institute/St. John’s University School of Law Bankruptcy Mediation Training Program held in New York.


  • J.D., with honors, The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1991. North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation.
  • B.S., Business Administration, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988

Representative Experience

  • Representation of the purchaser in a $1 million asset purchase of a dental practice
  • Representation of the purchaser in a $10 million purchase of the assets of a medical practice and a majority interest in an ambulatory surgery center
  • Representation of the seller in a $12 million asset sale of a medical practice and diagnostic imaging center
  • Representation of an anesthesia practice in connection with an exclusive professional services arrangement with an ambulatory surgery center
  • Representation of a medical practice in obtaining a "no review" letter from the Healthcare Planning and Certificate of Need Section for the replacement of an MRI scanner
  • Representation of a medical practice in analyzing potential fee-splitting, self-referral, and anti-kickback issues associated with a joint venture proposed by a third party laboratory
  • Representation of the lender in a $2 million loan to finance the acquisition of a tenant-occupied retail wireless store
  • Representation of the borrower in a $32 million senior secured financing and a $15 million secured mezzanine financing to refinance existing debt and to fund additional working capital and the acquisition of 50 retail wireless stores
  • Representation of the borrower in a $70 million asset-based revolving line of credit made to fund the floor plan financing of tractor dealerships
  • Representation of an agricultural supplier in obtaining and collecting a $200,000 judgment against a commercial farming operation
  • Representation of an agricultural supplier in connection with the attempted workout of $8 million in troubled credit and the eventual Chapter 11 bankruptcy of a large farming operation
  • Representation of a grain dealer in defense of bankruptcy preference litigation in the bankruptcy case of another grain dealer

Reported Decisions

  • Outer Banks Contractors, Inc. v. Daniels & Daniels Const., Inc. - 433 S.E.2d 759 (N.C. Ct. App. 1993)
  • First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. v. Cannon - 530 S.E.2d 581 (N.C. Ct. App. 2000)
  • First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. v. Four Oaks Bank & Trust Co. - 576 S.E.2d 722 (N.C. Ct. App. 2003)
  • St. Regis of Onslow County, N.C. Owners Ass'n v. Johnson - 663 S.E.2d 908 (N.C. Ct. App. 2008)

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2018-2024
  • "Healthcare Power List," NC Lawyers Weekly, 2023

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Health Law; Business Law; Bankruptcy Law
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Community Associations Institute
  • Arendell Parrott Academy (board of trustees 2005-2011)
  • Eastern North Carolina Inn of Court
  • Kiwanis Club of University City (president 2004-2005)

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1991
  • Georgia, 2015
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • All state courts in Georgia
  • United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Georgia
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

About Me

Everyone has the will to win.  Champions have the will to prepare to win.  --  While this statement from Coach John Wooden was made with basketball in mind, I apply it to the way I approach each transaction or case in which I am involved.  I will not be out-worked by the other side.  I find that preparation often is the difference between a bad result and a good result, or a between good result and a great result!

The best thing about Ward and Smith is its client-centered approach.  My colleagues and I strive to develop and maintain relationships with each client.  We are accessible and responsive to the client.  We keep the client consistently updated regarding the status of each matter, without the client's asking, and even if there is nothing new to report.  A client is not left to wonder.

What I admire most about our clients is their loyalty to Ward and Smith.  We have some clients with which I have worked for over 25 years.  We also have some client contacts who have switched employers and who made it one of their first orders of business to get Ward and Smith on their teams.  There are many choices when it comes to legal services, but our clients consistently have been loyal to Ward and Smith, for which we are greatly appreciative!

* 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
  • 2024 Chambers USA

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