Michael is a civil litigator with a diverse practice before various federal and state courts, including bankruptcy courts and the North Carolina Business Court. He has significant experience at all stages of litigation in cases involving a broad range of commercial, organizational and business, contract, landlord-tenant, collections, trusts and estates, tax, and bankruptcy issues. Michael also frequently handles appellate matters in those areas. He finds creative strategies to assist his clients in pursuing their goals through the court system and alternative means for dispute resolution.
- J.D., magna cum laude, Wake Forest School of Law, 2008. Wake Forest Law Review. Order of the Coif, Moot Court, Honor Council, Recipient—James B. Taylor, Jr. Scholarship.
- B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2004
- Represented landlord before North Carolina Supreme Court resulting in landmark decision in housing law
- Represented plaintiff in commercial lease dispute with landlord involving accelerated rent damages in excess of $20 million
- Obtained dismissal of complaint filed against client by bankruptcy trustee seeking to recoup in excess of $5 million from client
- Obtained favorable trial verdict in favor of plaintiff and against insurance company on claims of payment under flood policy and unfair and deceptive trade practices
- Represented various public housing authorities and other landlords in all stages of eviction matters involving drug-related criminal activity, failure to pay rent, and other lease violations
- Obtained judgment in favor of lender in case involving impact of forged instruments on lender's interest in real estate collateral
- Recovered more than $10 million in tax refunds owed to failed banks for the benefit of Federal deposit insurance agency
- Obtained judgment that lender client's collateral rights in valuable equipment were superior to competing lenders
Honors and Distinctions*
- "Rising Star," Super Lawyers, 2013-2022
- "40 & Under List," Benchmark Litigation, 2018-2022
- Presenter at 2019 Complex Business Issues Arising in Complex Litigation
- "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, 2015-2016
Professional and Community Affiliations
- Chi Psi Fraternity (Alpha Sigma) (Alumni Advisory Board)
- Eastern North Carolina Inn of Court
- Federal Bar Association
- New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Craven Alumnus, Class of 2011; member, Young Professionals Group)
- North Carolina Bar Association, Antitrust and Complex Business Disputes Section Council
- North Carolina Bar Association — Committee: Citizen Lawyer
- North Carolina Bar Association — Section: Litigation
Admitted to Practice
- North Carolina, 2008
- All state courts in 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
"In All Things Excellence" - This motto was written above the doorway to the dining hall in my fraternity house. I now have it printed above the telephone in my office, and do my best to live up to it.
When I am not working, I'm usually squeezing in a few holes of golf, working hard to entertain two young children, looking for fun new recipes to try, or working in my yard. Although my practice takes me all over the State, my family and I love living in New Bern because it has a small-town feel, a great downtown, access to two rivers, and is just a short trip to the beach.
* 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.