Thomas S. Babel

Litigation Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
910.794.4839 Fax 910.794.4877
Post Office Box 7068, Wilmington, NC 28406-7068

Tom's practice experience encompasses various areas of litigation. He has pretrial, trial, and appellate experience in trademark, trade secret, patent, real estate, products liability, construction, business torts, and contract matters.  He also counsels clients on drafting and negotiating commercial transactions, including license, supplier, and vendor agreements; purchase order terms; divestiture of business segment agreements; and international vendor and supplier agreements.  Tom has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his fields of law.  He has White Belt and Yellow Belt certifications in Legal Lean Sigma® and Project Management from the Legal Lean Sigma Institute.


  • J.D., with honors, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 1998.  Member, Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution​.
  • B.S., Miami University, 1993

Representative Experience

  • Guided a closely held manufacturing company in the formation of a new corporate structure, divesture of a minority interest to a strategic partner, and the execution of a long term supply agreement
  • Represented an international manufacturing company in the negotiation and execution of an international supply agreement with a Fortune 500 Company
  • Negotiated and executed a $10 million public contract for a construction company
  • Successfully prosecuted a $2 million payment claim and defense of a $10 million defective construction claim related to the construction of a hotel
  • Represented an individual and an international biotechnical company in the defense of misappropriation of trade secret and breach of a covenant not to compete claims successfully resulting in the denial of a Motion for Preliminary Injunction
  • Represented an international water treatment company in the prosecution of trade secret misappropriation and breach of a covenant not to compete claims resulting in a $10 million award  
  • Successfully prosecuted a creditors claim and the defense of a lender liability claim resulting in a judgment in favor of the financial institution
  • Serves as outside general counsel for a number of manufacturing companies

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2017-2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2013-2019

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Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association — Forum: Construction Industry
  • American Bar Association — Section: Litigation
  • Cape Fear Community College Foundation (former member, board of directors)
  • Federal Bar Association — Section: Federal Litigation
  • Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce (board of directors; former member, Strategic Planning Team of New Hanover County Schools)
  • Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Wilmington Alumnus, Class of 2007)
  • Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Foundation (former board member; former chairman)
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Section: Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Law; Construction Law; Litigation
  • Ohio Bar Association

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2006
  • Ohio, 1998
  • All state courts in North Carolina 
  • All state courts in Ohio
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio

About Me

My mottos are (1) honesty is the best policy (my Mom) and (2) I take my work seriously but I don't take myself too seriously.  

I had two career goals when I went to college: either to become a teacher or a lawyer.  I believe that I have met both goals because I spend the majority of my day helping others understand the complex legal nature of our world. 

I am blessed in that I am living in the area of the country that I love the most.  The North Carolina coast not only has some of the most beautiful nature areas but, more importantly, has some of the most friendly people on earth.

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions:;; and

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