Edward J. "Trip" Coyne, III

Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email ejcoyne@wardandsmith.com
Post Office Box 7068, Wilmington, NC 28406-7068

Trip has recently returned to Ward and Smith after serving as the Chief Executive Officer of an international consumer products company. He also currently serves as the Executive in Residence for UCONN's Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

Trip has significant experience in complex and high stakes litigation matters and regularly appears as lead or local counsel in courts throughout the country. He also provides general business counsel to domestic and international clients with a focus on consumer product and multi-national companies. 

Prior to joining the firm, Trip practiced in the Wilmington office of a large law firm and served two terms as a law clerk to the Honorable John R. Jolly, Jr., then of the North Carolina Business Court.  He is licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his field of law.


  • J.D., Wake Forest University School of Law, 2005; Editor in Chief, Wake Forest Intellectual Property Law Journal; Full Academic Scholarship Recipient
  • B.S., Appalachian State University, 2002; Omicron Delta Kappa

Representative Experience

  • Experienced in a wide-variety of complex litigation matters
  • Litigated and/or resolved a significant number of closely-held company and partnership disputes
  • Appointed by the Northern District of Illinois as co-lead counsel in a certified class action against a Fortune 500 company
  • Experienced in all aspects of product development and regulation, including significant practical experience serving on ASTM committees and interfacing directly with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory bodies
  • Served as coordinating counsel in complex regulatory matters spanning multiple countries
  • Advised numerous founders, boards, and c-suite executives on domestic and international business issues and strategic matters
  • Litigated numerous construction contracts, site-related claims, and claims of defective workmanship before arbitrators and courts
  • Litigated government contracts related to technology, construction, and dredging matters
  • Represented diverse interests in a variety of commercial and personal injury maritime matters, including allisions, collisions, and ship fires
  • Coordinated global tax strategy for high-growth, multinational holding company in conjunction with leading tax firms
  • Led sell-side M&A process in partnership with leading investment bank
  • Litigated a wide variety of commercial, securities, real property, estate, and creditor's rights matters
  • Served as local counsel throughout the Carolinas in a variety of state and federal court litigation matters
  • Regularly provides co-counsel and supporting counsel to other law firms on complex matters

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, Business, 2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2016-2024
  • "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers in America®, 2023
  • "40 and Under Hot List," Benchmark Litigation, 2018-2020
  • "Rising Star," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2013-2019

Best Lawyers LogoSuper Lawyers Logo

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Young President's Organization (YPO), Southern 7 Chapter (member)
  • Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law (Board of Advisors)
  • Cameron Art Museum (past Chairman, Board of Trustees)
  • City of Wilmington Municipal Services District Task Force (past member)
  • GLOW Leadership Academy Foundation (past board member)
  • Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Wilmington Alumnus, Class of 2012)
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina Business Court Rules Advisory Committee (past member)
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute (past member, Port Captain, past presenter)
  • Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (past officer and director)

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2005
  • Florida, 2008
  • Georgia, 2007
  • South Carolina, 2008
  • United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the District of South Carolina

* 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

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