Edward J. "Trip" Coyne, III

Litigation Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
910. 794.4887 Fax 910.794.4877
Email ejcoyne@wardandsmith.com
Post Office Box 7068, Wilmington, NC 28406-7068

Trip maintains a diverse litigation and general business practice. He has significant experience in corporate, construction, commercial, class action, maritime, and real property litigation, and regularly appears as lead or local counsel throughout the state and federal courts of North and South Carolina, as well as in other jurisdictions. He also provides general business counsel to domestic and international clients. Prior to joining the firm, Trip practiced in the Wilmington office of a large, regional law firm and served two terms as law clerk to the Honorable John R. Jolly, Jr., of the North Carolina Business Court.  He has been rated by his peers as being "preeminent" in his fields 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

  • Representation of contractor in recovery from subcontractor based on flow-down provisions in government contract, including wins before the South Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court
  • Representation of company in successful defense of multi-million dollar lost profits claim, including before the North Carolina Court of Appeals
  • Representation of general contractor in negotiations with the Federal Government over liquidated damages
  • Representation of officers, directors, and shareholders in the dissolution of medical practices, land development companies, restaurant operations, technology companies, and other closely held companies
  • Representation of injured family in obtaining a multi-million dollar judgment against a maritime company
  • Representation of lenders in multi-party lender liability claims
  • Representation of maritime company in multi-million dollar claim related to a ship fire
  • Representation of consumer products companies on a wide-array of business issues

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2016-2018
  • "Rising Star," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2013-2018

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Professional and Community Affiliations

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

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2005
  • Florida, 2008
  • Georgia, 2007
  • South Carolina, 2008
  • All state and federal courts in North Carolina
  • All state courts in Florida
  • All state courts in Georgia
  • All state and federal courts in South Carolina
  • 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

About Me

My motto, learned from the Boy Scouts, is to leave things better than I found them.  What I admire most about my clients is their creativity.  In my line of work, I often get to know people who are faced with incredibly complex challenges, and I admire the ability of my clients to work through the emotional and practical challenges in a creative way that facilitates their ability to move forward.  

To me, the best thing about Ward and Smith is the "clients first" mentality shared by the whole team.  It is great to work with a team that you know has their eye on what matters—client results—and is willing to make personal sacrifices to advance the interest of the client.

* 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.

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