William S. Durr

Litigation Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email wsd@wardandsmith.com
828.348.6062 Fax 828.348.6077
Post Office Box 2020, Asheville, NC 28802-2020
Post Office Box 33009, Raleigh, NC 27636-3009

Bill's practice experience encompasses civil litigation in both the state and federal courts. He has represented clients in a broad variety of complex construction, business, and commercial disputes.  His civil litigation experience includes depositions, pre-trial and dispositive motions, mediations, arbitrations, jury trials, and appeals. Other areas of his litigation practice include personal injury, agribusiness counseling and litigation, and representation of professional athletes and other high-net-worth individuals in a variety of family law matters. Prior to joining the firm, Bill practiced civil litigation in Binghamton, New York. He also presided over numerous jury trials in his capacity as the Acting Village Justice and Village Justice for the Village of Johnson City, New York.


  • J.D., Washington University School of Law, 1990. Order of Barristers.
  • B.A., University of Rochester, 1987

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2013-2024
  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, Construction, 2023-2024

Legal Elite

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Asheville Downtown Association, Board of Directors President, Former Executive Committee Secretary
  • American Angus Association
  • American Bar Association — Sections: Antitrust Law; Family Law; Litigation
  • ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), Board of Directors
  • Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Asheville Alumnus, Class XXXIII)
  • Asheville Home Builders Association
  • North Carolina Angus Association
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Antitrust and Complex Business Disputes Law; Business Law; Construction; Family Law; Litigation
  • Virginia Angus Association
  • Harry C. Martin American Inn of Court

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2001
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina

About Me

How would your friends describe you?

Intense and competitive.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us:

I lived in a very small town in Brazil for almost an entire year – as a Rotary exchange student.  I was 16 years old.  I left Brazil and returned to the US fluent in Portuguese.  I have not kept up with the language very well but can still understand the "gist" of a conversation in Portuguese.  That year was incredibly formative for me.  To this day I draw on the lessons I learned while in Brazil.     

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

Somehow convincing my wife to remain reasonably happily married for now almost 34 years . . . she, with a little help from me – raised two wonderful daughters.

What do you like to do for fun?

Beth tells me I have more hobbies than time.  Beth and I love to ski and watch Carolina Hurricanes hockey.  I enjoy biking (all forms, but these days mostly road, gravel and indoor trainer during the winter).  I also enjoy woodworking and saving orchids from the clutches of those who are unable or unwilling to care for them.     

What is the one thing you cannot resist?

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups . . . my kryptonite. 

Where is your favorite place to be?

On my front porch with a well-made martini.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

Sweden – Beth still has family (1st and 2nd cousins) in southwest Sweden.  Several years ago we visited them.  What a beautiful country and wonderful people.   

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had and why?

The summer between 1L and 2L years several of my law school classmates and I worked as groundskeepers at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.  We did everything –weed-eating, raking out muck from ponds (the leeches were treacherous), mowing greens and cutting cups.  It was interesting work, but the incentive was the opportunity to play the course every Monday starting at 1:00 pm – typically we could get in 36 holes before dark.

What is your favorite motto or axiom (words to live by) and why is this your favorite?

"… I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul."  From the poem Invictus by William Earnest Henley.  While some relate this poem to the movie of the same name, I have a very different connection to this work.  My 11th grade English teacher had a long standing tradition of requiring every student in his class to memorize Invictus.  Then you had to recite it whenever he asked you to do so – no matter where you were.  He would simply point at you, say your name (always Mr. or Ms. ____) and utter one word – "Invictus."  There are legendary stories of students reciting the poem in grocery stores, at football practice, etc.  That poem has stuck with me for 40+ years now.  I make a point of reciting it at least once a day…   

* 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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  • 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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