William E. Martin

Real Estate, Financial Transactions, and Regulatory Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email wem@wardandsmith.com
252.672.5464 Fax 252.672.5477
Post Office Box 867, New Bern, NC 28563-0867

Bill leads the Financial Transactions and Regulation practice.  His experience includes the representation of lending institutions, companies, individuals, and community associations in a wide variety of commercial real estate matters.  Bill regularly represents lenders and borrowers in loan transactions; purchasers and sellers in the negotiation and preparation of real estate letters of intent and purchase agreements; landlords and tenants in the negotiation and preparation of commercial and retail leases; developers in the creation of restrictive and protective covenants for planned communities; developers, community associations, and property owners regarding the interpretation and application of restrictive and protective covenants; and purchasers, owners, and lenders regarding title and title insurance issues.  He also is experienced in the licensing and legal responsibilities of real estate brokers and firms. 

Prior to joining the Firm, he served terms as the Chief Federal Public Defender for the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina.


  • J.D., cum laude, Ranking Scholar, Wake Forest University School of Law, 1975
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Wake Forest University, 1971

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2013-2024

Peer rated  Best Lawyers Logo    

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Land Title Association
  • North Carolina Association of Realtors
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Business Law; Constitutional Rights; Construction Law; Environmental Energy & Natural Resources Law; Real Property; Zoning, Planning and Land Use
  • Real Estate Lawyers Association of North Carolina

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1975
  • 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
  • United States Supreme Court

* 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
  • 2024 Chambers USA

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