9 Ward and Smith Attorneys Named to the 2022 Benchmark Litigation "40 & Under List"

Gold cup and falling stars

Benchmark Litigation has named nine Ward and Smith attorneys to its 2022 "40 & Under list."

This honor recognizes the achievements of these top-performing legal professionals under 40. The rankings are compiled through a rigorous process that includes peer review and case examination.

Ward and Smith's attorneys recognized on the "40 & Under Hot List" include:

Chris EdwardsChris Edwards is a dynamic appellate attorney and civil litigator whose multifaceted practice focuses on complex legal issues related to business, intellectual property, and appellate matters. As a civil litigator, Chris has handled all aspects of commercial disputes involving contracts, non-compete clauses, trademarks, copyrights, and patents. His clients are as diverse as his practice, representing businesses, such as manufacturers, suppliers, and publications. He also devotes a substantial portion of his practice to critical motions and appeals. Chris has briefed and argued preliminary injunction, pre-trial, and post-judgment motions in state and federal courts. 

Michael ParrishMichael Parrish is a civil litigator with a diverse practice before various federal and state courts, including bankruptcy courts and the North Carolina Business Court. He has significant experience at all stages of litigation in cases involving a broad range of commercial, organizational, and business, contract, landlord-tenant, collections, trusts and estates, tax, and bankruptcy issues. Michael also frequently handles appellate matters in those areas. He finds creative strategies to assist his clients in pursuing their goals through the court system and alternative means for dispute resolution.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Evan MusselwhiteEvan Musselwhite is a construction litigator who serves as the co-Chair of the firm's construction law practice. He represents and advises contractors, subcontractors, owners, and design professionals in all stages of the construction and development process. His experience includes drafting and negotiating construction, design, and design/build contracts. Additionally, he represents owners, contractors, and subcontractors in various civil litigation matters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Jordan SpannerJordan Spanner helps clients navigate complex disputes related to business, intellectual property, and trusts and estates matters.  She is skilled at interpreting statutory and regulatory schemes, contracts, and other legal documents.  She is also experienced in evaluating pleadings, motions, and briefs, which allows her to work with individuals and businesses in all phases of the litigation process, including pre-trial investigations, preparation of pleadings, discovery, and trial.


Allen TraskAllen Trask began his career as a litigator focused on business and real estate disputes. He continues to focus his practice on representing those who own, develop, manage, and work the land. Although litigation and dispute resolution remain core parts of Allen's practice, he also enjoys advising clients on a broad range of general legal and regulatory matters. He leads the Firm's Agribusiness Practice Group, and he co-leads its Hemp Law and Community Associations Practice Groups. Allen also serves as the co-Geographic Team Leader for the Firm's Wilmington office.


Hayley WellsHayley Wells' practice primarily focuses on alcoholic beverage law, labor and employment law, and civil litigation.  As head of the firm's Alcoholic Beverage Law Practice Group, she regularly advises brewery and other craft alcoholic beverage clients on various aspects of the law.  She also regularly advises individual and corporate clients in matters of covenants not to compete, employment discrimination, discipline and termination, harassment, wrongful discharge, and wage and hour matters. Additionally, Hayley represents both corporate and individual clients in all aspects related to litigation.


Devon Williams is one of the firm's Managing Directors. Her practice encompasses a wide range of labor and employment issues, including wage and hour matters, federal contractor compliance, employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, employee discipline and termination decisions, personnel policies and practices, restrictive covenants, and background checks. As a member of the firm's Hemp Law practice group, Devon regularly assists clients in the agribusiness, hemp, and CBD industries in navigating the complexities of ever-changing labor and employment laws.


Jeremy WilsonJeremy Wilson leads the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death practice.  He has extensive experience litigating claims for wrongful death, serious personal injury, and a broad range of civil litigation before state and federal courts, including cases involving vehicle accidents, professional malpractice, premises liability, products liability, and class actions, among other areas.

In addition, Jeremy represents clients in business litigation cases, having represented numerous entities (from small area businesses to financial institutions to large corporations) in matters including contract and intellectual property disputes.    

Amy WootenAmy Wooten's litigation practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, fiduciary duty claims, unfair and deceptive trade practices claims, and community association matters.  While a litigator at heart, Amy also enjoys advising clients outside of litigation. She is particularly passionate about defending licensed professionals before North Carolina's many professional and occupational licensing boards, and she co-leads the Firm's Professional Licensing Practice Group.


You can view the 2022 edition of the "40 & Under Hot List" here.

Benchmark exclusively covers the litigation and disputes market in North America, covering the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The publication focuses exclusively on litigation and disputes in North America, differentiating them from other legal directories covering a broader spectrum of legal services and geography. This allows them to provide a much more in-depth analysis of the litigation and disputes market. Benchmark is also editorially driven, rather than statistically driven, and strives to avoid being over-inclusive.

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