Local Counsel

Your Boots On the Ground

We have extensive experience serving as local counsel in North Carolina for national coordinating counsel and general counsel based in other states.  We provide cost-effective local insight and exceptional client service. Consider your need for:

A thorough understanding of local rules of procedure and practice.  

Our attorneys and litigation support staff are well versed in the rules of practice and procedure in federal and state courts in North Carolina.  Our attorneys serve on most of the civil local rules committees in the various bars of our state.  Many of our attorneys are former law clerks in North Carolina's federal district and business courts and bring with them extensive experience in applying and interpreting the wide array of (and ever-changing) local rules of practice.  Our attorneys help co-counsel avoid procedural pitfalls that can jeopardize the substance of a case or create embarrassment in court.

Appropriate service.  

Our regular practice in all North Carolina courts enables us to offer the right level of service to out-of-state co-counsel and clients. We recognize that one-size local counsel service does not fit all cases. We tailor our work to fill our client's needs and comply with local rules.  While there are base line requirements for local counsel who assist attorneys admitted pro hac vice or by special appearance in all North Carolina courts, several of the courts in this state (particularly federal) have specific, often heightened, expectations for the role of local counsel.  We have found that simply acting as a "drop-box" or clerical filing service for out-of-state counsel rarely serves our clients' or co-counsel's best interests and often runs afoul of local rules and the expectations of our judges.  Our familiarity with the rules and judicial preferences enables us to determine, at the outset of a case, the appropriate level of service necessary to provide advantages to our co-counsel and clients without impairing efficiency, all while satisfying the requirements of the Court.  

Sophisticated legal research, writing, and editing capabilities.  

Our attorneys often work with co-counsel to bring briefs and motions into compliance with local rules and custom.  We can provide local legal research and leverage our experience to provide input and assist with strategic decisions.  We can also give valuable suggestions on the tone and presentation of legal submissions – from substantive arguments to formatting idiosyncrasies – to best suit the preferences of the presiding judge.

Extensive courtroom experience.  

Our litigators try cases.  Our courtroom experience – in motion practice, hearings, and at trial – enables our co-counsel to enter new courtrooms with confidence and ease.  From logistical coordination, to advising on judicial expectations in hearings and trial, to local jury selection, we strive to make our co-counsel feel as though they have a home-court advantage.

Reputation with the bench and bar.  

Ward and Smith has been a fixture in North Carolina courtrooms for decades, and we have earned a reputation for exceptional legal work product, trial skills, and professionalism.  Our attorneys' past work experience in our trial and appellate courts, participation and leadership in many bench and bar associations, and time spent in the courtroom has allowed us to develop a reputation with judges, opposing counsel, and courtroom personnel.  Associating our firm as local counsel brings these benefits to out of state counsel and their clients.   

Our relevant experience serving as local counsel is broad. We've represented:

  • A publicly traded energy company in a federal lawsuit regarding the ownership of hydroelectric dams through trial
  • An international company in a lawsuit by a foreign company through a contested evidentiary injunction hearing
  • Both plaintiffs and defendants in patent, trademark, and copyright lawsuits in the consumer products and technology arenas
  • National financial institutions in state and federal courts in a variety of commercial litigation matters, including lender liability, misappropriation of trade secrets, patent and trademark matters, and consumer protection claims
  • Companies in commercial litigation matters involving medical devices and the licensing of intellectual property and royalties
  • Defendants in environmental litigation under various federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (also known as CERCLA or "Superfund"), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
  • A pharmaceutical company in products liability lawsuit in federal court
  • Companies sued in class action litigation
  • Parties in multiple Multi-District Litigation proceedings in federal courts across the country

We are your established legal network with offices in Asheville, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington, NC.

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