Our Practice Areas
BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS / CORPORATE LAW
Whether you are purchasing a business, selling business assets, organizing a non-profit entity, or thinking of starting your own corporation, well researched, clearly written, and strategically effective transactional documents are absolutely essential. Through the effective allocation and limitation of risk, effectively drafted transactional documents can address the contingencies that often emerge in the course of business dealing. An attorney drafting these documents must both have access to the latest legal developments in the governing law and take the time to really understand the client’s goals. In negotiating the terms of a business transaction with an adverse party, an attorney must effectively balance putting the client’s economic and legal interests first with the continuity of dialogue with the opposing party and counsel. Whether that requires an email to opposing counsel at midnight, a well-timed anecdote to lighten the mood, a catered lunch, and/or extensive conference calls, we know how to get the deal done correctly.
As a contractor (or subcontractor) seeking payment for providing labor and materials to a jobsite, you need to know the proper steps to take to both get paid for your hard work and to protect the priority of your claim. As a customer feeling rightfully dissatisfied with the quality of the products and/or services you received on a project, you need to know what to do to rectify the situation in an economically efficient manner. In either scenario, having competent, accessible, and readily available advice regarding North Carolina construction law is essential. Construction law involves a complicated mixture of both statutory and common law provisions, including the applicable lien statutes (Chapter 44A specifically), warranty statutes and doctrines, contract law, etc. We have the knowledge and experience to provide that essential advice to you and work with you towards effective solutions.
COMMERCIAL / CIVIL LITIGATION
Litigation can be expensive, draining, time consuming, and merciless. While it is absolutely essential to advocate for the client, quite often, many attorneys seem to prolong the litigation process simply to bill their clients for more time. Furthermore, because litigation is governed by very precise and technical rules, attorneys without the requisite knowledge and skill can severely damage the client’s claims. Thus, an effective litigator must not only be extremely knowledgeable of the rules of civil procedure, but he must also effectively balance advocating for his client’s position with the litigation costs of the client. To that end, an effective litigator must both keep an eye towards achieving practical outcomes without the need for protracted litigation/trial and be ready to go to the mat for his client. We have a vast range of experience with civil litigation in both state and federal court on a variety of claims.
From one perspective, criminal law can seem pretty simple and zero sum: either the client was convicted of a crime or the client was not. Either the client is incarcerated or they are free. However, the practice of criminal law is much more nuanced than those simple alternatives. Both the State of North Carolina and the Government of the United States of America wield enormous power in many ways, but perhaps none of those powers are greater than the ability to charge people with crimes, hold them in a facility pending trial, and sentence them to a term in a jail and/or prison. Simply put, our criminal system calls for the enforcement of laws through many punitive measures, including fines, probation, etc. However, if the client is convicted of a crime, the client’s actual liberty interest to move around freely may be in jeopardy.
Effective criminal attorneys have a thorough knowledge of the applicable legal authority, maintain good working relationships with both state court prosecutors and United States attorneys, and work to eliminate risk for the client. The effective criminal attorney not only works for the client to achieve the best possible outcome, but is also ready, willing, and able to try the case before a judge and/or jury. We understand this delicate balance. As a former assistant district attorney and current defense attorney, Lucas has prosecuted and defended many different types of criminal matters. Jennifer and Bob also have extensive experience with defending criminal cases. Above all, we understand that your rights, contentions, and positions must be correctly presented and argued at all times.
No matter the party of the political regime in charge and no matter what type of business the client operates, regulation is a fact of both business and life. Both state and federal governmental agencies promulgate regulations with which business owners must comply. For example, environmental (pursuant to both federal and state law and agencies), healthcare (HIPAA, HITECH, etc.), workplace (federal and state departments of labor, OSHA, etc.), and transportation regulations heavily influence the business environment. Quite often, when dealing with regulatory compliance issues, the business owner cannot simply pick up the phone and ask officials at the appropriate state or federal agency any compliance questions. To further complicate matters, business owners often rightfully feel as if they have no direct recourse or forum in which to address the contentions of state and federal regulators and officials. These officials often seem completely insensitive to the cost of compliance and have no knowledge of what it takes to actually run a business. We can help you to navigate through the complex and daunting regulatory compliance maze and achieve compliance in a cost effective manner.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
The workplace is controlled by a complex, ever-evolving, and large body of both state and federal law and regulation. Employers need to be empowered to handle things without the intervention of an attorney. They need practical, simple, and individually tailored solutions to the issues that emerge in the workplace. Small businesses with fewer employees often need very different solutions than much larger employers. In either event, the goal should be to ensure that employers can run their businesses more efficient and profitably, all the while avoiding litigation and unnecessary expense. In order to achieve these goals, the effective employment attorney not only can effectively defend the client against alleged violations of Title VII, FMLA, ADA, ADEA, USERRA, WARN, GINA, FLSA, NLRA , NC REDA, etc., but can also help the client create policies and systems to both help keep costs down over time and be extremely prepared to respond to any such allegation. We can assist in creating individually tailored comprehensive policies and systems for employers and defending employers against the claims of employees.
TRAFFIC / DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED
Although many traffic violations may seem minor, many offenses may result in either a suspension of your ability to drive, an increase in your insurance premiums, incarceration, or any combination thereof. An effective traffic attorney must be well versed in the various penalties that result from each distinct traffic offense. Even more importantly, an effective traffic attorney must also know the nuances and tendencies of the district attorneys and judges in each county in which the attorney handles traffic matters. We have the requisite knowledge and experience to help you to seek the best possible outcome on your traffic matters.
North Carolina’s penalties for DWI offenses are among the most severe in the nation. To complicate matters, North Carolina’s DWI law (including penalties) changes relatively rapidly. Handling these charges on your own may result in incarceration, large fines, the suspension of your ability to drive, and more. We keep informed of North Carolina’s ever-evolving DWI laws and punishments. Furthermore, we have the requisite court experience, knowledge of the law, and trial experience to help you with these charges and may be able to achieve a better outcome for you.
CUSTODY & DIVORCE
When you are considering legal action regarding to either end your marriage or address the custody of your children (or both), the first and most important step is to get information and advice. Our consultations are meant to inform you about your rights, the applicable legal processes, alternatives to court action, the costs (both financial and otherwise) that you will experience, and the likely outcomes of all options. Our firm makes considerable efforts to approach these highly emotional cases with empathy and compassion without sacrificing strong advocacy. We also provide transparency in our billing methods so that all clients are aware of where their money is spent. We are also accessible in those moments when you simply need your questions answered. Most importantly, we understand the delicate balance between the need to continue to fight and reaching an agreeable settlement. Divorce and custody cases do not have to be unpleasant experiences. However, if a battle is necessary, you will be protected and informed every step of the way.
MEDIATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Jennifer Bennett is a mediator certified by North Carolina’s Dispute Resolution Commission. Her certification is specific to family financial cases and she is able to mediate any case filed in family court. If freely retained to do so, she can also assist in mediating any other type of legal dispute. However, mediation is more than simply a manner in which to resolve pending court cases. Instead, mediation can also potentially serve as a way to resolve ANY dispute in either your personal or business life. Any difference of opinion, no matter how big or small, can be resolved in mediation. For example, if you and your spouse prefer to mediate a separation agreement (either prior to or after hiring your own lawyers), if you and your neighbor have a boundary dispute, or if two of your managers cannot resolve a company problem amongst themselves, then you can hire a mediator. Although most people simply resort to hiring an attorney to be an advocate once any potential conflict emerges, mediation can potentially serve as a sound strategic alternative.
WILLS & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
We represent clients with both large and small estates. Working with a client’s tax advisor and financial consultant, we can tailor estate planning documents to address your needs. Trusts are often a component of one’s estate plan. Our firm can structure your wishes within the confines of the law to ease the burden of uncertainness that is always present if you have no plan. Due to the family dynamics that exist upon the death of a loved one, estate administration can often be complex. Bob Wilhoit has over thirty years of experience in the area of estate law. We assist personal representatives in the proper administration of an estate pursuant to statutory guidelines, including the application for letters, the required notice to creditors, the 90 day inventory, and accountings. Handling various estate assets is at times a challenging task. We have the experience, knowledge, and accessibility to help you navigate the various legal issues that often arise in estate administration.
PERSONAL INJURY / WRONGFUL DEATH
No one ever plans to consult an attorney concerning their own personal injury or the wrongful death of a family member. The rush of raw emotion and the sudden realization that one’s life will never be the same can numb the soul. However, the reality is that everyone in the world does not exercise the proper standard of care at all times. Whether it is a trucking accident, a car wreck, medical malpractice, or a products liability claim, we have the experience to guide you through insurance liability issues, including uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) insurance coverage. We can assist you in addressing medical liens and other claims filed by health care providers. We strive to obtain the compensation you deserve as a result of another’s negligence. We are accessible and responsive to your needs.
Real Estate law involves many components that touch our everyday lives. Whether you need a residential loan closing for a home or a business purchase, Bob Wilhoit offers over thirty years of experience in real estate law. Our firm assists our clients with the review of both title and survey, drafting of land use easements, negotiating and drafting leases, 1031 exchange transactions, and contract negotiation.
Our firm is experienced in land use and zoning issues. We have represented clients in various permitting processes on the municipal, county, and state levels. Our firm represents many municipalities and towns in Randolph County. We are very knowledgeable of local government law. We also litigate condemnations, boundary line and title disputes, landlord/tenant issues, and contract claims involving real property. We are accessible to provide counsel and to be your advocate at all stages of any legal action.