When I first joined a small firm in eastern North Carolina, some forty years ago, I anticipated being a “general lawyer”, going to court, arguing cases, handling estates, doing whatever was needed to help a client. I had no idea that I would find myself concentrating in real estate.
Now, I have to admit, I had experience in searching title and being in the real estate vaults in local courthouses. My father, before he became a District Court Judge, did a fairly extensive real estate practice, and it was not unusual for me to “ride shotgun” with him during summer vacation and other school breaks. He would tell me which book to pull in the deed vault, and I would go and lug the book from the shelf to Dad’s table. After a while, I began to understand what my father was doing as he searched a title, and I enjoyed the feeling of putting together a puzzle from the various clues in the deed books. Getting to go to lunch with my dad wasn’t bad, either!!
As I began to develop my own practice, my interest in history, putting together complex puzzles, and in helping clients brought me back to doing title searches and working in real estate. I found real estate to be an intellectual challenge. Each real estate file had its own challenge, whether it was a domestic matter, an estate problem, bankruptcy or corporate formation. It really kept me on my toes!! After a few years, I found I could no longer juggle court cases with the growing number of real estate closings I was conducting. My practice became more and more focused on real estate, both commercial and residential, and for twenty-two years, it was my specialty. I served as Chair of the Real Estate Section of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2000-01. In 2003, I “switched sides of the table” and went to work for a real estate title insurance agency. I spent the next eighteen years with four different title companies, in various capacities, but always advising other lawyers on title issues and how they could best serve their clients. I spent over ten years as the North Carolina State Counsel for one of the largest title insurance companies in the nation and served on the Executive Board of the NC Land Title Association, the trade organization of the title industry in NC. I taught continuing education courses in real-estate related topics and wrote a regular monthly newsletter on title topics.
In 2020, the move to working remotely gave me the chance to go back to working directly with clients, and I joined Holler Law Firm as their director of North Carolina Title Operations. Holler made me feel that I was part of their team, even though I am the only employee physically resident in NC. I liked the change to provide customized solutions to our client’s problems and helping to ensure the entire Holler operation in North Carolina was compliant with local rules and regulations. Even though I have been working in real estate for over forty years as a practicing attorney, there are always new challenges, new problems and new puzzles for me to solve. The pole star of my practice has always been and continues to be giving the best possible service to the client.
I attended the University of North Carolina as a Morehead Scholar, graduating with a degree in Journalism and Political Science. I also got my law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. As an Eagle Scout and the father of two Eagles, I volunteer with the local Boy Scout Council, and am currently serving as a Council Vice President. Active in my church, I have served on the Vestry and as Senior Warden, as well as service on two Diocesan commissions. In 2018 I was one of ten attorneys recognized by the NC Bar Association as a “Citizen Lawyer”. I enjoy spending time with my four grandchildren, who all live in North Carolina.