A graduate of Davidson College and the University of North Carolina School of Law, Mike's practice focuses on bringing solutions to families - and their businesses - at any phase of a trust & estate matter.
As an estate-planner, Mike counsels clients on complex family- and financial-matters, helping clients structure their estate-plans in a manner that can bring certainty, with flexibility, to their loved ones -- encouraging clients to plan carefully, and allow their legacies to empower and enrich the lives of their children or other beneficiaries.
As a fiduciary litigator, Mike helps clients and their families navigate the uniquely challenging disputes that can arise among families. A tenacious and relentless advocate, Mike also helps clients litigate these delicate matters in a way that - whenever possible - can preserve and even restore the ties of family that sometimes strain with the aging, illness, or death of a loved one . . . and the disputes that can arise among families as they cope with this already stressful period. Mike has developed a reputation as one of the leading fiduciary litigation attorneys in North Carolina, representing fiduciaries (executors, trustees, agent acting under power of attorney, etc.) and beneficiaries in caveats (will contests), trust litigation matters, elder guardianships, power-of-attorney disputes, elder exploitation and undue influence matters, breach of fiduciary claims, professional malpractice, and disputes regarding end-of-life care.
Oftentimes, Mike's relationship with clients extends into a broader area of practice, serving as outside general counsel to a number of small businesses in the Charlotte area. With a background in law enforcement and white-collar criminal defense, as well as experience as a commercial litigator at one of the world's largest law firms, Mike is able to counsel clients on a wide variety of issues and matters.
Mike has been recognized by his peers and clients as a leader in this space. In 2015, Mike was inducted into the American Society of Legal Advocates and recognized as one of the "Top 40 Under 40" litigation attorneys in the State of North Carolina. Additional Mike has served as the co-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association's Fiduciary Litigation Committee, and as Chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar's Estate Planning & Probate Section. And in 2018, Mike was selected to author the chapter on Guardianships for the North Carolina Fiduciary Litigation Manual.
Mike is rated by his peers as a Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent® rated attorney, the highest rating available and reflecting “a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.” In each year between 2013 and 2019, Mike has been tabbed a “Rising Star” by North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine, an honor reserved for fewer than 2.5% of qualifying attorneys in the state; Mike has been recognized in the areas of Business Litigation, Estate Planning, and Trust & Estate Litigation. Mike was also recognized in 2014 among “Charlotte Area’s Outstanding Young Lawyers” in a Charlotte Magazine publication. In 2017, Mike was recognized as a "2017 Legal Leader - Elite Lawyers of the South" by The National Law Journal. And in 2019, Mike was honored in Business North Carolina's Legal Elite in the area of litigation
Mike is admitted to practice in North Carolina and Illinois, and has appeared in state and federal courts in both jurisdictions, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Mike graduated cum laude with honors from Davidson College, where he was a William Holt Terry Leadership Scholar, and with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he attended on UNC’s Aycock Poe Law Scholarship and served as the Head Honors Writing Scholar at the Law School, and was awarded his section's Gressman-Pollitt Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy.
In recent years, Mike has contributed hundreds of hours of pro bono service, most of it as a court-appointed Guardian ad litem in elder incompetency matters and contested guardianships. In one such case, Mike committed more than one hundred hours service advocating on behalf of a persistent-vegetative-state patient in a dispute among loved ones over the removal of mechanical life sustaining measures.
Outside the practice of law, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and their two dogs - Briggs and Stanley - and is a member of Charlotte's F3 Metro section (nicknamed "Razorback"); he is a parishioner at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte. He is an avid fan of his hometown (and 2016 World Champion!) Chicago Cubs and the Davidson Wildcats, and enjoys playing Bar League softball with the (2018 champion!) team from Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson.
|IL||Active And Authorized To Practice Law||2008||03/24/2020|
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Rising Star: Trust & Estate Litigation||SuperLawyers||2015|
|Rising Star: Business Litigation||SuperLawyers||2014|
|Rising Star: Business Litigation||SuperLawyers||2013|
|Head Honors Writing Scholar||UNC School of Law||2007|
|Aycock-Poe Law Scholarship||University of North Carolina School of Law||2004|
|William Holt Terry Scholarship||Davidson College||1998|
|Partner||Baucom Claytor Law Firm||2014 - 2016|
|Partner Attorney||Copeland, Richards & Anderson, PLLC||2013 - 2014|
|Hunton & Williams LLP||Associate Attorney||2011 - 2013|
|Associate Attorney||Johnston Allison & Hord, P.A.||2010 - 2011|
|Associate Attorney||Mayer Brown, LLP||2007 - 2010|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Mecklenvurg County Bar, Estate Planning Section||Chair, Estate||2018 - 2019|
|North Carolina Fiduciary Litigation Manual||Guardianships||2018|
|The Will & The Way||Fiduciary Litigation Update: Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Trusts||2014|
|The Will & The Way||Elder Fraud Update||2013|
|The Will & The Way||Punctilios Without Privilege?||2012|
|Charlotte Business Journal||Bank Liability May Increase||2012|
|The Will & The Way||Dust To Dust||2012|
|University of North Carolina School of Law||JD||2007|
|CLE||Fiduciary Litigation: Current Issues||2014|
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