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James K. Coward Jr.

Native peoples law Attorney at Sylva, NC

Not yet reviewed
  • Licensed for 39 years
    State NC
    Acquired 1984
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About James

Learn James’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Business
    Whether you are just starting out or looking for ongoing legal support for your established business, I can help you interact with the public, other companies, and the government through contracts, negotiation, and transactions. From entity formation to selling your business, business law encompasses a variety of legal disciplines to help protect your business every step of the way.

  2. Government
    Municipal and county government law deals with legal issues of local government. This area of the law includes zoning, planning and land use, eminent domains and condemnation, annexation, and municipal counsel at the local government level.

  3. Litigation
    Litigation is the process of resolving a dispute by filing a complaint between individuals or businesses through the court system. Litigation can involve multiple areas of the law and is necessary when an agreement or initial negotiation will not resolve the dispute. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants and will manage the entire litigation process, including investigation, pleadings, discovery, trial, settlement, and appeal.

  4. Native peoples law
    Laws governing tribal members, land use and ownership (real property), business formation and activities (corporate law), as well as procedures for both criminal and civil matters occurring on Indian reservations, are collectively referred to as Native Peoples Law. These laws govern not only the rights of enrolled members, but also those of non-Indians when issues arise on tribal land.

  5. Real estate
    Real estate, or real property, law encompasses the area of law that governs various forms of ownership and tenancy of lands and the property on them. We bring a depth of experience that includes efficient handling of all types of real estate transactions, both commercial and residential.

James Kent (“Jay”) Coward, Jr. was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and has been practicing law in Sylva since 1984. He attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, received his B.A.with honors in English from Davidson College in 1977, and earned his law degree from Campbell University in 1984, where he was a member of the Campbell Law Observer.


Mr. Coward was admitted to the North Carolina Bar Association in 1984 and is licensed to practice in United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (1986), United States Supreme Court (1986, The Cherokee Supreme Court (2002), and United States Tax Court (2007).  His areas of practice include Real Estate, Business, Government, Eminent Domain, and Civil Litigation. He has represented clients such as Smoky Mountain Area Mental Health, Duke Energy, Village of Forest Hills (1999-2006), County of Jackson (2010--), and the Town of Highlands (2013--).


Mr. Coward focuses part of his practice on Native American Indian Law and works to successfully represent both enrolled members and non-Indians in matters occurring on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians lands. He studied the Cherokee language at Kituwah Language Academy.


Mr. Coward has been active in civic affairs his entire career and has served on the boards of Southwestern Community College Foundation, Jackson County Arts Council, the Economic Development Commission, the Westcare Regional Hospital, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Baptist Childrens’ Home of North Carolina. He has chaired the boards of Webster Enterprises, Jackson County Board of Elections, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, The Pinnacle Park Foundation and the Sylva First Baptist Church Board of Deacons. In 1994, he was elected to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and served until 1998.


Coward, Hicks & Siler, PA, is a North Carolina law firm regulated by the Rules of Professional Conduct as promulgated by the North Carolina State Bar.  As such, our lawyers do not and cannot ethically participate in many of Avvo's programs, including its Legal Topics, Legal Forms, or its fixed-price legal services. We advise extreme caution when relying on Q&A's or use of legal forms without the guidance of a qualified lawyer.

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Coward, Hicks & Siler, P.A.
705 W Main St
Sylva, NC, 28779-5555


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AVVO RATING 6.8 (Good)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • Coward, Hicks & Siler, P.A.
  • 1984 - Present


  • Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1984
  • Davidson College
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1978
  • University of East Anglia
  • N/A


  • Friends of Mountains to Sea Trail
  • Board of Directors
  • 2013 - Present
  • Pinnacle Park Foundation
  • Chairman
  • 1992 - Present
  • Sylva First Baptist Church Board of Deacons
  • Board Member
  • 1990 - Present
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Real Property Law Section
  • Member
  • 1984 - Present
  • 30th Judicial District Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1984 - Present
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1984 - Present
  • Western Carolina Community Chorus
  • Member
  • 1970 - Present
  • Sylva Rotary Club
  • Chairman
  • 2011 - 2011
  • Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina
  • Member
  • 2004 - 2012
  • Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
  • Chairman
  • 2002 - 2002
  • Jackson County Economic Development Commission
  • Member
  • 2000 - 2009
  • North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching Foundation
  • Board Member
  • 1998 - 2010
  • Webster Enterprises (Sheltered Workshop)
  • Chairman
  • 1998 - 2000
  • Harris Regional Hospital Board of Directors
  • Board Member
  • 1995 - 1997
  • Sylva First Baptist Church Board of Deacons
  • Chairman
  • 1995 - 1996
  • Jackson County Board of Commissioners
  • Member
  • 1994 - 1998
  • Sylva First Baptist Church Board of Deacons
  • Chairman
  • 1992 - 1992
  • Jackson County Board of Elections
  • Chairman
  • 1990 - 1994
  • Jackson County Arts Council
  • Member
  • 1986 - 1988
  • Southwestern Community College Foundation
  • Member
  • 1984 - 1986
  • Jackson County Rescue Squad
  • Member
  • 1978 - 1981
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Honors and Awards

  • Best Law Firm, Tier 1 Asheville Family Law
  • Woodward-White, Inc.
  • 2018
  • Best Law Firm, Tier 1 Asheville Family Law
  • Woodward-White, Inc.
  • 2017
  • Best Law Firm, Tier 1 Asheville Family Law
  • Woodward-White, Inc.
  • 2016

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Sylva Native peoples law Lawyer James K. Coward Jr.
James K. Coward Jr.
Native peoples law Attorney
Sylva, NC
Licensed for 39 years