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2005 Legal Elite

Lawyers elected these practitioners as top of their class in a dozen business-related fields.

Who are the best business lawyers in the state? That's what Business North Carolina sets out to determine each year. And who better to tell us than Tar Heel lawyers themselves? The mabazine mailed 16,866 ballots in the spring of 2004 - one to every lawyer licensed by the State Bar and living in North Carolina. They were asked a simple question: "Of the North Carolina lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whome would you rate among the current best?" Ballots included spaces for names in 12 fields closely related to business. The only prohibitions: Voters could not pick themselves and could only select members of their own firms if they also voted for out-of-firm lawyers in the same categories. Past winners, inducted into the Legal Elite Hall of Fame, are ineligible to repeat. Nearly 1,600 lawyers received votes, with 442 getting enough to be named to this year's Legal Elite. How elite is it? Only 2.6% of the state's lawyers made it.

Legal Elite Methodology

The Legal Elite is chosen not by Business North Carolina editors but by the state’s lawyers. In early June, the magazine mails one ballot to every member of the State Bar living in North Carolina — asking each a simple question: Of the Tar Heel lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whom would you rate among the current best in these categories? They could select members of their firms only if they picked out-of-firm lawyers in the same categories, with the latter votes weighted more heavily. Past winners become members of the Legal Elite Hall of Fame and are ineligible to win again.

Each ballot has a unique number corresponding to the State Bar list. Lawyers may submit only one ballot; when votes are counted each lawyer is checked off the master list to prevent duplicate voting. All ballots are tallied, with the top winners in each category making the list. Letters are sent to each lawyer to confirm their firm affiliation and practice location in NC.