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2006 Legal Elite

After weighing their opinions, lawyers elected these as the state's best in 12 business-related specialties.Each year, Business North Carolina sets out to answer a simple question: Who are the best business lawyers in the state? No one knows the answer to that better than Tar Heel lawyers themselves. So the magazine mailed 17,336 ballots last spring — one to every lawyer licensed by the State Bar and living in North Carolina. The ballots asked only one question: “Of the North Carolina lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whom would you rate among the current best?” Ballots included spaces for names in 12 fields closely related to business. 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. More than 1,700 lawyers received votes, with 495 getting enough to be named to this year’s Legal Elite.

How elite is it? Less than 3% of the state’s lawyers made it. Profiles of those getting the most votes in each category are listed on the links below.

Legal Elite Methodology

The Legal Elite is chosen not by Business North Carolina editors but by the state’s lawyers. Every year, BNC mails ballots 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? Voters are not allowed to vote for themselves. They may select members of their firms only if they pick 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. The listing has been published annually since 2001.