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2008 Legal Elite

The ballots are in — North Carolina lawyers select the best of the profession in more than a dozen categories.

The name says it all. To make Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, you must be one of the state’s best lawyers, not in the opinion of the magazine’s editors but of your peers. It starts with a simple question asked of every lawyer in the state: Of the Tar Heel lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whom would you rate among the current best in 14 categories. That was answered this year by the selection of 635 lawyers — a little more than 3% of the more than 18,500 active members of the N.C. State Bar, each of whom was sent a ballot. They were not allowed to select themselves and could vote for members of their firms only if they also picked out-of-firm lawyers in the same categories. Out-of-firm votes were weighted more heavily. Nearly 2,700 lawyers received votes. Those with the most make up the Legal Elite. Headed by the winner in each category, they appear on the pages that follow. Members of the Legal Elite Hall of Fame, the top vote-getters each year since the first list was published in 2002, are ineligible to be selected again. The magazine asked this year’s winners to reveal where they spend time away from work to recharge and recover. Photos of them in those settings follow, accompanied by biographical and other information.

Photography by Steve Exum