I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. My dad was a Baptist minister. My mom was a kindergarten teacher. I admired how they helped people through their chosen professions.
I also greatly admired lawyers in my hometown, particularly two lawyers in my church, Jim Nance, Sr. and D.P. Russ. They were generous and helped people in need. Based on their example, I decided to become a lawyer.
I attended Wake Forest University and served as President of the Student Government and Student Member of the Board of Trustees. I pursued graduate studies as a Rotary Foundation Scholar at the University of Essex in England. I returned home to UNC School of Law and graduated with honors.
In 1987, I began law practice in Raleigh. My mentor, Wade Smith, taught me that every day as a lawyer represents an opportunity to make the world a better place.
I’ve been blessed to represent many special clients during my career, including children who suffered catastrophic injuries. It’s been an honor to champion the cause of these children and their families in seeking the resources necessary for a lifetime of medical care.
From 2020-21, I served as President of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Foundation. I was honored to help lead our association of over 18,000 lawyers, judges, paralegals and law students as well as the charitable foundation through which our profession serves others through pro bono and public service.
From 2017-19, I served as State Chair of the North Carolina chapter of the American College of Trial Lawyers, having been inducted as an ACTL Fellow in 2009.
I’ve been recognized in Best Lawyers in America for over 15 years. From 2014-16, I was included in the Super Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys in North Carolina. I also am a certified superior court mediator.
From 2011-13, I served as an Advisory Member of the Ethics Committee of the North Carolina State Bar. I also currently serve on the Chief Justice’s Rules Advisory Commission and the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of North Carolina.
In 2020, I was invited into fellowship with the International Society of Barristers. I also have served on the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. And I am pleased to be included in the 2020 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society.
My wife, Joanna, and I have four young adult children. Charles Holt is a graduate of UNC Asheville and a musician. Grace Wells Hefner is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and an occupational therapist. Sarah Holt is a graduate of Wake Forest University and a real estate agent. Caroline Wells is a graduate of Appalachian State University and a kindergarten teacher. Our son-in-law, Will Hefner, is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and works with Cisco Systems.
Joanna and I are members of and worship with Church on Morgan in downtown Raleigh.