Biography

Matt is Managing Partner of the Raleigh and Wilmington, NC, offices and Co-Chair of the Appellate Practice Group. He focuses his practice on helping businesses navigate state and federal litigation and appeals.

Matt is well known for his appellate work. In 2018, he was the top vote recipient in North Carolina in Business North Carolina magazine’s new Appellate category, becoming the first attorney in the state to be inducted into its Legal Elite “Hall of Fame” for appellate practice.

Matt is also widely recognized for his work as a litigator and strategist, protecting clients in bet-the-company and other high-stakes litigation.

Matt’s clients range from prominent private equity firms to large health systems to small businesses and individuals. He regularly helps clients with:

  • Federal and state appeals
  • Class action defense
  • Bet-the-company litigation
  • Trade secret and noncompetition litigation
  • Defense against federal civil rights claims
  • Contract litigation

Matt believes that “all litigation is local.” When businesses are sued in North Carolina for the first time, they often start searching for the legal team with an established reputation and detailed knowledge of local customs and practices. Matt’s business litigation and appellate teams are often selected for that role, and use their familiarity with the courts to develop a strategic plan for the litigation or appeal from the very beginning of the case. Cases and appeals are won or lost on those careful strategic decisions, as well as excellent persuasive writing and oral advocacy.

Matt’s clients value his business sense and ability to translate complex legal issues into business decisions. In fact, Matt is often hired by other lawyers to provide strategic guidance or to represent other firms in complex litigation where the firms themselves are parties.

Matt’s experience includes:

  • Defending prominent hospital systems in multimillion-dollar class action litigation challenging billing practices
  • Obtaining reversal of a $5.5 million jury verdict for pain and suffering in a medical-malpractice appeal.
  • Representing a member of a Board of Directors in the first N.C. Securities Act case to reach the North Carolina Supreme Court in 35 years
  • Obtaining three North Carolina Court of Appeals opinions reversing and reinstating class-action and breach-of-fiduciary-duty claims arising out of alleged fraud of a company insider
  • Obtaining reversal in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of a dismissal in a software-licensing contract dispute
  • Obtaining reversal in the North Carolina Court of Appeals of a dismissal in a multimillion-dollar health-care contracting dispute
  • Obtaining a defense decision and multimillion-dollar award on the client’s counterclaims in an arbitration of a contract dispute

Matt regularly appears on behalf of clients in North Carolina's specialized Business Court, and serves on the Business Court's inaugural Rules Advisory Committee.

Matt has been recognized by Triangle Business Journal for its “40 Under 40” Leadership Award and by Benchmark Litigation.

Matt also leads the Carolinas appellate practice team, where his wealth of appellate experience has earned him a designation as a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice. Every day, Matt works with clients whose cases are before the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, or in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and has argued cases in all three courts. In addition, Matt has served as a consultant for appeals before the North Carolina appellate courts, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Matt is a founder and regular writer for the North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog, www.ncapb.com, which provides news, information, tips, and resources for practicing law in North Carolina's state and federal appellate courts.

Representative Matters

Matt focuses his trial level work on representing businesses in contract and other disputes, especially cases brought in the specialized North Carolina Business Court. Matt's litigation work includes:

  • Representing a law firm in a multimillion-dollar arbitration dispute with a financier and another law firm
  • Defending businesses, hospitals and law firms against purported class action lawsuits
  • Representing businesses and executives in disputes over covenants not-to-compete
  • Representing minority owners in shareholder derivative litigation
  • Defending a life insurance company in federal court against an interstate fraud scheme perpetrated by one of its agents

Matt works with his appellate clients every day to strategize and protect their interests in the state and federal appellate courts, whether by protecting a favorable outcome in the trial court or seeking to have an unfavorable outcome overturned. Matt's appellate work includes:

  • Representing a software company in a licensing dispute before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Representing a state agency in a landmark constitutional case before the Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • Defending a corporate director against securities violations before the Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • Representing a private equity firm in a business defamation suit before the North Carolina Court of Appeals

Matt also works closely with health care clients across North Carolina to pursue their strategic goals in business litigation, including:

  • Defending hospitals in patient billing purported class action lawsuits
  • Representing health care providers and pharmacy benefit management companies in multi-million dollar contract disputes
  • Defending health care providers in patient confidentiality litigation
  • Representing health-care-related businesses in litigation arising from mergers and acquisitions

Before Fox Rothschild

Matt was the partner in charge of the Raleigh office and head of the Appellate practice group at Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, which merged with Fox Rothschild in 2018.

Immediately after law school, Matt served as a law clerk for two years for U.S. Circuit Judge Allyson Kay Duncan on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Matt serves on the North Carolina Bar Association's Appellate Rules Committee. He also serves as Chair for the Section Council for the Appellate Practice Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, as Chair of the Appellate Practice Committee of the Eastern District of North Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society.

He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, teaching Federal Courts.

Matt serves the needs of those without means to hire an attorney by representing the indigent through his membership on the Criminal Justice Act appellate panel for the Fourth Circuit.  Matt has also represented needy clients on a pro bono, or free, basis, including arguing an appeal to the Supreme Court of North Carolina on behalf of a single mother wrongly accused of bigamy after having procured a religious divorce.

Matt also works with the Wake County Bar Association’s "Bar Awards Committee" to raise money every year for Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Honors & Awards

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America® (Woodward/White, Inc.)
    • Appellate Practice (2018, 2019)
    • Commercial Litigation (2018, 2019)
  • North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society (2017, 2018)
  • McNeill Smith Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, 2012
  • Triangle Business Journal's "40 Under 40" (2017)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Edition,Listed Business Litigation (2012-2017), Appellate (2018, 2019)
  • Business North Carolina's Legal Elite, Young Guns (2012-2015, 2018), Litigation (2017), Appellate (Overall Winner 2018)
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Future Star (2016-2018)
  • Finalist for North Carolina Lawyers Weekly 2010 Emerging Legal Leaders Award
  • United Way of the Greater Triangle; Campaign Leader of the Year 2009
  • Directed Duke University School of Law's Guardian ad Litem Program to the 2005 North Carolina Bar Association's Law Students Pro Bono Project Award