James F. Wyatt  III - Wyatt & Blake, L.L.P.

James F. Wyatt III

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1995
Phone: 704-331-0767

James F. Wyatt, III is recognized as one of North Carolina's leading trial lawyers. James attended Vanderbilt University, graduating in 1978 with summa cum laude honors.  He graduated from Duke Law School in 1982, after being the Executive Editor of the Duke Law Journal and a member of the Moot Court Board.  After graduating from Duke Law School, he clerked for United States District Court Judge Harold L. Murphy in the Northern District of Georgia. He then worked for three years with Bobby Lee Cook, Sr. of Summerville, Georgia.  Mr. Cook is the real life lawyer who the television show “Matlock” is loosely patterned after.  When working with Mr. Cook, James tried over 30 cases to verdict, ranging from a RICO trial to diverse federal and state cases, both civil and criminal. James opened his law practice in Charlotte in 1986, and has engaged in the trial of criminal and civil cases since then.

In 1991, at the age of 33, James was asked to present the topic of closing arguments at the North Carolina Criminal Defense “All Star” Seminar.  In 1991, he also received an “AV” Martindale Hubbell rating and was listed in Martindale Hubbell's Register of Pre-Eminent Civil and Criminal Trial Lawyers.  In 1992, he was named one of the six top young attorneys in Charlotte.  In 1994, he was listed in Best Lawyers in America.  In 2005, James was selected by his peers as the best criminal defense lawyer in North Carolina. In 2006, James was named one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in North Carolina.  In 2007, James spoke at an “All Star Trial Advocacy” program sponsored by the federal court system.

Currently, James is listed in Best Lawyers in America in four separate categories: Bet-The-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Non-White Collar Criminal Defense and White Collar Criminal Defense. He is also a Member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization devoted to recognizing outstanding civil and criminal trial lawyers (with fewer than 1% of the lawyers in the United States and Canada becoming members of this organization after a thorough vetting process).

In addition to his representation of individuals and businesses in white collar and criminal defense matters, James has represented numerous plaintiffs in both class action litigation and qui tam lawsuits over the past 20 years.  In qui tam litigation, James has represented physicians, medical billing and coding personnel and other employees of medical practices in qui tam whistleblower lawsuits filed under the federal False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Federal Physician Self-Referral Statute (or Stark Law), and the NC False Claims Act. These cases have included issues of false and fraudulent billing of Medicaid and Medicare services, upcoding, improper referrals and illegal kickbacks.

James recently presented a seminar to counsel throughout the State of North Carolina concerning the North Carolina False Claims Act.  In addition, James recently co-authored two publications concerning the North Carolina False Claims Act, including a comparison of this statute with the federal False Claims Act .  These articles can be accessed here.

Practice Areas: White Collar Criminal Defense, Class Action, Qui Tam Litigation and Civil and Criminal Trial Practice 

Admitted: 1986, U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina and U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit; 1982, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia and U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit

Vanderbilt UniversityBA 1978Duke University School of LawJ.D. 1982
North Carolina State BarAmerican College of Trial LawyersNational Association of Criminal Defense LawyersNorth Carolina Advocates for JusticeMcKnight Education Trust FoundationFourth Circuit CJA Appellate Panel CommitteeFederal Defenders of Western North Carolina, Inc.Federal Directors of Western North Carolina, Inc.

Case History

SEC v Mangan — SEC brought civil charges based on alleged insider trading.  Court granted summary judgment on several grounds.

Client Comments

"After a very successful legal career, some 30-plus years at the bar, life came to a screeching halt. Besieged by disgruntled clients and former colleagues, there was an immediate need for the very best legal talent available. Taking charge, James Wyatt helped me navigate numerous legal obstacle courses as we were fighting wars simultaneously on multiple fronts - civil, criminal, and administrative. While the waters were quite choppy for almost two years, I quickly learned that my role was now that of a passenger/client while Wyatt skippered the ship. We did not sink, though some were betting that I was going down like the Titanic. In fact, we survived the turbulent storms. Some have said, and I concur, that James Wyatt earned his Admiral's strips handling my cases. I would board his ship again, and without any second thoughts!"

"James brings unparalleled integrity and consummate professionalism to his work. He is a fierce advocate, thoroughly prepared and relentless on behalf of his clients. He has the unique ability to find the heart of the case, simplify the unnecessarily complex issues, and keep the focus on the facts that really matter. James serves as a shining example, the best of the best of what lawyers can and should do for their clients and their community."

-Debra Miller
Trial Consultant
Miller Malekpour & Ball

"My wife invited a distant relative from India to visit her and help when she was expecting a baby. After the childbirth, this lady continued to stay with us for an extended period of time. However, she also (unbeknownst to us) entered in a fake marriage with one of my employees and tried to get a visa to stay in the country. Eventually, she left our home and sued us for keeping her as a slave and mistreating her. We settled civil suit with her to avoid the cost of litigation and hassle. We thought the matter was behind us but somehow Federal authorities got involved. Federal agents/attorneys showed a remarkable zeal to investigate this case with the mindset that an illegal act had been committed. At this point, I hired James Wyatt to represent and advise me. He responded immediately to my phone call. A team was promptly gathered. They immediately got to the task of doing their own investigation to find out what happened. They went over every detail, gathered evidence, and interviewed every relevant witness. They presented the complete story, substantiated with overwhelming and solid evidence, to the Federal authorities to prove to them that they were working on a wrong premise. The end result was that Federal authorities closed the investigation and started investigating a case for perjury against the complainant. They even asked for me to be their witness! In summary, I was in the middle of a very unfortunate and grievous situation with very bad possible outcomes. James Wyatt was very quick to realize the gravity of the situation. He went with full force to address the situation. He quickly collected overwhelming evidence and presented it in a very organized and persuasive manner to the Federal authorities. His team's approach was exceedingly prompt, thoughtful, focused, dedicated, and very thorough. He also showed tremendous personal concern for our situation. "

-Pradeep Singh
Carolina Cardiology Associates

"James Wyatt is one of the best trial lawyers I have ever worked with. He does more thorough due diligence on his cases than any attorney I have ever worked with. He has the ability to get to know and understand every facet of the case before he goes to trial. He is aggressive, but professional, in presenting his case and thoroughly prepares his client. His opinions are excellent, and he listens to his client and all possible witnesses with an open mind. I would have him represent me on any legal matters that may come up. No matter how busy he is, he always makes the time to call back, listen, and exchange ideas."

-Sidney H. Kosann
Managing Director - Owner

Office Location

435 East Morehead Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2609
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2015 Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense: General Practice of the Charlotte Metro Area2014 Lawyer of the Year in Litigation - Banking and Finance of the Charlotte Metro Area2013 Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense: General Practice of the Charlotte Metro Area2011 Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense: White-Collar of the Charlotte Metro Area
James F. Wyatt III has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!James F. Wyatt III has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!James F. Wyatt III has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!James F. Wyatt III has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

Bet-the-Company Litigation (White-Collar Criminal Defense)
Criminal Defense: General Practice (Criminal Investigations, Grand Jury, State and Federal)
Criminal Defense: White-Collar (Federal, Government Investigations, Internal Investigations, SEC Enforcement, Securities Fraud, State, Tax, Tax-Evasion Defense)
Litigation - Antitrust
Litigation - Banking and Finance
Litigation - Securities

Other Information

Gender: Male