William P. H. Cary - Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP

William P. H. Cary

Listed in Best Lawyers since 1995
Phone: 336-271-3115

Bill Cary has over 35 years experience representing businesses in a wide range of commercial and litigation issues, including environmental, general business litigation, and employment law.  Most recently (during an extended leave from the Firm), he served as the General Counsel of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).  There his responsibilities included advice to and representation of the Department on a wide range of environmental and agency operational issues, including negotiations with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the NC Office of Administrative Hearings on new procedures that now apply to all federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and RCRA cases in North Carolina; review of proposed new legislation; review of proposed rule revisions and repeals; and DENR/US Military projects. As General Counsel, Bill was generally the first point of contact on legal issues affecting any of the DENR regulatory or natural resource conservation activities as well as the Department’s administrative functions.   

Bill’s practice includes planning, advice, and litigation in a variety of environmental areas, particularly involving wetlands and the Clean Water Act, the NEPA/SEPA review process, and administrative and judicial challenges to agency decisions representing both public and private entities. During his career, he has appeared in the state and federal trial and appellate courts in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia (where he is also a member of that Bar), as well as practiced before administrative agencies (OAH, EEOC, etc.).

Bill's interests and practice have also included litigation on a variety of other subjects (including construction and commercial disputes), and he serves as general counsel to a variety of entities (including an international manufacturing concern, the Greensboro United Arts Council, and a regional catering and food consultant). A significant portion of his practice has involved advice on general business transactions and employment policy design and implementation to avoid litigation, including consulting on the employment ramifications of mergers and acquisitions.

Bill is on the approved mediator list for the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina and has served frequently in that capacity. He has conducted numerous seminars and workshops for both Bar and trade association groups over the past 30+ years, particularly in the areas of dispute resolution and management of employees.

Honors & Awards

  • Environmental Leadership Award, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, December 2012
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White) in Labor and Employment Litigation, Employment--Management Law, and Labor--Management Law
  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Employment Law
  • Named by his peers in North Carolina Super Lawyers in Employment & Labor Law
  • Recognized as a member of the "Legal Elite" in Labor and Employment Law in Business North Carolina magazine

Professional & Community Activities

  • Chair, 2007-2009; Vice Chair, 2003-2007, Board of Trustees, NC School of Science and Mathematics
  • Board Member, Piedmont Triad, National Conference for Community & Justice (NCCJ), 2002-2006
  • Council Member, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Law Section, North Carolina Bar Association
  • Board Member, Labor & Employment Section, North Carolina Bar Association
  • Member, Environmental, Employment, and Litigation Sections, American Bar Association and North Carolina Bar Association

Articles, Publications & Speeches

  • Author, "Living Shorelines: From Barriers to Opportunities," Draft Report, 2014, Restore America's Estuaries 
  • Presenter, "The Latest Court Decisions and Regulatory Developments Involving Discrimination, Wrongful Discharge, Retaliation, and Related Subjects," November 2008
  • Author, The Kolstad Umbrella Can Keep Employers Dry, 2006 Law Journal, Business North Carolina
  • Co-Author, 1992 Employment Law Update, General Practice Journal, Winter 1993
  • ERISA Litigation with an Emphasis on Pre-emption, General Practice Journal, Fall 1990
  • Co-Author, Second Generation Problems Facing Employers in Employment Discrimination Cases, Law & Contemporary Problems, Autumn 1986
  • Employment Discrimination and Savings Institutions, Legal Bulletin, U.S. League of Savings Institutions, September 1983



University of VirginiaBA 1971University of VirginiaMBA 1976University of VirginiaJ.D. 1976

Office Location

Renaissance Plaza, Suite 2000
230 North Elm Street
P.O. Box 26000
Greensboro, NC 27420
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2015 Lawyer of the Year in Labor Law - Management of the Greensboro Metro Area2012 Lawyer of the Year in Litigation - Labor and Employment of the Greensboro Metro Area
William P. H. Cary has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!William P. H. Cary has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2012!

Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management
Labor Law - Management
Litigation - Labor and Employment