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Thurston Debnam is one of the founding partners of Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, L.L.P. Thurston is the Section Head of the Business Law practice group and served as the firm’s managing partner from 1992 through 1997. He concentrates his practice in the areas of business and corporate planning and real estate law, including land use planning and zoning. For more than thirty years, Thurston has maintained a broad-based business practice, assisting clients with business and corporate planning and handling land development and real property issues and transactions. In addition, Thurston is certified as a civil Superior Court mediator.

Thurston’s practice has afforded him the opportunity to appear before many administrative agencies, including the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the North Carolina Industrial Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency. He has also participated in trials and appeals in both state and federal courts. These trials included the Town of Zebulon v. United States Census Bureau in which the Town sought and obtained an adjustment to the preliminary census count for the 1980 census.


  • The Landmark Center, Suite 400
    4601 Six Forks Road
    P.O. Box 176010
    Raleigh, NC 27609

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Law


North Carolina State Bar

U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western District of North Carolina

U.S. Supreme Court


Certified, Civil Superior Court Mediator

Civic Involvement

Town of Zebulon; Municipal Counsel, 1976-1988; Mayor, 1989-1993

Zebulon Chamber of Commerce; President, 1976-1987

Zebulon Baptist Church; Chairman, Executive Committee; Chairman, Board of Deacons; Chairman, Sanctuary Building Committee


J.D., cum laude, Wake Forest University School of Law, 1972

B.S., Wake Forest University, 1969

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association

North Carolina Bar Association; Real Property Section, Business Law Section, Zoning and Land Use Planning Section

Wake County Bar Association

Listed among Best Lawyers in America 2014

Listed as 2013 Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite for Business Law

Published Articles

Holy Cow! They Can Take My Land?, Legal Insights, October 2005

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