Stephen W. Coles is a Member in the Charlotte and Greensboro N.C. offices, where he focuses his practice on matters related to business disputes. He serves as the NC deputy for the firm's Business Litigation Practice Group and chair of the firm's Professional Liability Committee.
Coles, who has more than 30 years of experience in business and commercial litigation, has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for civil litigation for over 10 years and has been rated a North Carolina “Super Lawyer” in commercial litigation since its inception in 2006. He has been named in Business North Carolina Magazine's "Legal Elite" for litigation.
Mr. Coles has been lead counsel in over 200 medical related lawsuits and represented physicians, hospitals, nurses and manufacturers in cases involving drugs and medical devices, transplants and bone marrow harvestings. He has defended physicians practicing in all the major specialties. He has tried over 100 jury trials primarily in the fields of medical injury, commercial disputes, product defects, insurance coverage and contracts. He has represented professionals before the North Carolina Medical Board, North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners and North Carolina Real Estate Commission.
He has been a school board attorney for over twenty years and has advised public school boards of education, private educational institutions, and public and private colleges and universities. He has litigated in state, federal and appellate courts for those clients. He has also served as the interim County Attorney for Guilford County and assisted Guilford County in performing an assessment study and the hiring of a full-time in-house counsel. His work in education and county government has included merger of school boards, policy generation, funding disputes, student conduct issues, school assignment, student assignment, teacher tenure and dismissal, general employment, construction and public contracting, premises liability, general liability and First Amendment issues. He has also been involved in advising municipal and county development entities.
He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Wake Forest University. Coles is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Defense Research and Trial Lawyers Association and the National School Boards Association of School Attorneys. He has served as President of the Wake Forest Alumni Association, Director of the Wake Forest University Athletic Board, Director of the NC Museum of Art, and was a member of the City of Lexington’s Strategic Planning Commission. He currently serves as Chairman on the Brenner’s Children’s Hospital Advisory Board and on the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Board of Visitors as well as the Lexington Dispatch Empty Stocking Fund.
He served as Co-Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Tort Reform Special Task Force from 2009 until its conclusion in 2012. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and a former President of Carolina Legal Services, Inc.
- Named in Best Lawyers in America® in the area of civil litigation for over 10 years (2003-2013)
- Named among NC Super Lawyers® in Business Litigation (2006-2013)
- Named in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" for Litigation Law (2009)
- The Carolinas Insurance Litigation Review
This issue of the Carolinas Insurance Litigation Review includes:
- "Challenging Policyholder Claims for Bad Faith and Punitive Damages" for North Carolina
- "Combating Policyholder Bad Faith and Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Claims" for South Carolina
- Wake Forest University, B.A., cum laude, 1977
- Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D., 1980
Bar & Court Admissions
- North Carolina
- U.S. District Court, Western, Middle and Eastern Districts of NC
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
Civic & Professional Memberships
- Co-chair of the NC Bar Association Tort Issues Task Force
- Greensboro Bar Association
- North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
- Defense Research and Trial Lawyers Association
- Medico-Legal Liaison Committee(Assisted in drafting current Medical Legal Guidelines)
- National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys
- North Carolina School Board Attorney Association
- North Carolina Bar Candidate Review Committee, 1985 - 2007
- Director, North Carolina Museum of Art