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Pro Bono Champion: Norman Shearin - Atl. Coast Props., Inc. v. Saunders

March 25, 2019

When Norman Shearin came to Nexsen Pruet in 2017, he brought with him a pro bono case he’s been working on for more than 35 years.

Norm, with assistance from Lisa Sumner, Brian Pearce and Brian Lewis, serves as pro bono counsel for a family that has lived on a coastal tract of North Carolina for nearly a century, spanning multiple generations.

In 1921, the family inherited the property from an ancestor who died intestate and has resided on the property continuously since that time. More than a decade ago, a Delaware corporation owned by unrelated parties purchased quitclaim deeds as a speculative investment from two remote descendants of a common ancestor. In 2006, the corporation filed a partition action in Currituck County, North Carolina. Since then, two appeals in the action have reached the North Carolina Supreme Court, resulting in opinions that have been discussed in CLE presentations, manuscripts and legal treatises. The case is back in Currituck County on remand and trial preparation is underway.

Read more about Atl. Coast Props., Inc. v. Saunders here.


Norm Shearin concentrates his law practice in condemnation, land use and property rights litigation matters. He is a Board Certified Specialist in Real Property Law (Business, Commercial and Industrial Transactions). Norm is a seasoned condemnation, land use and property rights lawyer and has done considerable work for electric cooperatives and municipalities, representing both landowners and condemners.

He is a member of the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation’s Counsel Association and the Electric Cooperative Bar Association. Norm is also dedicated to the community serving as a member of the Dare County Board of Education; Founding Director and Chairman of Friends of Nags Head Prior Woods (which received The Nature Conservancy National Stewardship Award); Director, Officer and Legal Counsel of the Outer Banks Community Foundation; and Chairman of Dare County Board of Education High School Facilities Task Force. Norm has served as general counsel for Cape Hatteras Electric Membership Corporation since 1972.

He received a B.S. from the University of North Carolina and a J.D. from Wake Forest University, where he served as Research Editor of the Wake Forest Law Review.


Nexsen Pruet is one of the largest law firms in the Carolinas, with more than 190 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina. Founded in 1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the business community and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national and international venues.

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