John Jernigan serves as Chairman of Smith Anderson. Prior to his election to Chairman, he served as the firm's Managing Partner.
John maintains an active practice including corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, banking, and corporate law. He represents businesses in complex commercial transactions and has over 35 years' experience structuring, negotiating, and closing mergers and acquisitions involving public companies and large privately-owned companies. John has advised public company boards on special committees, audit committees and corporate governance, and regularly advises companies and their boards and officers on general corporate and business law matters.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Member, American, North Carolina, and Wake County Bar Associations
- Past President, North Carolina Bar Association (1999-2000)
- Member, North Carolina Bar Association’s Past Presidents’ Council
- Member, North Carolina Bar Association’s Board of Governors (1989-1992) and served two terms as Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Business Law Section
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Member, American Judicature Society, American College of Mortgage Attorneys, and American Counsel Association
- Member, North Caroliniana Society
- Member, Supreme Court Historical Society
- Member, Board of Directors, Wells Fargo, Raleigh
- Former Vice Chair, North Carolina Symphony Foundation Board of Trustees
- Former Member, Board of Advisors, UNC School of Law Center for Banking and Finance (2000-2015)
- Former Member, Davidson College Board of Visitors
- Former Member, Board of Trustees, Choate Rosemary Hall School (1989-1992)
- Former Member, Leadership Council, Wake Education Partnership
Honors & Awards
- Chairman of Smith Anderson
- Listed, Best Lawyers®, Banking & Finance Law, Corporate Law, Financial Services Regulation Law, Mergers & Acquisitions Law, Securities/Capital Markets Law (1995-2021)
- Listed, Business North Carolina Legal Elite
- Selected, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Corporate/M&A, Band 1 "Leader in their Field" (2004-2016); Senior Statesman (2017-2021)
- Recognized, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (one of four North Carolina lawyers in the Corporate Governance area)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
- Listed, North Carolina Super Lawyers, Mergers & Acquisitions, Business/Corporate (2006-2013)
- Honoree, Top 100 Lawyers list and listed, North Carolina Super Lawyers, Mergers & Acquisitions
- Selected, Triangle Business Journal's "CEO of the Year" Awards (2017)
- Selected, Triangle Business Journal's "The Triangle's Most Influential Business Leaders" (2012)
- Served as lead lawyer in the representation of a prominent privately held distributor and supplier of original equipment and aftermarket replacement products in its merger with a publicly traded leading provider of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories in a transaction valued at $2.04 billion, making it one of the largest transactions in North Carolina history.
- Represented a family-owned national customized food service company in sale transaction with subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
- Advised an investment company in a definitive agreement to purchase the outstanding equity interests of the largest independent blender and packager of lubricants to the automotive, agriculture, commercial and heavy duty markets in North America.
- Represented buyer in connection with $250 million+ acquisition from public company buyer and $100 million+ sale of business to public company buyer.
- Served as counsel to an international leader in the food and beverage industry, in connection with compliance with FTC’s Consent Order arising out of the client's $11 billion+ merger.
- Represented seller in connection with $115 million+ sale to foreign public company.
- Advised sellers in connection with $100 million+ sale of North Carolina large privately held business.
- Provided general corporate and strategic advice to the largest electric utility in the United States.
- Engaged by private equity firm to advise in connection with potential $100 million+ investment in banking industry.
- Engaged by publicly held bank in connection with two merger transactions.
News & Publications
- Smith Anderson Shines in 2021 Chambers USA with Most Band 1 Practice Rankings of Any NC-Based Law FirmChambers USA, 05.21.2021
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s HistoryThe 2021 Best Lawyers®, 08.20.2020
- Chambers USA, 04.23.2020
- Smith Anderson Leads “Best Lawyers®” Rankings with 71 Recognized Lawyers and 11 “Lawyers of the Year” - Most of Any Raleigh Law FirmThe Best Lawyers in America©, 08.20.2019
- Chambers USA, 04.29.2019
- The Best Lawyers in America©, 08.15.2018
- Chambers USA, 05.03.2018
- Smith Anderson Chairman John L. Jernigan Honored for 50 Years of Legal Practice by North Carolina State Bar11.06.2017
- The Best Lawyers in America©, 08.15.2017
- Chambers USA, 05.30.2017
- Smith Anderson Chairman and CEO of the Year award winner John L. Jernigan shares his recipe for a successful law firmTriangle Business Journal, 05.24.2017
- Smith Anderson Chairman John L. Jernigan Selected as a Winner of the Triangle Business Journal’s 2017 “CEO of the Year” Awards03.06.2017
- 2017 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Recognizes 62 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.15.2016
- Chambers USA, 06.01.2016
- 2016 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Lists 60 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.17.2015
- Smith Anderson Represents General Parts International in $2.04 Billion Merger with Advance Auto Parts03.18.2014
- Smith Anderson Announces 49 of its Firm Lawyers are Named a “Best Lawyer” by The Best Lawyers in America® 201308.29.2012
- Chambers USA 2012 Distinguishes Twelve Smith Anderson Partners Among America’s Leading Lawyers for Business06.07.2012
- Chambers USA 2011 Recognizes Eleven Smith Anderson Partners Among America’s Leading Lawyers for Business06.15.2011