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Toby R. Coleman

AA Contact Info

Jennifer Ragan
Phone: 919.838-2090


Toby Coleman is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Development group and focuses his practice on land use and zoning, real estate development, and construction. Toby focuses on providing practical guidance with the goal of efficiently achieving effective outcomes.  

Toby routinely represents parties in the construction and development industry, including owners, developers, contractors, sureties and lenders. He is experienced in lien, bond and licensing issues, claims administration and avoidance, and regularly handles real estate and construction disputes involving both private and public projects.

Toby partners with his clients to take advantage of opportunities as well as to identify, evaluate, and manage risk with respect to a variety of real estate and development related matters, including real estate and banking disputes, landlord-tenant issues, and foreclosures.

Within the land use and zoning area, Toby represents national and regional developers and land owners before governing authorities, agencies, boards and commissions throughout North Carolina. He advises clients on all facets of land use, including rezoning cases and obtaining development approvals.

Prior to joining Smith Anderson, Toby was a newspaper reporter at the Raleigh News & Observer.

  • Member, Urban Land Institute Triangle District Council – Management Committee
  • Member, Board of Directors, Triangle Community Coalition
  • First Vice President, BarCARES
  • Member, Design Professionals Liaison Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association


  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Land Use and Zoning Law (2020)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (2014-2020)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy



  • Represented prime contractor in state court litigation involving $50 million state lab construction project 
  • Represented national contractor in arbitration involving defective construction claim, resulting in our client obtaining and collecting a judgment for all damages claimed
  • Represented regional subcontractor in state court litigation involving lien claims and additional work claims
  • Represented regional contractor on federal construction project regarding request for equitable adjustment before the federal Civilian Board of Contract Appeals
  • Represented medical practice in claims against its architect and engineer for defective design 
  • Represented institutional lender in state court litigation involving claims for payment and recovery of fees under loan agreements for construction and financing of significant apartment projects

News & Publications


  • New Law Expands Farm Exemptions from Local Land Use Regulation, Land Use Law Quarterly, October 2011
  • Limiting Judges: Placing Limits on Judges’ Power in Hard-Look Review, Univ. of Detroit Mercy Law Review

Speaking Engagements


  • "Breaking Up is Hard to Do! Construction Contract Terminations," 2015 Construction Law Winter Program, NC Bar Center, Cary, N.C.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • North Carolina


Duke University, J.D., cum laude, 2010

Duke University, B.A., cum laude, 2000

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