Carl Patterson has over 40 years of experience in complex commercial litigation and led Smith Anderson’s Commercial Litigation practice group from 1985-2010. His practice includes representing diverse organizations and individuals including, financial institutions; issuers and purchasers of securities; officers; directors; lenders; professional advisors; and buyers and sellers of both businesses and of goods and services.

Carl also counsels clients to identify, evaluate, avoid and manage risk in a variety of corporate and commercial contexts.

On the corporate governance and compliance side, Carl works closely with the executive management teams and boards of directors of public companies and advises with respect to executive and director compensation, reporting and disclosure obligations, takeover defense, activist shareholder issues, proxy fights, government and internal and investigations, directors' duties and responsibilities, strategic alternatives and matters in mergers and acquisitions. 

Carl is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission to conduct Mediated Settlement Conferences in Superior Court. He also is trained in Collaborative Law and serves on the board of directors of the North Carolina Civil Collaborative Law Association.

Carl served as the firm's managing partner from 2010-2015.

Areas of Focus



  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, Litigation: General Commercial (2005-2021)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Commercial Litigation (2006-2024)
    • Litigation - Mergers & Acquisitions (2006-2024)
    • Litigation-Securities (2006-2024)
    • “Lawyer of the Year,” Raleigh, Litigation - Securities (2013)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Litigation Star (2008-2024)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2006-2024)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
  • Selected to moderate an “All Star” panel in a CLE program, “Complex Litigation in the North Carolina Business Court,” presented at a joint meeting of the Anti-Trust Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
  • Selected to participate as one of the State’s “All-Star” litigators in a mock trial CLE program, “All-Star Trial of a Business Case,” North Carolina Bar Association Litigation Section’s Annual Meeting (2004)


  • University of North Carolina, J.D., with honors, 1976
  • Davidson College, B.A., 1973

Bar & Court Admissions


  • American Bar Association
  • American Judicature Society
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Litigation, Business Law and Law Practice Management Sections
    • Chairman, Young Lawyers Division
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Board of Visitors, Davidson College
  • Chairman, Raleigh Area Davidson College Alumni Admissions Program
  • National Chair, Parents’ Council, University of North Carolina


  • Brought claims in North Carolina’s Business Court on behalf of an investor for breach of contract and fiduciary duty arising out of an unauthorized $95 million investment as part of a securities lending program.
  • Brought claims on behalf of an investor in a real estate investment fund, seeking recovery of losses incurred when the fund failed to refund the investment in a timely manner, as required under the governing documents.
  • Advised client in connection with dispute over multi-billion-dollar supply contract.
  • Represented client in connection with government investigation relating to financial reporting.
  • Defended bond trustee in federal court in New York against claims of breach of contractual and fiduciary duties in connection with furniture retailer’s issuance of $1 billion in asset-backed bonds.
  • Defended bond trustee in federal court in North Carolina against claims for breach of fiduciary duty arising out of a retailer’s issuance of over $200 million in asset-backed bonds.
  • Defended class and collective action in federal court in North Carolina alleging violations of state and federal employment laws. Class exceeded 100,000 present and former employees.
  • Defended the CEO of the Seller of two subsidiaries against claims by Buyer of misrepresentation in the sale and violation of state and federal securities laws. The case resulted in a jury verdict for the defense, after a multi-week trial.
  • Defended as co-counsel 19 consolidated securities fraud class actions in federal court in North Carolina. The Fourth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the cases, setting important precedent on the issue of loss causation.
  • Defended shareholder litigation in North Carolina Business Court alleging unfairness of management buyout/going private transaction. Settled, allowing transaction to close.
  • Defended as co-counsel a class action securities fraud suit filed when client “missed a quarter.” The case settled prior to hearings on defendants’ motions to dismiss.
  • Advised client in connection with consumer class action in federal court in South Carolina against state lottery ticket retailers, in which plaintiffs alleged misrepresentation in lottery ticket sales. Defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted.
  • Defended a manufacturer of environmental monitoring equipment against claims that its equipment had contaminated biological products produced by the plaintiff, causing in excess of $50 million in damages.



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