Charles W. Calkins

Leaders in Law endorses Charles Calkins as our exclusively recommended IP Law expert in North Carolina. If you wish to get in touch with Charles, please use the contact information provided above.

Charles Calkins practices intellectual property law with a focus on patent law and intellectual property transactions. Mr. Calkins, a registered patent attorney, has more than 25 years of experience in client counseling and portfolio management in patent procurement, licensing and enforcement, primarily in the life sciences, chemical, medical and computer software arts. His current practice includes a focus on the corporate and transactional aspects of intellectual property, including licensing, research and development/joint venture agreements and merger, acquisition and/or equity investment due diligence. 

He has been involved in well over 100 transactions in a variety of technologies including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, commodity futures trading, medical devices, personalized genetic medicine, semiconductors and DNA sequencing technologies including NextGen sequencing.

Mr. Calkins’ experiences allow him to understand the business value of intellectual property and work with clients to maximize return on their investments and/or acquisitions. Mr. Calkins has worked with companies, investment banks, private equity groups, venture capitalists and other institutional investment groups to conduct due diligence and provide counseling relating to potential investments, acquisitions and/or mergers ranging in size from several hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than one billion dollars. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Calkins is a Chair of the Piedmont Angel Network, an investor in over forty emerging technology companies and active in the regional and national technology communities. He is also past Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board at University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Mr. Calkins is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell* and has been named to Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” list. He has been recognized as a North Carolina “Super Lawyer” in the areas of Intellectual Property and Mergers & Acquisitions by Super Lawyers magazine. He was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Intellectual Property Law in 2018 and the 11 years immediately preceding and for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice, Intellectual Property Litigation, Patent Litigation, and Patent Law in 2019. He was also named a “Greensboro Lawyer of the Year” in 2013, 2015 and 2018 in the area of Patent Law and in 2017 and 2019 for Patent Litigation by The Best Lawyers in America®. Mr. Calkins was named a “Law Impact Leader” by Business Leader magazine. 

He was named a “Global IP Luminary” by IP World for his exemplary work in the intellectual property legal area. In 2016, Mr. Calkins was recognized among the Triad’s “Most Influential” professional executives by the Triad Business Journal for the 12th consecutive year. He is listed in the 2018 and the six immediately preceding editions of Chambers USA in the area of Intellectual Property and he is listed in the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions as #1 in the area of Intellectual Property. Mr. Calkins has been recognized as an “IP Star” in 2018 and the five years immediately preceding by Managing Intellectual Property magazine. He was recognized as a top patent practitioner in 2015, 2016 and 2017 by IAM Patent 1000 – The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners. Mr. Calkins was recommended by Legal 500 US in 2015 and 2016 for Patent Prosecution and again in 2016 for Patent Portfolio Management and Licensing. He is a former Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section and remains active on the Section Council.


We help leaders create, expand, and protect the value of their companies and most prized assets by bringing an equal balance of business acumen, technical skill, and creative thinking to the opportunities and challenges they face.

Our attorneys and staff are committed to our clients’ success. We take the time to understand our clients’ businesses, and work collaboratively with them to achieve their business goals — whether managing complex transactions, tackling global compliance, succeeding in litigation, or protecting their intellectual property. By investing in their success, we have helped clients make their businesses better, smarter, and more protected.

Thomas J. Gorman

Mr. Gorman practices in North Carolina and South Carolina in the areas of Commercial Real Estate, Corporate and Business Law and Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Administration. He was born in Rockville Centre, New York, in 1960, raised in Manhasset, New York, and has lived in North Carolina for more than 30 years.


  • Represented many commercial real estate clients, including the owners of Ballantyne Village, a mixed use retail, office, and residential centre in purchasing the property, drafting restrictive covenants and easements, and obtaining and closing the construction loan, and the $50,000,000 securitized permanent financing loan.
  • Has formed numerous condominiums and mixed-use developments, drafted complex easements and rights of way, and resolved various complicated title issues.
  • Has helped hundreds of general business owners with corporate formations, lease reviews, and general legal advice for starting a small business.
  • Has drafted more than 10,000 trusts of various types, including living revocable trusts for probate avoidance, credit shelter trusts and other instruments for estate tax avoidance.
  • Has advised many dentists and other health care professionals regarding their unique needs with respect to starting up a new practice, or purchasing an existing practice.
  • Represented numerous clients by drafting wills, powers of attorney, advanced medical directives (living wills), and assisting in Medicaid, Medicare, and elder law planning.


Rated as Preeminent (5.0 out of 5.0), by Martindale Hubble Legal Directory (owners of, based upon client reviews.

Recipient of the Client Champion Platinum Award (formerly known as the Client Distinction Award) from Martindale Hubble, 2012-Present.

Rated as Superb (9.3 out of 10) by Avvo.


B.A., magna cum laude, Economics and English, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, 1982.

J.D., Duke University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina, 1985.


Legal Intern, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C. 1983.

Attorney, Baker, Smith & Mills, Dallas, Texas, 1985-86.

Attorney, Petree, Stockton & Robinson (now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP), Charlotte, North Carolina 1987.

Thomas J. Gorman, Attorney at Law (now Gorman & Associates, P.A.) 1988-Present.


The State Bar of Texas, 1985.

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, 1985.

North Carolina State Bar, 1987.

U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, 1987.

South Carolina Bar, 2007.


American Bar Association- Member: Real Property, Trusts & Estates Section.

North Carolina Bar Association- Real Property Section, Trusts and Estates Section.

Mecklenburg County Bar.

Duke University School of Law, Barrister Society, 1989-2005.

Duke Law School Future Forum 2000-2003.


St. Matthew Catholic Church World Hunger Drive Committee Member 2005- Present, Meal Packing Event Master of Ceremonies 2013- Present.

St. Matthew Catholic Church Parish Pastoral Council Member 2003-2006, Vice Chairperson 2004-2005, Chairperson 2005-2006.

Knights of Columbus Council #10852- Third Degree.

North Carolina Junior Chamber of Commerce- Legal Counsel, District Director, 1989-90.

WSOC/ St. Jude Children’s Hospital Radiothon Chairman, 1990.


CLE Lecturer, Mastering Real Estate Titles in North Carolina, National Business Institute, 1995.

Instructor, Real Estate Law, Institute of Financial Education, 1996-1998.

Seminar Lecturer, “Estate Planning in the New Normal,” The Hines-Fox Group of Merrill Lynch, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2009.

Seminar Leader- Estate Planning for Financial Advisors, Ameriprise Financial Advisors, 1995-1997, 2003-2005, and Charles Schwab Company, 2002-2004.

Lecturer, Continuing Legal Education, “eRecording: Here and Now,” BridgeTrust Title Group, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2015.


Member of the Trusted Advisor Panel- Thompson Pratt Financial Group, Charlotte, NC, 2010-present.

Member, Board of Advisors of the Fox-Kaplan Wealth Management Team of Merrill Lynch, Charlotte, NC, 2006-2016.


Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company’s Advanced Planning Seminar, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2011, and 2013.

Duke University Law School Estate Planning Conference, 2008.


Married to Nannette Gorman for 28 years. Has three children ages 26, 23, and 20.  Father of two Eagle Scouts, and a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient.



We are located in Ballantyne Corporate Park in South Charlotte, practising in North and South Carolina. We practice in the areas of Commercial Real Estate, Corporate and Business Matters, Wills, Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration, and Asset Protection.  We offer professional, old fashioned service at reasonable and fair fees.


In the Commercial Real Estate area, we can help you with everything from basic lease reviews for commercial tenants, to planning and implementation of large mixed-use developments, including retail, office, hotel, industrial, and residential condominium projects.  We can close transactions from simple refinances of office condominiums to drafting condominium declarations and association bylaws.  If you are a prospective tenant, we can review your lease and let you know about the possible pitfalls; if you are a prospective landlord, we can help you purchase real property, close your commercial loan, draft leases and land use documents to make your experience go smoothly.


In the Corporate and Business area, our transactional attorneys handle everything from basic incorporations and LLC formations to complex merger and acquisition work. We draft and review franchise agreements. In matters of labour and employment, we advise employers of the rules and regulations. We can act as general counsel for small businesses, and as either outside counsel or local counsel for larger ones. We have particular expertise working with dentists and doctors, who face much greater upfitting costs in commercial leasing situations, as well as various professional licensing issues. Please click on our Dental Professionals tab for more information.


In the Will and Estate Planning area, we draft everything from simple wills to complex trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, health care powers of attorney, credit shelter trusts, probate avoidance trusts, Medicaid trusts, family limited partnerships, gifting plans, and virtually all of the other estate planning documents. Most importantly, we want to tailor your estate plan to your particular needs. Our philosophy is to keep your will or estate plan as simple as possible while accomplishing all of your goals. For most of our will and estate planning documents, we charge fixed fees based upon the documents we actually prepare- there is no “guessing” what the fee will be. When someone has passed on, we are able to handle the burden of probate and estate and trust administration, to answer all of your questions and make sure things are handled smoothly, properly, and efficiently.


All of our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina and are members of the Mecklenburg County Bar. In addition, attorneys of the Firm are collectively licensed to practice law in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as numerous federal courts throughout the United States. Please see the Attorney/Staff Profiles page for more information about each of our attorneys.


Please call us at 704-544-2500, or email us at, and let us know how we can help you!

Marc E. Gustafson

Marc advises clients on and drafts employment policies and handbooks, employment contracts, including non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality restrictions, independent contractor agreements and severance agreements. He also frequently counsels clients on a host of employment matters, including employment discriminatio›n, charges of wrongful termination, FMLA leave, reasonable accommodations under the ADA, and wage and hour law violations.

In the courtroom, Marc represents clients in state and federal courts in lawsuits involving race, gender and age discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage and hour claims, breach of contract, and non-compete enforcement. Marc practices in the state, federal and appellate courts situated in North Carolina and Georgia and regularly appears before the EEOC and the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

Marc has represented shareholders, managers, executives and corporations in matters involving breaches of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, usurpation of corporate opportunities, breaches of contract and fraud. Marc has represented both employers and executives in internal investigations in matters involving mismanagement, insider trading, misconduct and accounting malpractice.

Marc sees his role as a counselor of law and works closely with his clients to develop a relationship that best represents their legal, financial, and personal interests.

Marc is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of North Carolina and Georgia. He has had articles published in NC Lawyers Weekly, Deal Lawyers, and the Charlotte Observer. He has also been featured by the Charlotte Business Journal, WSOC, nFocus magazine, and Charlotte Viewpoint. Marc is a Business North Carolina Legal Elite, Super Lawyers Rising Star, and Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rated attorney.

Marc is also active in the community, serving on the Board of 24 Foundation and as an Elder at First Presbyterian Church. In the past, Marc has served as the Chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar, Labor and Employment Section, on the Board of the Arts and Science Council, as the Chair of the Public Art Commission, on the UNC Board of Visitors, the ASC Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, the Boards of the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Common Grounds Farm Stand, and the Spokes Group. Marc is an Eagle Scout.

The Employment Law Practice:

The experienced attorneys within our Employment and Human Resources Law practice understand that employment law issues often arise unexpectedly and require immediate attention. We are committed to responding quickly and efficiently.

Our employment attorneys work with businesses of all sizes and stages of development to help them understand and comply with state and federal laws that impact employers. Our experience covers a broad range of services, from helping new businesses develop policies and handbooks, to helping well-established businesses with downsizing.

In addition to working with businesses, we regularly represent individuals in employment matters such as review of employment contracts, non-competition agreements, and severance agreements.

Although the goal of much of our work is to promote compliance and prevent disputes, we also represent employers in litigation when it becomes necessary. Our litigation experience includes matters in state and federal courts and before state and federal agencies.

Bell Davis Pitt:

Frank M. Bell, Jr., William K. Davis and Walter W. Pitt, Jr. co-founded Bell, Davis & Pitt in 1980 to establish a practice that excels at client service and creates a work environment that encourages long-term professional association.

Those founding principles have created a thriving law firm that is dedicated to its clients, the profession, and community. Since then, Bell, Davis & Pitt has grown organically to meet the needs of its clients. We’re proud of our long-standing client relationships — including some that date back to our founding — and our team’s dedication to our clients and each other, evidenced by our low turnover.

At Bell, Davis & Pitt, we strive to handle each matter in the most cost-effective way possible, involving supervised associates and paralegals when consistent with the client’s goals. We structure each client team with the appropriate attorney (or attorneys) to achieve the best results at the most reasonable rates possible.

Stephen D. Poe

Steve Poe has practiced banking and commercial law for more than thirty years. He represents state and federally chartered financial institutions in all aspects of their business, including secured and unsecured loans (both commercial and consumer), deposits, restructuring and workout, recovery and collection, operations, treasury/cash management services, litigation and regulatory compliance. He also advises banks and other clients on matters involving nearly all aspects of commercial law governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.


Wake Forest University (B.A., cum laude, 1973)

University of North Carolina (J.D., 1976)

Bar / Court Admittance

1976, North Carolina

United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

United States Supreme Court


Banking and Commercial Transactions, Bankruptcy Alternatives, Bond Finance, Business and Corporate Law, Business Bankruptcy, Collections, Commercial Lending, Commercial Real Estate Development, Consumer Credit, Contracts, Creditor Representation, Foreclosures, Lender Liability, Public Finance, Reorganizations and Workouts, Residential Real Estate Development, Secured Transactions, Statutory Liens, Uniform Commercial Code


Forsyth County Bar Association

North Carolina Bar Association (Business Law Section Council, 1987-1990, 1995-1997, Vice Chair, 1997-1999, Chair, 2000-2001; Continuing Legal Education Chair, 1995-1996; Business Law Curriculum Committee, 1994-1995; Financial Institutions Committee Chair, 1989-1991; Ad Hoc Committee on Proposed Revisions to Uniform Commercial Code, 1991-1992)

American Bar Association (Business Law Section)

Civic Activities

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce (Director, 2013- )

Reynolda Rotary Club (President, 2010)

The Hospice Foundation (Director, 2008- , Chair, 2014- )

Adjunct Professor of Banking Law, Wake Forest University School of Law (2001-2009)

UNC Law School Center for Banking and Finance (Board of Advisors, 2006- )

Centenary United Methodist Church (Trustee, 2013- )

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utility Commission (Chair, Operations Committee, 1996-2006)

The Science Center and Environmental Park of Forsyth County (“SCIWORKS”) (Board of Directors, 1999-2003; President, 2004-2005)

North Carolina Bankers Association (Bank Counsel Committee Chair, 1985)

Leadership Connections

Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce

Junior Achievement volunteer instructor

YMCA youth basketball coach

Samaritan Inn volunteer

Awards / Honors

The Best Lawyers in America® in Banking & Finance Law (2009- )

The Best Lawyers in America® – Lawyer of the Year (2015) in Banking and Finance Law

North Carolina Super Lawyers in Banking Law (2008)

AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

Author / Lectures

“Tug of War: the Battle Over Federal Pre-emption,” Business North Carolina Law

Journal (2007)

“An Update on Identity Fraud,” MD News (December, 2006)

“A New Way to Pay: The Growing Use of E-Money,” Business North Carolina 1997 Law Journal

“Consumer Credit Law Primer,” Seventeenth Annual Bankruptcy Law Institute (NCBA 1994)

“The Impact of Federal Regulation on Financing in the 1990’s,” Hot Topics for Business Lawyers Seminar (NCBA 1991)

“Legislature Creates New Deposit Accounts,” 9 Notes Bearing Interest 5 (1989)