Overview

Ken is a senior litigator, mediator and arbitrator whose practice is concentrated in virtually every aspect of employment law. Specific areas of emphasis include discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful discharge; trade secret and unfair competition; drafting employment, confidentiality and noncompetition agreements; wage & hour; and ERISA litigation – with mediation or arbitration in each of those areas constituting most of his practice.  Ken regularly consults with companies in how to avoid legal problems before they occur, and frequently conducts training on appropriate management and employee practices in the workplace.

Ken is consistently named to Business North Carolina’s annual “Legal Elite”, to the list of North Carolina “Super Lawyers,” and to the Best Lawyers in America for labor & employment law and/or alternative dispute resolution.  He has repeatedly received the Best Lawyers’ “Lawyer of the Year” recognition in alternative dispute resolution for the Winston-Salem/Greensboro metropolitan area, and is a former chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Ken is also a Fellow with the American Bar Foundation, and an adjunct professor at the Wake Forest University School of Law where he teaches courses in advanced trial practice and trade secrets/unfair competition. He is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars, and has published numerous articles through the years on various employment law topics.

Honors & Recognitions

  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow (2015 - present)
  • Best Lawyers in America© (2007-2018)
  • Best Lawyers in America© Arbitration "Lawyer of the Year," Greensboro, NC (2013, 2017, 2018)
  • Best Lawyers in America© Litigation – Labor and Employment "Lawyer of the Year," Greensboro, NC (2015, 2017)
  • Chambers USA Guide
  • Legal Elite, Business North Carolina (2013)
  • Martindale-Hubble AV Preeminent®
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2006-2018)
  • Top 100: North Carolina Super Lawyers (2013)
  • Top Lawyer for Trial/Litigation, Triad Business Leader Magazine (2008)

Professional & Civic Associations

  • American Bar Foundation
  • American Bar Association
  • Wake Forest University School of Law, Adjunct Professor
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Former Council Member
  • Winston-Salem Society for Human Resources Management
  • Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, Inc., Former Chairman
  • Timothy's Episcopal Church
  • Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Government Affairs Committee, Member and Former Chairman

About Me

Ken is married to Melanie Carlson, and has three daughters, two sons-in-law and a growing number of grandchildren. He enjoys travel, reading, most sports, and especially likes to hike and camp where smart phones don't work.

News & Analysis

Client Presentations & Firm Publications

Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications

A sampling of publications and presentations through the years include the following:

  • “Covenants Not to Compete and Trade Secrets: Protecting Against Unfair Competition,” manuscript and presentation at Annual or Bi-Annual National Teleconference CLEs through Lorman Education Services, 2005-present
  • “Ban the Box – A Legal Perspective,” manuscript and presentation at Addressing Workplace Challenges Seminar, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, May 2016
  • “Advancing the Ball at Mediation,” manuscript and panel presentation at American Conference Institute EPLI Conference, January 2013
  • "Employment Law Mediations: Boldly Going Where Many Have Gone Before," Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Docket, June 2012
  • "The Road to Redemption: Saving North Carolina Noncompete Law From Itself," Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law, Spring 2012
  • "To Arbitrate or Not to Arbitrate -- Is That The Question?," North Carolina Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Annual Meeting & CLE, March 20, 2009
  • “Advancing the Ball at Mediation,” presented for North Carolina Advocates for Justice CLE, February 2009
  • “The Yalta Conference of Employment Law Meets Wendy's - Back Pay, Front Pay and Punitive Damages,” presentation and paper for the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Month 2006
  • “Covenants Not to Compete and Trade Secrets: Protecting Against Unfair Competition,” manuscript and presentation at Bi-Annual National Teleconference CLE through Lorman Education Services, 2005-present
  • “Opening Statements and Closing Arguments: You might not win it here but you sure could lose it,” presented at NBI Powerful Evidence in North Carolina Seminar
  • “Now or Never: Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Information,” Business North Carolina, June 2004
  • “Be Careful What You Ask For -- You Just Might Get It (An alternative view to mandatory arbitration of employment disputes),” North Carolina Bar Association, ADR Section Newsletter, November 2002
  • “Noncompete Agreements and Trade Secrets in North Carolina,” presented at the North Carolina Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Section Annual Meeting
  • North Carolina Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Newsletter, Editor 

Blogs & Videos

Blog Posts

  • "Man can live profoundly without masses of things." 
  • Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Alone

Practice Emphasis

  • Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation and Wrongful Discharge
  • Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
  • Drafting Employment Contracts, Confidentiality and Noncompetition Agreements, and Independent Contractor Agreements
  • Drug Testing and Substance Abuse
  • General Employment Law Advice and Management/Employee Training
  • Mediation and Arbitration in All Aspects of Employment Law

Education

Wake Forest University School of Law

  • J.D., 1990

Yale Divinity School

  • Master of Divinity, 1981

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • B.A., English Literature, 1976

Bar & Court Admissions

  • North Carolina, 1990
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
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