The Van Winkle Law Firm announced today that 18 attorneys in 24 different areas of law have been named to The Best Lawyers in America® 2020, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, which has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Attorneys within the firm have been recognized for inclusion in this list for over 25 years.

In addition, six attorneys were recognized as “Lawyer of the Year.” Only a single attorney for each specialty and location can be selected to that honor.

  • Three Van Winkle attorneys hold the “Lawyer of the Year” in Asheville, NC for the first time: Carolyn Coward for Health Care Law, Esther Manheimer for Litigation – Land use and Zoning, and John Kelso for Trusts and Estates.
  • Two attorneys are receiving the “Lawyer of the Year” in Asheville, NC distinction for the second time: Stephen Grabenstein for Litigation – Trusts and Estates, and Larry McDevitt for Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Jones Byrd Sr. has been awarded the “Lawyer of The Year” distinction in Asheville, NC in Litigation – Real Estate. This is his third time being honored in this category.

The complete list includes the following honorees:

  • Jones P. Byrd, Sr. -Construction Law; Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law; Litigation – Real Estate; Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs; Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Carolyn L. Coward -Corporate Compliance Law; Health Care Law
  • Dale A. Curriden -Commercial Litigation; Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Katherine E. Fisher – Family Law
  • Heather Whitaker Goldstein – Elder Law
  • Stephen J. Grabenstein -Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Trusts and Estates
  • Robert H. Haggard -Trusts and Estates
  • Craig D. Justus -Land Use and Zoning Law; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning
  • John G. Kelso -Trusts and Estates
  • Esther E. ManheimerAppellate Practice; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate
  • Larry S. McDevitt- Antitrust Law, Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Patent; Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs; Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Mark A. PinkstonBankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law
  • Philip J. SmithCommercial Litigation; Construction Law; Litigation – Construction
  • Albert L. Sneed, Jr. -Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Corporate Law
  • Allan R. Tarleton– Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers
  • Lindsay Parris Thompson – Corporate Law; Real Estate Law
  • John D. Veazey – Trusts and Estates
  • David M. Wilkerson – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Patent; Mass Tort Litigation/ Class Actions – Plaintiffs
  • Stephen B. Williamson – Litigation – Construction


Since 1983 Best Lawyers® has recognized excellent legal talent throughout the United States, highlighting the top 5% of practicing attorneys organized by geographic region and practice area.  Nominees are evaluated by their peers according to their professional excellence and must go through an authentication process to ensure they are currently practicing and in good standing. For more information about Best Lawyers® and to view the complete list, visit

“It is an extraordinary honor that 18 of our attorneys have been named 2020 Best Lawyers®, with 6 of those receiving the “Lawyer of the Year” distinction,” said Steve Grabenstein, president of The Van Winkle Law Firm. “We are proud to have so many of our talented attorneys recognized by their peers for one of the legal profession’s most notable listings.”

For more than 100 years, the attorneys at The Van Winkle Law Firm have provided a premier level of strategic legal counsel and services to meet clients’ personal, estate planning, commercial, business, and litigation needs. Van Winkle is the largest law firm headquartered in Asheville. With licensed attorneys serving clients in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, the firm is one of the most respected in the region. For additional information, please visit