Mike is a veteran business litigator with extensive experience in corporate control litigation, financial services litigation and local government disputes.

For the last five years, Mike Barnhill has served as the General Counsel of his AmLaw 100 law firm, working on national and international legal matters and ethics issues.  In his 30 years of practice and in this General Counsel role, Mike handled and had teams of lawyers handling many complex legal claims and lawsuits and ethical issues.  Those legal claims and lawsuits included claims for breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice, alleged ethical violations, motions for sanctions, motions to disqualify, state bar grievances, and issues involving attorney-client privilege, attorney work product privilege, and joint defense privilege.  Mike has worked extensively on a gamut of ethical issues including unauthorized practice of law, “bad” clients, conflicts including current and former client issues, imputed disqualification and ethical screens, advertising, client confidentiality engagement letter issues, attorney termination and impaired lawyer issues.

Mike, with the additional experiences as a General Counsel, Mike has returned to his core business litigation practice in high stakes business litigation.

For more than 30 years, he has represented companies in shareholder and corporate control disputes, major contract disputes, deceptive trade practices cases, trade secrets misappropriation matters and securities fraud claims.

Mike regularly represents major financial institutions in financial services litigation, including cases and matters related to:

  • Mortgage insurance disputes, including insurance recovery
  • Indemnity agreements between master servicers, sponsors and Trustees
  • Consumer finance issues
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues, including civil investigative demands
  • “Predatory” lending and fair lending matters.

Finally, Mike represents local government entities in business litigation and election law matters.  For example, he successfully represented the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in defending eight legal challenges to the new downtown baseball stadium and urban renewal plan (Reese v. Mecklenburg County and City of Charlotte).

Mike has been named to North Carolina Super Lawyers (2006-2019), Best Lawyers in America (2007 -Present).  Recognized in the categories of Commercial Litigation, Administrative/Regulatory Law, Banking &Finance Litigation, Mergers &Acquisitions Litigation and Municipal Litigation.


Lecturer for Wake Forest University School of Law Annual Review, 1990-2004 on Constitutional law, Legal Malpractice, Damages, Products Liability and Tort

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section)
  • North Carolina State Bar
  • North Carolina Bar Association (Litigation Section)
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association
  • Member, British American Business Council of North Carolina, Inc.
  • National Center for State Courts

Honors and Awards

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Administrative / Regulatory Law, Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Banking and Finance, Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions, Litigation - Municipal, Litigation - Securities, Litigation - Trusts and Estates, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs, Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants, 2007 – Present
  • Received the Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" Award in the fields of Litigation - Trusts and Estates (Charlotte), 2018; Litigation - Municipal (Charlotte), 2018, 2022
  • Super Lawyers Honoree in the fields of Business Litigation; State, Local & Municipal; Consumer Law; North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine (Thomson Reuters), 2006 – 2019


Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company of North Carolina v. Countrywide Financial Corp and Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., MDNC (2009-2010) Represented Countrywide entities in federal lawsuit by mortgage insurer who asserted claims of breach of contract, fraud, and unfair trade practice arising from its issuance of mortgage insurance on billions of dollars of second home mortgages, securitized by Countrywide. Following successful motions to dismiss the tort based claims, the matter resolved favorably.
  • Dunn Southeast Inc d/b/a RJ Griffin & Company v. Charlotte F.C., LLC, NC State Court, 2010, Represented mezzanine lender in failed, large scale construction project to favorable resolution.
  • Mecklenburg County v. Nortel Government Solutions, Inc., WDNC (2007 – 2010) Successfully represented Mecklenburg County for defendant’s alleged failure to develop and deliver new software system.
  • Mecklenburg County v. Time Warner Entertainment-Advance Newhouse Partnership, No. 3:05cv333 (WDNC) (Lead counsel representing County in claims for breach of cable T.V. franchise agreement that was resolved favorably)