James Daniel’s practice is devoted to advising employers and individuals concerning employee benefit plans and executive compensation. His strength is in finding practical solutions to critical challenges businesses face — whether it is by designing an ESOP to enable a business owner to diversify wealth, successfully guiding the employer through an IRS audit of its benefit plans, countering an employee complaint to the US Department of Labor, designing an innovative compensation plan, or negotiating the effect of the purchase or sale of a business on the benefits of its employees.

Both employers and individuals have come to rely on James to help them minimize tax liability, preserve assets and maximize the benefits individuals receive from employment. He excels at helping clients keep up with and understand the very technical and constantly changing federal laws governing employee benefits. He enjoys the challenge of taking this complex subject and explaining it in an understandable manner to the people who must comply with the laws. James also conducts seminars on employee benefits topics for professional groups and business people.

James has been named to several best adviser listings, including North Carolina Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. In 2005, James was honored as a Fellow into the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.


    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.

    • First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company (NC) acquisition of First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, Inc. (SC) – representation of NC bank in all benefits matters related to acquisition of SC bank. Responsibilities included mergers of 401(k) plans, assumption of DB plan, health plan conversion and severance agreements.
    • RF Micro Devices, Inc. (NC) merger with TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. (OR) to form Qorvo, Inc. – representation of RFMD in all benefits matters related to merger of equals, and continued representation of new Qorvo, Inc. in all benefits matters. Responsibilities included review of benefit provisions in merger agreement, merger of 401(k) plans, conversion of health plans and severance agreements.
    •  Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc. (GA) acquisition of First Security Group, Inc. (TN) – representation of Atlantic Capital in all benefits matters related to acquisition. Responsibilities included review of benefit provisions in acquisition agreement, preparation of employment agreements for acquired executives, merger of 401(k) plans and termination of acquired ESOP.
    • NCR Corporation (GA) acquisition of Digital Insight Corporation (CA) – representation of NCR in acquisition. Responsibilities included analysis of golden parachute issues and preparation of severance agreements for acquired executives. WCSR 40702817v1
    • Bank of North Carolina (NC) acquisition of Valley Financial Corporation (VA) – representation of BNC in acquisition of Valley Bank. Responsibilities included review of benefit provisions in acquisition documents, preparation of employment agreements for acquired executives, review of SERP liabilities and preparation of rabbi trust.


    Contact information

    +1 704.331.4931
    +1 704.33.7821

    Bar admissions

    1982, North Carolina 

    Admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Western and Middle Districts of North Carolina.