Keith Vaughan is the Chair Emeritus of Womble Bond Dickinson, having served as the firm’s Chairman and Managing Partner from 2002 through 2015. He will retire from the firm on January 1, 2018, concluding almost 43 years in the practice of law – all at Womble Bond Dickinson.

Trial Practice

During his legal career, Keith tried numerous jury and bench trials, handled various administrative proceedings and argued a wide range of matters in appellate courts involving business, product liability, toxic tort and environmental issues. He served as national coordinating counsel for a Fortune 500 company’s product liability litigation and was class counsel in a series of class action lawsuits on behalf of federal retirees, state retirees, and intangible taxpayers. These lawsuits resulted in recoveries for the classes totaling approximately $1.25 billion and the elimination of the offending tax practices prospectively.

Keith is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as North Carolina State Chair for two years (2015-2017). He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Permanent Member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, and a “Master of the Bench” in the American Inns of Court. During his career, Keith has consistently been listed in Chambers USA; The Best Lawyers in America (in the fields of “Bet-the-Company,” Commercial, Products Liability and Personal Injury Litigation), and North Carolina Super Lawyers. He was highlighted in Law Dragon in two categories: “500 Leading Litigators” and “100 Managing Partners You Need to Know.”

Leadership

Keith was a member of Womble’s management committee for 26 years, including 20 years on the Executive Committee and 14 years as Managing Partner. During that period the firm added 11 offices in six states and the District of Columbia. Keith also served for 10 years as the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group Leader.

In 2011 Keith was elected to the Board of Directors of Lex Mundi, and he was Chair of that organization during the 2014-2015 year. He also served as Chair of the Managing Partners Committee from 2010-2013. Lex Mundi is the world’s leading association of independent law firms (21,000 lawyers practicing in 160 elite law firms in more than 100 countries). Womble Bond Dickinson’s international work for clients is facilitated by the firm’s membership in Lex Mundi as lawyers at member firms communicate with one another for advice on local law and share information about the business and investment climates in their countries.

Keith has been actively involved in community programs and has served as Chair of the following organizations:

  • North Carolina Partnership for Economic Development
  • Piedmont Triad Partnership
  • United Way of Forsyth County Foundation
  • Wake Forest University Board of Visitors
  • Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
  • Winston-Salem Downtown Rotary Club
  • Winston-Salem Heart Ball
  • Smith-Shaver Law School Scholarship Fund

He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University and chaired the United Way of Forsyth County campaign in 2009.

Civic and Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers; Vice Chair, NC State Committee, 2013-2015; Chair, NC State Committee, 2015-2016
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Permanent Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • “Master of the Bench,” American Inns of Court
  • North Carolina Bar Association:  Litigation Section
  • Georgia Bar Association
  • American Bar Association:  Litigation Section
  • Forsyth County Bar Association
  • Lex Mundi Board of Directors, 2011-present; Chair, 2014-2015; Chair-Emeritus, 2015-2016; Chair, Managing Partners Committee, 2010-2013
  • Forsyth County Young Lawyers Association, President, 1981
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Board of Directors, 1985 – 1988

Civic Activities

  • North Carolina Partnership for Economic Development
    • Chairman (2008-2009)
  • Piedmont Triad Partnership
    • Chairman, Board of Directors (2006-2009)
  • United Way of Forsyth County
    • Chairman, United Way Foundation (2005-2009); Board Member, United Way Foundation, (2005-2011); Campaign Chair (2009); Executive Committee; Board of Directors (2003-2011). 
  • Wake Forest University Board of Visitors
    • Chairman (2011-2013)
  • Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
    • Chairman (2010), Executive Committee, Board of Directors.
  • Winston-Salem Downtown Rotary Club
    • President (2006-2007)
  • Winston-Salem State University (2007-2015)
    • Executive Committee
    • Board of Trustees
    • Chairman, Appeals Committee
    • Chairman, Audit Committee
    • Chairman, Nominating Committee
    • Chairman, Personnel & Tenure Committee
  • Winston-Salem Alliance
    • Board of Directors
  • Smith-Shaver Law School Scholarship Fund
    • Chairman (2008-2010, 2013-2015)
  • Winston-Salem Heart Ball
    • Co-Chair (2013)

Honors and Awards

  • 2012 Business Leader Legend 
  • The Triad’s Most Influential Leaders
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers (Litigation)
  • The Best Lawyers in America
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
    • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants 
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers
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Bar admissions

1975, Georgia

1975, North Carolina

Admitted to practice before:

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • North Carolina Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit

Education

  • J.D., 1975, University of Georgia
    • Editor in Chief, Georgia Law Review (1974-1975)
  • B.S., 1972, Wake Forest University
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