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M. Gray Styers Jr.

M. Gray Styers Jr.

Partner, Infrastructure and Development Leader

T (919) 755-8741
F (919) 838-3150

Wherever business strategy intersects with government regulation and public policy issues, Gray Styers enjoys working with his clients to navigate the regulatory and political environment to achieve their objectives.

Gray practices in the areas of regulatory and administrative law, energy/utilities law, zoning/land use, government relations, and large infrastructure matters. He represents numerous energy, telecommunications, and project development clients before state government agencies, permitting officials, and local zoning boards as well as in appeals to both state and federal courts.  He serves as regulatory counsel for renewable energy facilities, two natural gas distribution companies as well as municipal natural gas systems, advises independent power producers and major wireless telecommunications service providers, and handles zoning and permitting for large commercial and residential developments and infrastructure projects. Gray is a "Utilities Law Specialist" as recognized by, and meeting the criteria of, the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Gray is a founder and regular contributor for the Elements for Growth Blog,, which provides news, information, and resources about infrastructure and economic development in the Southeast.

Gray began his legal career as judicial clerk for Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  In 2014, he was elected to serve as President of the Wake County (NC) Bar Association (2200+ members) and the Tenth Judicial District Bar (5000+ members).  Also a mediator certified by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission, Gray is often asked by other attorneys across the state to help mediate disputes in his areas of experience.

Listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers
Listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers
  • North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization "Utilities Law Specialist" (2016)
  • North Carolina Bar Association's Citizen Lawyer Award (2013)
  • North Carolina Lawyers Weekly "Leaders in the Law", (2016)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Listed - Utilities Law (Over 10 Consecutive Years)
  • Selected by his peers as Raleigh's Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year (Woodward/White, Inc.), Energy Law (2014, 2017), Litigation-Land Use & Zoning (2012, 2016)
  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America® (Woodward/White, Inc.), Energy Law, Land Use & Zoning Law, Litigation-Land Use & Zoning, more than 10 years
  • Martindale-Hubbell's top ("AV") Peer Review Rating *
  • Recognized by the Triangle Business Journal as a "40 Under 40" Leader, 2002

* AV is a registered certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.


Representative Work


  • Regulatory approvals  for new renewable energy facilities
  • Special electric service contracts and energy supply agreements for large electric energy customers
  • Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) Agreements for new renewable energy facilities
  • Litigation of contested terms of PPA under Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) before state utilities commission
  • Ongoing regulatory compliance for natural gas local distribution companies
  • Organization of and general counsel to Carolinas Public Gas Association
  • Defense of multiple challenges to construction of 43-mile natural gas transmission pipeline
  • Representation of regional transmission organization

Land Use/Zoning

  • Local government permits for 1600-acre master-planned, mixed use development
  • Settlement of multi-year litigation regarding controversial non-conforming mining use
  • Permits for hundreds of wireless telecommunications facilities and networks across multiple jurisdictions
  • Appeals for judicial review of denials of land use permits
  • Conditional rezonings for various commercial real estate projects
  • Variances to accommodate property hardships

Administrative Law (Other)

  • Contested Case Hearings and appeals of regulatory enforcement actions to Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Contested hearings before professional licensing boards and agencies
  • Complaint proceedings before the North Carolina Utilities Commission
  • Litigation of scope of municipal utility authority and governance structure
  • Public-private partnership for construction of new road/bypass

* Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future legal representation.

Thought Leadership


May 30, 2012
Land Use Implications of "Next Generation" Energy Production and Transport, NC Bar Association, Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section Annual Meeting

Published Works

  • Posts on the Elements for Growth Blog
  • "President’s Columns," Bar Flyer, Wake County Bar Association, six issues, 2014
    • A Community of Professionals
    • Daffodil Bulbs
    • A Call to Public Service
    • What is “Professionalism”?
    • Fishing Piers and Bluegrass Festivals
    • Change


  • “Land Use Implications of Next Generation Energy Production and Transport” (with Charlotte Mitchell); NC Bar Foundation CLE, Cary, NC
  • “One Man’s Trash can be Another Man’s Treasure . . . Waste to Energy in North Carolina” (with Charlotte Mitchell); UNC Law School Annual Festival of Legal Learning, Chapel Hill, NC
  • “Renewable Energy Regulation:The Good Earth, Frankenstein, or Brave New World?” (with Charlotte Mitchell); UNC Law School Annual Festival of Legal Learning, Chapel Hill, NC
  • “Water, Water (Not Quite) Everywhere:Regulation of Private Water and Sewer Systems” (with Karen Kemerait); UNC Law School Annual Festival of Legal Learning, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wake County Industrial and Pollution Control Facilities Financing Authority (Chair, 2000-present)
  • Wake Forest University
    • School of Divinity Board of Visitors (2012-present)
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle
    • Board of Directors (2009-present)
  • North Carolina Museum of History Associates
    • Board of Directors (2015-present)
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
    • Government Affairs Board (2002-2010)
  • Kiwanis Club of Raleigh
  • NC Supreme Court Historic Society
  • Regional Transportation Alliance
  • Raleigh Moravian Church
  • Moravian Church in America, Southern Province
    • Provincial Support Services Board (2010-2014, Chair, 2010-2012)
    • Synod Delegate (2006, 2010, 2014)
  • University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1989
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.B.A., 1989
  • Wake Forest University, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude, 1985
  • North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina
  • Wake County Bar Association and Tenth Judicial District Bar
    • President (2014)
    • Board of Directors (2006-08)
    • President’s Award of Excellence (2007, 2011)
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Board of Governors (2006-2010)
    • Administrative Law Section Council (2000-03; Chair, 2002-03)
    • Litigation Section Council (1995-1998)
    • CLE Committee (1997-06; Chair, 2004-06)
  • North Carolina State Bar
    • Ethics Committee (Advisory Member, 2000-02)
    • Authorized Practice Committee (Advisory Member, 2002-03)
  • UNC School of Law
    • Law Alumni Association Board of Directors (2007 – 2013)
    • UNC Law Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors (1995-2007)
    • Adjunct Professor (2003, 2004, 2005)
  • Inns of Court, Chief Justice Susie Sharpe Chapter

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