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Smith Moore Leatherwood Welcomes Styers And Kemerait To The Firm

Smith Moore Leatherwood Welcomes Styers And Kemerait To The Firm

Firm to Add New Energy and Utilities Industry Group

September 28, 2015

Raleigh, N.C.– Smith Moore Leatherwood is pleased to announce the addition of Gray Styers and Karen Kemerait, former partners of a Raleigh-based law firm with a statewide presence in utilities regulation, telecommunications, zoning and land use, and general governmental matters. Styers will lead the firm's new Energy and Utilities Industry Group.

"We welcome Gray and Karen to our firm and are excited about the opportunity to expand the services that we provide to the energy industry," said Julie Earp, Managing Partner. "Both attorneys bring deep utilities law experience and will add to the firm's current offerings in environmental and natural resources law as well as land planning and zoning."

Bob Wilson, partner in charge of the Raleigh office, indicated that the addition of Styers and Kemerait is "a significant step in the firm's continuing efforts to grow its presence in the capital city."

In addition to utilities, environmental matters, energy and telecommunications, Styers and Kemerait have worked extensively in economic and infrastructure development, administrative law, professional licensing and appellate litigation in these specific areas.

"Smith Moore Leatherwood is an exceptional firm with complementary practice areas that will provide us with a broader platform to better serve our clients," Styers noted.

"We look forward to working closely with the firm's other offices and their attorneys, accompanied by additional resources and a geographic reach that we previously did not have," said Kemerait.

With over 25 years of experience, Styers serves as regulatory counsel for natural gas distribution companies as well as municipal natural gas systems, along with advising major wireless telecommunications service providers, and he handles zoning and permitting for large commercial and residential developments and infrastructure projects. He is a 1985 graduate of Wake Forest University, and a 1989 graduate of The University of North Carolina School of Business and the School of Law. Styers started his career as a judicial clerk for Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is immediate past president of the Wake County Bar Association and 10th Judicial District Bar, has served on the North Carolina Bar Association's Board of Governors, has taught as an adjunct professor at the UNC School of Law, and has served on the law school's Alumni Association Board of Directors. Styers was named Raleigh's "Energy Lawyer of the Year" in 2014 and "Litigation–Land Use and Zoning Lawyer of the Year" in 2016 by Best Lawyers in AmericaTM. He is currently serving on the Wake Forest University, School of Divinity Board of Visitors.

Kemerait has represented both private and governmental water and wastewater clients on a variety of issues, and her work in telecommunications and land use matters spans through all eastern, piedmont and mountain counties. She is the Vice Chair of the Board of Adjustment for the City of Raleigh, is the Vice Chair for WakeUP Wake County, and has served on the North Carolina Bar Association's Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section Council. Kemerait is also an active member of the Wake County Bar Association and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education and trade association programs. She is a 1988 graduate of Davidson College and a 1991 graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law.

Smith Moore Leatherwood serves clients in the renewable and conventional energy sectors, including solar, wind, biomass, natural gas and electric generation. The firm assists these clients in finding strategic solutions to accomplish their business goals. With an understanding of the industry and its markets and regulatory environment, the firm's attorneys provide a wide array of services such as financing, transactions, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, land use permitting, local government and other development approvals, patents, licensing, tax and entity structuring.

For more information, contact:
Ashley Shelley (

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