Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

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Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP
Wcsr logo.png
Headquarters Winston-Salem, North Carolina
No. of offices 14
No. of attorneys approximately 550[1]
No. of employees 1,100+
Key people Elizabeth "Betty" O. Temple, Chairman & CEO; Terry Wiley, Executive director;[2]
Date founded 1876
Company type Professional Liability Partnership
Website www.wcsr.com

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, established in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1876, is one of the largest business law firms in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Currently, Womble Carlyle has 14 offices: Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston South Carolina; Tysons Corner, Virginia; Washington, DC; Wilmington, Delaware; and Silicon Valley, California. The firm’s growth has matched the economic growth and evolution of North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.


The firm traces its history to 1876, when Cyrus Watson and W.B. Glenn formed a partnership in Winston, North Carolina, under the name Watson & Glenn.[3]

  • In 1885, the firm name changed to Glenn & Glenn
  • In 1891, the firm name changed to Glenn & Manley
  • In 1898, the firm name changed to Glenn, Manley & Hendren
  • In 1905, the firm name changed to Manly & Hendren
  • In 1911, the firm name changed to Manly, Hendren & Womble
  • In 1942, the firm name changed to Womble, Carlyle, Martin & Sandridge
  • In 1954, the firm name changed to Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

Irving E. Carlyle was a long-time resident of Winston-Salem, N.C. He was a trustee of Wake Forest University and coached the men's basketball team in its earliest years. Carlyle is one of the most notable civil rights attorneys in North Carolina history. Womble Carlyle was able to grow into one of the most successful law firms in North Carolina due to its proximity in Winston-Salem to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which used Womble Carlyle for its legal services.

Womble Carlyle began expanding outside Winston-Salem in the 1980s by establishing an office in Raleigh in 1982 and adding an office in Charlotte in 1984. The 1990s were marked by the firm’s early commitment to technology and further expansion into new cities by opening new offices and also merging with other law firms. By the end of the 1990s, Womble Carlyle had opened its Atlanta, Research Triangle Park, Washington D.C. and Greenville, South Carolina offices. The firm’s commitment to technology was recognized in 1999 when Red Herring (a weekly magazine focused on the business of funding, building, and taking new technologies to market), recognized Womble Carlyle as one of the most progressive law firms in the country due to its commitment to technology.

Current Size of Firm/Recent Changes[edit]

Womble Carlyle now has more than 550 lawyers and 1200 staff located in fourteen offices.[4] Its attorneys and professionals provide a full range of legal services to regional, national and international businesses and other clients in a wide range of industries.

Womble Carlyle is a member of Lex Mundi, a global organization of independent law firms.

In Fall 2011, Womble Carlyle opened an office in Cupertino, California in the Silicon Valley and then moved the office to Palo Alto in 2015, further demonstrating the firm's long-standing commitment to serving intellectual property, high-tech and patent clients.

Effective April 30, 2011, Womble Carlyle merged with Buist Moore Smythe McGee, P.A., a 44-lawyer Charleston, South Carolina law firm, creating the largest law firm in both North and South Carolina. Buist Moore Smythe McGee P.A. lawyers are known for their advocacy on behalf of corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and other business associations in all aspects of commercial activity.

In February 2012, the Firm merged with Hall and Bowers, LLC and established the firm's office in Columbia, SC.

In January 2016, Betty Temple became the firm's Chair and CEO, one of a handful of women at the helm of a large, national law firm. [5] Temple’s appointment represented a number of milestones for Womble Carlyle: She became the youngest Chair in the firm’s 140-year history, the first Chair to be located outside of the firm’s original Winston-Salem office, and the first woman to lead the firm.[6]

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2015 and 2016, the Human Rights Campaign designated Womble Carlyle a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.[7]

Representative clients[edit]

Womble Carlyle represents many nationally and internationally known corporations, businesses and foundations in industries that include manufacturing, transportation and energy, financial services, insurance, health care, education and technology including:[8]

Womble Carlyle also has an active pro bono practice which has included high-profile cases such as the defense of death-row inmate Alan Gell by Womble Carlyle lawyer James P. Cooney, III.


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