Ten Roberts & Stevens Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020

Roberts & Stevens is pleased to announce that 10 of its attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 Edition. Additionally, Wyatt S. Stevens has been named Best Lawyers 2020 Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” in Asheville. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as “Lawyer of the Year.”

Attorneys selected for inclusion in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America are:

  • Vincent D. Childress, Jr.: Corporate Law, Health Care Law
  • William Clarke: Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental, Natural Resources Law
  • David L. English: Corporate Law, Real Estate Law
  • Jacqueline D. Grant: Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Kenneth R. Hunt: Insurance Law
  • Gregory D. Hutchins: Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships), Corporate Law, Health Care Law, Real Estate Law, Trusts and Estates
  • Phillip T. Jackson: Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Health Care, Litigation – Insurance, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • Dennis L. Martin, Jr.: Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Marc S. Rudow: Real Estate Law
  • Wyatt S. Stevens: Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 94,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and we have received over 11 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 8.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 62,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Seeking Litigation Associate

Roberts & Stevens, P.A., in Asheville, North Carolina is seeking an associate with 0-3 years of litigation experience to join their litigation team. Candidate must have strong writing skills, excellent interpersonal skills and be able to work both independently and as part of a larger team. A JD from an ABA accredited law school with a license to practice law in North Carolina or admission pending to the NC Bar are required. We offer generous benefits and compensation, plus potential for bonuses. All inquiries and applications will be kept in confidence. Send resume to HumanResources@Roberts-Stevens.com.



Roberts & Stevens Attorney F. Lachicotte Zemp, Jr. Named President of North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys

Roberts & Stevens, P.A. is pleased to announce that firm partner F. Lachicotte “Lach” Zemp, Jr. has been confirmed as president of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys. Established in 1977, the NCADA is a professional organization of nearly 900 attorneys and paralegals across the state who devote a majority of their time to representing businesses and individuals in civil litigation.
Zemp was confirmed on June 15 at the 2019 NCADA Annual Meeting held at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. He will serve as president of the organization for one year.
“The members of the NCADA are some of the best trial attorneys in the state of North Carolina and I’m honored to serve as the organization’s president for the coming year,” said Zemp. “I appreciate this recognition from my colleagues and look forward to the opportunity to work on behalf of the organization to carry forward its mission.”
An AV-rated lawyer, Zemp has 30 years of experience trying cases and representing a variety of clients and interests. He has developed expertise in crisis response and risk management as part of his representation of trucking companies, summer camps, zipline companies, whitewater rafting companies, and a variety of other outdoor-based industries. He also represents land trusts and similar organizations in enforcing conservation easements.
“Lach brings to his presidency a diverse litigation practice that will benefit the NCADA as we continue to broaden our membership base to civil trial attorneys who represent businesses in complex commercial cases in addition to the traditional insurance defense practice,” said Lynette Pitt, executive director of the NCADA. “With his extensive past leadership service with nonprofit boards and organizations, Lach can provide insight and direction for the growth and relevance of the NCADA.”
A frequent presenter to the North Carolina Youth Camp Association, Zemp has also been selected to speak at the National Conference of the American Camp Association and the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, which is co-sponsored by Outward Bound and NOLS.
Zemp is a graduate of Davidson College and earned his law degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center (University of New Hampshire School of Law).
In the Asheville community, Zemp serves on the boards of directors for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Riverlink, and as vice-president of the Warren Wilson College Board of Trustees. He has previously served on the boards of Pisgah Legal Services, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and Blue Ridge Public Radio (formerly WCQS), as well as on the City of Asheville’s Committee for Sustainable Energy and Environment, and as Legal Division Cabinet Chair for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County’s Annual Campaign.

In Memoriam – John S. Stevens

John Shorter “Jack” Stevens, 85, died on April 23, 2019 at his home in Asheville.

Jack was born May 30, 1933 in Asheville to the late John Henry Stevens and Viola Shorter Stevens.  He attended public elementary schools and graduated from Christ School, Arden, North Carolina in 1952.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1956.  After serving two years in the U.S. Army as a Corporal in the Corps of Engineers, he attended law school at the University of North Carolina Law School, graduating in 1961.

Jack began his law career with Anthony Redmond in the fall of 1961.  Over several years, the firm expanded to become Redmond, Stevens, Loftin & Currie.  In 1986, that firm merged with the firm of Roberts, Cogburn, McClure and Williams to become the firm of Roberts & Stevens.  Under Jack’s leadership, Roberts & Stevens became one of the preeminent law firms in western North Carolina.

In 1966, he married Imogene “Cissie” Stevens, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.  Their love and respect for each other created the foundation for a lifetime of happiness, success and meaning.  They were a model for the rest of us to follow.

In his early career, Jack served four terms in the North Carolina General Assembly (1969-1975) and was Chairman of the House Rules Committee during the 1975 session.

Active throughout his career in the North Carolina Bar Association, Jack was President from 1995-1996 and was inducted into the Bar Association General Practice Hall of Fame in 2013.  He was also presented with the 28th Judicial District Bar Association Centennial Award for outstanding service which benefitted his local community.  He loved practicing law and remained actively engaged in practice until January of 2019 when he reluctantly retired.

His service to the community was unparalleled.  He chaired the Board of Trustees of Mission Memorial Medical Center from 1978-1980 and again from 1992-1995.  He was instrumental in the merger of Mission-St. Joseph Health System and chaired that combined board from 1996-1998.  He was also a member and chaired the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina Health Care System in Chapel Hill.

He was one of the first directors of Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company and served on the board and Executive Committee from 1982 until 2009.  He was also Chairman of the Asheville Regional Airport Authority.  He served on many other boards and commissions, including the North Carolina Humanities Council, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Cherokee Indian Hospital, the Governor’s Task Force for Safe Roads and the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority.

Jack was also an active member of the Pen & Plate Club from 1967 until his death.

A skier all his life, Jack was a member of the National Ski Patrol at Cataloochee Ski Resort and Wolf Laurel in the late 1960’s and early 70’s and taught his three boys how to ski.  He also loved the Rocky Mountains and skied out west annually until he was 80 years old.   An avid hiker, Jack and Cissie hiked Hadrian’s Wall in England and the footpaths of France, but their favorite hike was Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which they summited more than forty times.   An accomplished sailor, he and his friend Bill Holdford made dozens of trips through the Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke Island and also an annual trip to the Chesapeake Bay.  He also sailed Charleston Harbor and throughout the Caribbean with friends and family.  More than anything, Jack enjoyed being outside, among friends and family.

An accomplished historian, Jack lectured on the History of Buncombe County at the College For Seniors at UNC Asheville from 2000-2016.  Shortly before his death, Jack published a book entitled A Short Buncombe County History.   Although Jack and Cissie enjoyed traveling immensely, his home was Buncombe County, where he could trace his direct lineage back to 1820 when Henry Stevens came over the mountains from east Tennessee to marry Nancy Foster and make a home in south Asheville.   At the start of his book, Jack quoted author Fred Chappell:  “Who you are is where you’re from and where you’re from is where you are going.”

In addition to his parents, Jack was preceded in death by his brother James Robert Stevens, II of Winston-Salem.  Surviving are his sister, Mary Stevens Hood of Virginia Beach, VA, his wife of 53 years, Cissie Stevens of Asheville; sons, Brent Stevens and wife, Kelly, of Charlotte, Wyatt Stevens and wife, Kim, of Asheville and Scott Stevens and wife, Jenny, of Charlotte; grandchildren, Jonathan, Ashlyn and Wyatt Stevens of Charlotte, Katie and Gracie Stevens of Asheville and John, Sam and Ella Stevens of Charlotte.  He is also survived by his beloved dog, Beau, who helped keep him company during his last difficult months.

Jack was a long time member of Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Asheville.  A funeral service in celebration of Jack’s life will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2019.

Buncombe County and western North Carolina are better for having Jack Stevens.

Attorney Susan Russo Klein Joins Roberts & Stevens Law Firm

Roberts & Stevens is pleased to announce that attorney Susan Russo Klein has joined the firm. Russo Klein will work with the firm’s labor and employment law and business law teams, advising and representing employers and businesses of all sizes.

Russo Klein brings to her practice more than 14 years of experience as in-house counsel for businesses, drafting and negotiating business contracts, advising on employment-related matters, and managing acquisitions.

Before joining Roberts & Stevens, Russo Klein served as general counsel for a hospitality company based in Asheville, where she resolved employment law issues, drafted and negotiated contracts, and recommended risk management strategies for hotels, fitness centers and other businesses.

“Susan is a great addition to our firm,” said Vince Childress of Roberts & Stevens. “Her experience working as in-house counsel for businesses in different industries, hospitality in particular, has given her a broad skill set and a unique perspective that will serve our clients and our team well.”

Russo Klein earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina and her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Bar Association, where she is part of the Corporate Counsel and Real Property sections.

In the community, Russo Klein volunteers with Pisgah Legal Services and is a North Carolina Bar Association Call 4All participant. She is also co-founder of the Asheville Area Paralegal Association and a member of the St. Eugene Catholic Church Parish Council.

The Roberts & Stevens labor and employment law practice advises employers of all sizes, from family-run startups to large corporations, in all aspects of employment counseling and litigation. The firm’s business law team provides comprehensive legal representation to businesses facing a variety of legal issues, from starting a business and handling daily legal concerns to dealing with complex matters such as mergers, acquisitions, and the sales of businesses.