T: 704.377.8325
F: 704.373.3925
  • 101 North Tryon Street
    Suite 1900
    Charlotte, NC 28246

John R. Wester

Mr. Wester has devoted his entire career to practicing law with Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, where he concentrates in the trials and appeals of complex civil litigation. He represents clients at each level of the federal and state trial and appellate courts and has extensive experience in the North Carolina Business Court.

Mr. Wester’s practice includes corporate, partnership, and shareholder rights disputes, federal securities cases, unfair trade practice issues, tax controversies, patent infringement claims, and employment discrimination suits. Many of his cases have been brought as class actions.

Mr. Wester argued as lead defense counsel before the United States Supreme Court in Ford Motor Co. v. EEOC, the decision in which the Court established its precedent for ending employer liability in employment discrimination cases.

Mr. Wester was lead counsel for plaintiffs in Hyatt v. Shalala, the 20-year long class action against the Social Security Administration on behalf of thousands of disabled citizens whose benefits had been denied or terminated. Mr. Wester and Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, in partnership with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, prosecuted the case throughout its run in the federal courts, including two reviews by the U.S. Supreme Court, five opinions by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and numerous trial court proceedings. Approximately 150,000 North Carolinians won new disability hearings under new standards as a result of this litigation, and the Social Security Administration revised a national regulation on disability.

Mr. Wester’s views often appear in trade and legal press publications. Most recently, he was profiled in the Winter 2013 issue of Duke Law Magazine, while N.C. Lawyers Weekly sought his opinion on the importance of pro bono work in the legal profession. Nationally, MSNBC turned to Mr. Wester’s experience before the U.S. Supreme Court for commentary on the Wal-Mart class action discrimination case.

Mr. Wester has received numerous honors for his legal work including recognition in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in Business Litigation and Labor & Employment since 2004. According to Chambers USA, “Wester is universally lauded by peers and clients, one of whom describes him as ‘one of the best litigators I have ever met’" and "He has exceptional intelligence and wit, and is a very strong advocate who is able to operate at all levels of the case," say sources. He has also been recognized in Best Lawyers® since 1993, Benchmark Litigation since 2008 and North Carolina Super Lawyers since 2006. Best Lawyers® has also recognized Mr. Wester as Charlotte Litigation: Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year, Charlotte Litigation: Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, Charlotte Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year and Charlotte Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year. Benchmark Appellate has recognized Mr. Wester as one of 10 attorneys identified as Fourth Circuit litigation stars in North Carolina. Mr. Wester has also been regularly included in Business North Carolina’s annual listing of the state’s “Legal Elite” and, for the past five years, as one of the Top 10 attorneys in North Carolina Super Lawyers annual peer review rankings.

Mr. Wester served as the 115th president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2009-10. During his term as president, Mr. Wester advocated for strengthening the North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Project (NC LEAP), serving low-income entrepreneurs, supported completion of the Judicial Performance Evaluation program, designed to enhance the performance and increase the accountability of North Carolina Superior Court and District Court judges, and worked to enhance funding for non-profit legal providers. Since the conclusion of his term as president, he has served as co-chair of the Bar Association’s Committee for Judicial Independence.

Mr. Wester is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (2006-08, state chairman) and of the American Bar Foundation.

Professional Affiliations

  • North Carolina Bar Association, President, 2009-10
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 1994-present
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, North Carolina Chairman, 2004-06
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2004-present
  • Appellate Rules Committee, North Carolina Bar Association, Chairman, 2003-05
  • Appellate Process Committee, Chief Justice’s Commission on the North Carolina Business Court, Chairman, 2002-04
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Board of Governors; Chairman, Nominations Committee; Chairman, Audit & Finance Committee
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Committee for Judicial Independence, Co-chairman, 2010-12

Community Involvement

  • Access to Justice Council (Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont), Chairman, 2012-present 
  • North Carolina Museum of History, Board of Directors, 2012-present
  • Duke University School of Law, Board of Visitors, 2002-present
  • University of North Carolina, Board of Visitors, 2004-08
  • Mecklenburg County Bar, Board of Directors, 2006-09
  • Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Board of Directors, 1999-2005
  • ArtsTeach, Inc., Chairman, 2000-02
  • Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Chairman, 1988-89
  • Lynnwood Foundation, Board of Directors, 2007-present; Executive Committee, 2011-present

Professional Recognition

  • Woodward/White, Inc., The Best Lawyers in America, appellate practice, bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, litigation - intellectual property, litigation - labor and employment law, litigation - mergers and acquisitions, litigation - securities, 1993-2015; Charlotte Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year, 2011; Charlotte Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year, 2012, 2015; Charlotte Litigation – Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year, 2012; Charlotte Litigation – Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, 2013-14
  • Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, litigation, 2013-14
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 10 North Carolina Super Lawyer, business litigation, 2006-14
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Businessbusiness litigation and labor & employment, 2004-14
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina leading litigation attorney, class actions, commercial litigation, employment, securities, 2012-14
  • Benchmark Appellate, North Carolina leading appellate attorney, Fourth Circuit, 2012-13 
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated