Morningstar Law Group – Raleigh Law Firm – Durham NC Attorneys

Grayson Hale is a business attorney with more than two decades of experience representing companies and their owners, investors, and executives in mergers and acquisitions/dispositions; ownership succession structuring and implementation, including employee stock ownership plans (ESOP); financing; and day-to-day business matters as outside general counsel.

Grayson leads the firm’s architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) practice where he represents regional, national and international engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, geology, and other professional services firms and general contractors in mergers and acquisitions and related issues. He also regularly advises firms on structuring their operations in compliance with regulatory professional and entity licensing throughout the United States and represents them in disciplinary matters before licensing boards. Grayson has unparalleled experience in assisting A/E firms with obtaining North Carolina professional licensure compliance using pre-1969 grandfather corporations.

Other clients represent a wide variety of industries, including hotel development and management, manufacturing, wholesale, software and high tech, education, electric power generation and management, retail, and restaurants.

As a founding partner of Morningstar Law Group, Grayson has gained hands-on management experience that bolsters his insight into operating a professional services firm. That enables him to provide more practical and effective legal counsel, not legal advice in a vacuum. Prior to Morningstar Law Group, Grayson spent 14 years practicing with national and international law firms in Dallas, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina.

When he’s not practicing law, Grayson enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, the mountains, and trying to beat the unbeatable game of golf.

Accolades

  • Best Lawyers: Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Law (2019)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite: Hall of Fame, Business Law (2013), Business and Corporate Law (2011-2013)
  • Super Lawyers: Business/Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions (2014-2019)
  • Super Lawyers: Top 100 Lawyer North Carolina (2015, 2016, 2019)
  • Triangle Business Leader: Impact Lawyer (2010), Top Lawyer

Representative Experience

  • Represents numerous architecture, engineering, geology, surveying, landscape architecture and related professional firms and contractor firms of all sizes in acquisitions and dispositions throughout North America (USA and Canada), including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, among others.
  • Represents regional, national and international architecture, engineering, and related professional service and contractor firms in structuring business for compliance with North Carolina licensing board laws, including representing buyers and sellers of North Carolina pre-1969 grandfather corporations.
  • Represents SaaS, software, IT consulting and other technology companies in the purchase of other firms or their sale to strategic and private equity buyers.
  • Represented “Stalking Horse” buyer in its acquisition of a laboratory business pursuant to a Section 363 bankruptcy sale.
  • Represented hotel developer in connection with development of numerous internationally branded hotels throughout North America with joint ventures, including debt financing and equity offering.

Presentations & Publications

In addition to a variety of published articles, Grayson is a frequent speaker at local, regional and national business and legal conferences.

  • “Anatomy of a Deal.” 2019 Capital Strategies and M&A Forum for A/E/C Industry. Panelist (2019)
  • “Joint Ventures.” The University of North Carolina: Kenan Flagler School of Business, Master Business Administration Program. Guest Adjunct Professor (2018)
  • “It’s An Auction – M&A Case Study.” 2017 Capital Strategies and M&A Forum for A/E/C Industry. Panelist (2017)
  • “Determining the Value of a Firm.” 2017 Capital Strategies and M&A Forum for A/E/C Industry. Panelist (2017)
  • “Expecting the Unexpected to Avoid Landmines in M&A and Organic Growth.” A/E/C Growth & Ownership Strategies Conference. Speaker (2016)
  • “What Does an ‘Of Counsel’ Position Look Like.” Mapping Your Retirement: Practicing Without Fear, NC Bar Association CLE. Speaker (2016)
  • “Lessons Learned from M&A’s Gone Wrong.” 2016 Capital Strategies and M&A Forum for A/E/C Industry. Speaker (2016)
  • “Negotiating a Successful M&A Deal – Understanding the Rule and Risks.”Retrospective (Winter 2015)
  • “Strategic Alternatives for Partial ESOP Companies.” Capital Strategies and M&A Forum. Speaker (2015)
  • “Managing Risk and Insurance During Ownership Transition.” Capital Strategies and M&A Forum. Speaker (2015)
  • “Ropes Course: Navigating Mergers & Acquisitions.” American Council of Engineering Companies, NC Annual Meeting (2014)
  • “Corporate and Employment Law Developments,” NC Bar Association: Corporate Counsel Section Annual Meeting (2014)
  • “Ownership Transition Techniques.” American Council of Engineering Companies, NC Small Business Forum (2013)
  • M&A/Capital Markets. American Council of Engineering Companies Annual Convention, CFO Council Forum (2012)
  • “Keys to Successful M&A and Minefields to Avoid.” Zweigwhite, AEC Mergers & Acquisitions Summit (2011)
  • “North Carolina’s Mini-Brooks Act: How it Works; How to Comply,” K&L Gates LLP Seminars (2010)
  • “Private Placements: Raising Capital with Regulation D.” Raising Capital Forum (2010)
  • “Capital Ideas.” Association for Corporate Growth (2009)
  • “M&A From A To Z: Ingredients in Acquisition Alphabet Soup.” NC Bar Association CLE (2009)
  • “How to Effectively Utilize Your Paralegal.” NC Bar Association CLE (2008)
  • “Buying and Selling a Business and Business Valuations.” NC CLE Seminar (2008)
  • “Negotiating the Terms of Your Deal.” Association for Corporate Growth (2008)
  • “Grappling with Mergers, Acquisitions and Alternatives.” Association of Corporate Growth (2007)
  • “Buying and Selling a Business, M&A Structuring and Tax Issues.” Lorman (2007)
  • “Issues in Mergers & Acquisitions Valuation.” Grant Thornton & Kennedy Covington Joint Seminar (2006)
  • “Intellectual Property in M&A,” Grant Thornton & Kennedy Covington Joint Seminar (2006)
  • “Selected Issues In Negotiating Venture Term Sheets.” First Flight Venture Center (2005)
  • “Term Sheets in Venture Capital Financings.” Council for Entrepreneurial Development, FastTrac Program (2004)
  • “M&A Structuring: Methods of Buying & Selling A Business.” Grant Thornton & Kennedy Covington Joint Seminar (2004)
  • “Costly, But Common Mistakes in M&A Transactions.” Grant Thornton and The Staubach Company Joint Seminar (2004)

Education

  • Duke University, Biotechnology for Business, Executive Education Program (2004)
  • Southern Methodist University: tax studies towards LL.M (1998-2000)
  • University of Arkansas Law School, J.D. (1998) cum laude
  • University of Central Arkansas, Masters of Business Administration (1992)
  • Arkansas Tech University, B.S. Accounting; B.S. Business Administration (1991)
  • Certified Public Accountant (inactive)

Admissions

  • North Carolina State Bar (2002)
  • Arkansas State Bar (2003)
  • Texas State Bar (1998)

Professional

  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC): Legal Forum Member. NC Member.
  • March of Dimes: NC Board of Directors (2008-2017). Treasurer and Chair, Finance Committee (2009-2017)
  • Association of Corporate Growth: Board of Directors, Raleigh Durham Chapter (2009-2013). Programs Committee (2009-2013). Membership Committee (2005-2008).
  • University of Arkansas Alumni Association: President, Triangle Chapter (2005-2008)
  • NC Bar Association: Business Section
  • Council for Entrepreneurial Development: Member
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce: Leadership Raleigh graduate
  • United Way: Fundraising Account Executive