Morningstar Law Group – Raleigh Law Firm – Durham NC Attorneys

Patrick Byker is a real estate lawyer who focuses on zoning, land use and municipal law, real estate litigation, and commercial real estate law. He has extensive experience representing clients before local elected officials to obtain approval of high-quality real estate developments throughout the Triangle.

With a master’s degree in regional land use planning, Patrick is uniquely suited to advise clients on securing appropriate governmental approvals to move real estate development projects forward. His planning background makes him well versed in zoning and land use issues, including the creation and administration of restrictive covenants and the contractual relationships that govern leading commercial, residential and mixed-use developments in the Triangle.

Patrick has worked on several Transit-Oriented Development projects, focusing on high density residential (50-80 dwellings per acre) and mixed-use developments that combine commercial, office and residential uses. He previously worked at K&L Gates; Kennedy, Covington, Lobdell & Hickman; and Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice.

Patrick has lived in Durham for 25 years, and now serves as Vice-Chair of the Board for Discover Durham, our community’s convention and visitor’s bureau, so he takes great pride in welcoming you to Durham.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
There is a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth.


  • Best Lawyers: Land Use and Zoning Law (2018-2024), Real Estate Law (2013-2024)
  • Chambers USA: Real Estate – Zoning/Land Use (2023-2024)

Representative Experience

  • Represented developer for entitlement of 175-acre, transit-oriented development with more than 2,000 residential units and more than 400,000 square feet of commercial space
  • Obtained entitlements for 450-acre mixed use development with 1,300 residential units, 1,000,000 square feet of office space and 160,000 square feet of retail
  • Assisted multi-family developers with rezonings for apartments with 50-80 units per acre
  • Represented national home improvement retailer to achieve approval for anchor store with multiple outparcels and more than 200 townhouses
  • Achieved multi-million dollar settlement and improved access for office park ownership in condemnation action with North Carolina Turnpike Authority

Presentations & Publications

Patrick is an expert on the current state of zoning law and restrictive covenants in North Carolina.

  • “Panel on Things Encountered Before Boards that Don’t Make the Appellate Opinions.” Zoning, Planning & Land Use Section Annual Meeting (2018)
  • “Streamlined development review needed,” co-authored article with Bill Brian. The Herald-Sun (2008)
  • “Restrictive Covenants and Related Issues.” Wake Forest University School of Law, Continuing Legal Education Program, Real Property (2007)
  • National Business Institute, Continuing Legal Education (2004)


  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, J.D. (1992)
    Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.A., Regional Land Use Planning (1994)
  • Calvin College, B.A., Classical Studies (1987)


  • State of North Carolina (1992)


  • Urban Land Institute: Member, Triangle Chapter
  • Discover Durham (Convention & Visitors Bureau): Vice Chair (2019-present), Board Member (2015-present)
  • Durham Convention Center Authority: Chair (2009-2015), Board Member (2006-2009)
  • City of Durham Capital Program Advisory Committee: Chair (2006-2008), Member (2005-2008)
  • Durham Area Transit Authority: Chair (1999-2003); Board Member (1996-2004)
  • Friends of Durham: Chair (2000-2002), Steering Committee (2000-present)
  • Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce: Vice President, Government Affairs Committee (2000-present)
  • Durham Crime Cabinet: Secretary (1997-1999)
  • NC Bar Association: Land Use and Zoning Section
  • Green Building Certification Institute: LEED Accredited Professional (LEED-AP)