Morningstar Law Group – Raleigh Law Firm – Durham NC Attorneys

Swain Wood, formerly the First Assistant Attorney General of North Carolina and General Counsel to Attorney General Josh Stein, is the Chair of Morningstar’s Political and Government Disputes team. Swain is a proven problem-solver, working closely with clients to successfully anticipate, navigate, and resolve complex legal disputes involving public entities and officials.

During his government service, Swain played a central role in constructing and negotiating the national opioid settlements, serving as leader of the multi-state negotiating team in years-long settlement discussions with multiple Fortune 50 pharmaceutical companies and thousands of local governments. Those settlements created crisis abatement funds totaling more than $50 billion, brought industry-changing injunctive relief to the pharmaceutical industry, and helped resolve the “massive, and massively complex” opioid pharmaceutical liability litigation, which the New York Times has called “one of the most complicated and gargantuan legal battles in American history.”

Before being appointed to his senior government position by Attorney General Josh Stein in 2017, Swain was a partner at Morningstar Law Group where he focused on complex litigation in multiple jurisdictions across the country. He also previously served in the Georgia Attorney General’s Office under Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

Swain is a native of Winston-Salem, a passionate fan of English football, a student of history, and an avid runner and hiker.

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  • National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Senior Staff of the Year Award for 2022, given “in recognition of exceptional service to the nation’s Attorneys General through exemplary expertise and achievement.”
  • Distinguished Service Award for 2021-2022, presented by North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC).
  • Recognized on numerous occasions in Best Lawyers and Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite.
  • Martindale-Hubble AV Preeminent Rating.
  • Frequent speaker to groups of public officials and legal groups locally and nationally

Representative Experience

  • Lead negotiator for the states in $26 billion national opioid settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors (Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson) and $13.8 billion settlements with pharmacies (Walmart, Walgreen’s, and CVS).
  • Led state’s negotiations with Duke Energy (DUK) leading to $1.1 billion coal ash clean-up settlement.
  • Directed North Carolina’s first-in-the-nation investigation and litigation against e-cigarette maker JUUL, which resulted in a $40 million consent order.
  • Served as chief legal adviser and strategist to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, supervising the North Carolina Department of Justice’s Civil and Criminal Bureaus, Solicitor General’s Office, and Consumer Protection Division.
  • Represented North Carolina’s Governor and Attorney General as amici curiae in litigation opposing political gerrymandering of state legislative and congressional districts.
  • Supervised teams that represented North Carolina in multiple cases before the United States Supreme Court.
  • Represented North Carolina-based furniture manufacturer at trial and on appeal, winning $12 million judgment against manufacturer of knock-offs that was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented incarcerated novelist in First Amendment claim against prison officials who had punished him for writing books, negotiating settlement that required changes to prison policies.
  • Represented publisher and author of The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Gone With the Wind, successfully asserting First Amendment-based fair use defense against estate of Margaret Mitchell.


  • Harvard Law School, J.D.
  • Georgetown University, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa


  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals, Fourth and Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina; Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia; District of Colorado