Joseph E. Betts, J.D., M.S.A.

The classroom, the courtroom and the conference room. These are the places where Joe Betts has developed a uniquely effective means of communicating and advocating. “Teaching has made me a better lawyer. Standing up in front of a room full of undergraduate or graduate students, fielding questions about law and accounting, demands the ability to think on your feet.” It is this skillset that has helped Joe become a lawyer that other lawyers have turned to. Joe firmly believes that being an effective lawyer or professor requires three things:

  • Knowing your subject matter thoroughly;
  • Getting the point across clearly and effectively; and
  • Anticipating the arguments or questions that will come your way.

A weakness in any one of these elements can mean the difference between achieving the goal or coming up short.

No stranger to dealing with conflict and tackling a challenge, Joe left active duty as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps to attend Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville, North Carolina, later transferring to the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in Political Science and later a Master's of Science in Accountancy from UNCW's prestigious Cameron School of Business. Following UNCW, he attended the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, NC where he was a recipient of the Gressman-Pollitt award for outstanding oral advocacy.

The combination of law and accounting has given Joe the ability to take on complex legal and financial issues for clients beginning with his days as an associate with the firm of Griffin, Smith, Caldwell, Helder & Lee in Monroe, NC, to opening his own firm in Wilmington. Joe has previously served as Assistant University Counsel for UNC Wilmington, and most recently, served as Asst. City Attorney for the City of Wilmington where he represented the City in a variety of areas including Land Use and Zoning, Code Enforcement, Finance, Condemnation, Economic Development, Collections, Franchises, Contracts, Taxation and Litigation, and served as the legal adviser to the City’s Board of Adjustment and Historic Preservation Commission.

In addition to practicing law, Joe has been Adjunct Faculty at the University of North Carolina Wilmington for over 15 years, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of Business Law, Commercial Law, Labor Law, American Government, Constitutional Law and Financial and Managerial Accounting.

Bar Admissions
North Carolina – 2000
United States District Court – Eastern District of NC
United States 4th Circuit Ct. of Appeals

University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC
B.A. summa cum laude - 1996
M.S.A. – 1997
University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC
J.D. – 2000
U.S. Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey, CA
Graduate with Honors - 1987

Professional Associations and Memberships
North Carolina Bar Association
New Hanover County Bar Association
United States Marine Corps League
NC Association Of Municipal Attorneys

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