Based in the Port City, Charles Baldwin uses his broad experience in cross-border transactions to advise businesses on international law, venture capital and transactional matters. He also serves as Village Attorney for the Village of Bald Head Island, providing counsel on contract, construction, environmental, municipal and regulatory issues.
Based in Wilmington, N.C., Charles has diverse experience in international and transportation law and is recognized as one of the state’s leading attorneys in these areas. Charles represents corporations on a variety of cross-border issues, including imports, exports, cargo claims and Federal Maritime Commission matters. Charles has always had an interest in international business and cultures, and continues to be a frequent speaker on topics related to business law and international trade.
Charles has a diverse corporate practice, advising businesses in the technology, pharmaceutical, health care, medical device, manufacturing, port facility, and transportation industries, among others, and on a wide range of venture capital and transactional issues. He regularly counsels his clients on matters related to start-ups, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions. He is an angel investor and executive committee member of Wilmington Investor Network, LLC. Charles enjoys helping his clients achieve their goals by solving and simplifying complex legal issues. He is a frequent speaker and writer on business law.
Charles’ unique practice includes serving as village attorney for the Village of Bald Head Island in North Carolina. Bald Head is the southernmost of North Carolina’s cape islands, and 10,000 of the island’s 12,000 total acres have been set aside as nature preserves. Given the island’s diverse environment, Charles counsels island leaders on the numerous environmental and regulatory issues that arise.
Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) designation from the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators
Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in International Trade and Finance Law (2012-2019)
AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Permanently recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” Hall of Fame in Business Law (2019)
Member, Board of Directors, NC Foreign Trade Promotion Council (2016-present)
Speaker, "Structuring Cross-Border Commercial Transactions: Negotiating and Drafting Key Deal Terms," Strafford Publishing webinar, December 2018
Presenter, "Going Global: Key Issues in International Law and Trade," UNCW Business Week, Wilmington, NC, March 2018
Co-author (with Ryan Fairchild), "Contracts and Dispute Resolution in Sales of Goods to US Customers," GGI Insider, November 2017
Presenter, "International Law & Transaction," Pamlico County/FTPC "Going Global" seminar, Oriental, NC, March 2017
Jurisdiction and Strategy in Transportation Litigation and Arbitration, Thomson Reuters/Aspatore Publishers, 2013
"What is Crowd Funding," Legal Alert, March 2012
International Litigation: A Guide to Jurisdiction, Practice and Strategy, 4th Revised Edition, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2010
International Civil Dispute Resolution, 2nd Edition, Thomson/West publishing, 2008
"Practice Before the Clerk in North Carolina," North Carolina Bar Association, 2003
"Virtual Jurisdiction: Personal Jurisdiction Based Upon Electronic Contacts," NC Bar Association International Law Section newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1999
"Protecting Confidential and Proprietary Commercial Information in International Arbitration," 31 Tex. Int'l L.J. 451, 1996
The following Q&A was adapted from Charles Baldwin’s profile in Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite 2015.
Why you chose to specialize in your particular field:
Family, friends and classmates of different nationalities and occupations interested me in international business and cultures. Those experiences, plus a desire to help people, led to law and an international transactional and business practice. Some of the best advice I received was from former Sullivan & Cromwell Managing Partner Jack Stevenson, a family friend. Jack offered to speak with me and we sat on the porch of his mountain cottage, “No Deer” (his wife was an avid gardener). He told me that if I wanted to practice international business law, I should forget about international business law. Instead, he said I should study as hard as I could and focus on bedrock legal principles (contracts, torts, real property, equity, litigation). Then, I should join the best law practice I could. When an international business issue arose, I should let it be known that I was interested and offer to work on it. After law school, I joined an established business and admiralty law practice that I believed would encounter international issues. That led to a diverse business practice, including international transactions including work on international port terminals, technology, pharma, health care, angel and venture capital, transportation and regulatory matters.
Family: Wife, Devon; daughter, Davis; son, Selden; and Kinston Yard Dog
Memorable case: A project to establish a new maritime port terminal. It involved working through the business and legal issues with national and international companies and seeing the project move from paper to implementation. Seeing the ships, cranes, conveyors, trucks and trains moving cargo was most rewarding. Note: Kudos to my childhood time with Lionel trains.
Passions: Reading, writing, guitar, running
If you didn't practice in your current location, where would you live and work? Winston-Salem or Asheville
What would you do if you were not an attorney? Book editor. The editor of a book I co-authored on international litigation and arbitration said she would like to hire me. I would enjoy learning new subjects and structuring and revising works of authorship.
Favorite place: Wilmington, N.C.
Hero: Henry Frye, North Carolina’s first African-American Chief Justice—a great person, author, poet and fellow Brooks Pierce attorney. He loves people, regardless of time or circumstance.
What is your favorite book or one that you are now engrossed in: Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life, by Carlo D’Este
Don’t ask me to: Fix a computer problem