John Small, Brooks Pierce Photo

John H. Small



John Small has more than 35 years of experience representing both creditors and debtors in business bankruptcies, and was a Board Certified Specialist in Business and Consumer Bankruptcy Law from 1988 to 2023. He also counsels small businesses and religious organizations on a variety of legal issues. He thrives on solving clients’ most complex problems.

My Practices

  • John represents secured creditors in bankruptcies for business and real estate loans. He also has experience working with landlords, equipment lessors, trade creditors and Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 trustees in bankruptcy cases, as well as individuals who may be purchasing assets out of the bankruptcy.

    "In the 15 years that I have known John, I have found that his judgment, legal expertise and business acumen are outstanding and highly valuable. His commitment to service and his ability to meet clients' needs and deadlines are unmatched." - Bill Vasaly, EVP/Chief Credit Officer, Bank of Oak Ridge 
  • John represents businesses experiencing financial difficulties, many of which are going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. He has represented a variety of businesses, including manufacturing companies, retailers, and real estate companies.

  • John represents both principals and small businesses, including corporations, LLCs, and partnerships, on entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, financing and contract issues. 

  • John serves as general counsel for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and represents other churches and religious organizations both inside and outside the Baptist denomination. He helps religious organizations navigate their unique legal landscape, including structure, governance issues and the impact of the First Amendment on general laws and regulations applicable to religious organizations. 


Honors & Recognitions

Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation and Bankruptcy Litigation (2003-2024); Greensboro "Lawyer of the Year" for Litigation - Bankruptcy (2016, 2020, 2024),for Bet-the-Company Litigation (2018, 2020, 2024) and for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2021)

Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) in Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights (2006-2014), Bankruptcy: Business (2015-2024), and Top 100 (2009)

Recognized in Super Lawyers Business Edition in Bankruptcy: Business (2015)

Recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Bankruptcy/Restructuring Law (2009-2023)

Recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" in Bankruptcy Law (2005-2015, 2017-2018, 2022-2023)


Yale University, J.D., 1979; Editor, Yale Law Journal

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., 1976, Phi Beta Kappa


Certified by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in Bankruptcy Law-Consumer and Bankruptcy Law-Business, 1988 to 2023


North Carolina

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of North Carolina



Speaking Engagements


Professional & Civic

Professional & Civic Activities

Vice-Chair (2018-2019), Member (1986-89, 2015-present), Bankruptcy Section Council, North Carolina Bar Association

Chair (2008--2009) and Member (2004-2009), Bankruptcy Law Specialty Committee of the Board of Legal Specialization, North Carolina State Bar

Member, Bankruptcy and Business Sections, North Carolina State Bar

Member, American Bankruptcy Institute

Member, Turnaround Management Association, Carolinas Chapter

Member, Board of Directors, (2001-04), Chairman of the Board (2002), Fruitland Baptist Bible College

Executive Committee Member (1997-98), General Board Member (1995-98), Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Chairman (1997-98) and Member (1995-98, 2000-03), Business Services Committee, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Chairman (1998) and Member (1997-98, 2002-03, 2005), Constitution Committee, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Parliamentarian, Alaska Baptist Convention Annual Meeting (2001, 2002); Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Annual Meeting (2020); Special Meeting (2021)

  • 37
    37 years of confirming Chapter 11 plans of reorganization for debtors
  • 4
    4 gold mining exploration sites acquired by foreign investors involving entities in three states and six different countries in 2020 transaction
  • 9
    9 grandchildren
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