John Cross is a corporate attorney and business adviser, often serving as the outside general counsel for companies not large enough to have an in-house legal department. He assists clients in general business and transactional matters, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, securities, franchises, and real estate.
John works with individuals and businesses on various corporate and transactional matters, including formation, organization and choice of entities, shareholder agreements, LLC agreements, non-competes, employment agreements, investor rights agreements, securities, loan and finance matters, secured transactions, compliance policies, sales, service and general contract matters. He also negotiates real estate acquisitions, finance and lease transactions.
John represents businesses in mergers and acquisitions and corporate reorganization efforts. He also assists private equity investors with their investments to existing and startup companies.
John represents entrepreneurs and early stage companies, as well as investors in such enterprises, in connection with entity formation, shareholder and voting rights agreements, private securities matters, private investments, and other general business and investment matters.
John represents both franchisors and franchisees in negotiating the terms of the franchise relationship and franchise compliance matters. He has assisted franchisors with developing franchise disclosure documents (FDDs), franchise agreements, regional developer agreements, non-competition agreements, and other additional required agreements. When working with franchisees, he assists in reviewing and providing advice regarding the FDDs and other franchise documents and assisting franchisees as they negotiate agreements and address other general corporate matters.
Honors & Recognitions
Received Denise E. Maleska Leadership Service Award by Leadership Greensboro (2021)
Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Corporate Law (2012-2023) (Greensboro "Lawyer of the Year" 2022), Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) (Greensboro "Lawyer of the Year" 2017, 2019, 2023), Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2018-2022), and Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law (2016-2022)
Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions (2018)
Recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina’s "Legal Elite" in Business Law (2015-2022); also permanently recognized in the "Legal Elite Hall of Fame" for Corporate Law
Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) in Business/Corporate Law (2014-2019), and as a "Rising Star" in Business/Corporate Law (2009-2010)
Recognized in Super Lawyers Business Edition for Business/Corporate Law (2015)
Received ABA Young Lawyer Division Award for Achievement & Outstanding Activities and Accomplishment (1999-2000)
University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1995, with honors
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.S., 1992
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
- RecognitionThirty Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2022 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina, 01.03.2022
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.19.2021
- RecognitionTwenty-Six Brooks Pierce Attorneys Named to Business North Carolina’s 2021 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina Legal Elite, 01.03.2021
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.20.2020
- RecognitionTwenty-One Brooks Pierce Attorneys Named to Business North Carolina’s 2020 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina Legal Elite, 01.02.2020
- Press Release11.13.2019
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2019
- RecognitionTwenty-Five Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2019 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina, 01.02.2019
- Media MentionTriad Business Journal, 11.07.2018
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2018
- RecognitionChambers USA, 05.03.2018
- RecognitionTwenty-five Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2018 “Legal Elite” and "Hall of Fame"Business North Carolina, 01.02.2018
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2017
- RecognitionNorth Carolina Super Lawyers, 01.20.2017
- RecognitionNineteen Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina, 01.03.2017
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2016
- RecognitionNineteen Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2016 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”01.07.2016
- RecognitionSuper Lawyers Business Edition, 11.05.2015
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.17.2015
- RecognitionNorth Carolina Super Lawyers, 01.20.2015
- RecognitionTwenty-one Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" and "Hall of Fame"Business North Carolina, 01.04.2015
Professional & Civic
Professional & Civic Activities
Cone Health Foundation, Board of Trustees (2013-present), Chair (2019-present), Vice-Chair (2017-2019), Executive Committee (2015-present), Governance Committee Chair (2015-2017)
The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad, Inc. (NCCJ), Board of Directors (2013-2019), Chairman (2015-2016), Advocacy and Communications Chair (2016-2019)
United Way of Greater Greensboro, Chairman (2010-2011), Board of Directors (2005-2013), Executive Search Committee Chair (2013), Re-Design Committee Chair (2006)
Greensboro Children's Museum, Board Chair (2007-2009), Board of Trustees (2004-2013), and Edible Schoolyard Committee Chair (2011-2013)
Board of Adjustments, City of Greensboro, Chair (2008-2009), Board Member (2003-2009)
Victory Junction Gang Camp, an affiliate of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for seriously ill children, Board of Directors (1996-2006)
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Elder (2018-2021) and Personnel Committee (2018-present)
Leadership Greensboro, Greensboro Area Chamber of Commerce, 2002 Graduate
United Way of Greater Greensboro, Corporate Campaign Coordinator, Coordinator of the Year Nominee, Leading the Way and Silver Awards (2002)
Young Lawyers Section, Greensboro Bar Association, Past President (1999-2000), Board Member (1997-2001)
At home, we like to play games. These games range from basketball in the back yard, to any sort of board or party game. When we have families over for social events, they come expecting to play a game. It’s a lot of fun, and it brings some healthy competition and a lot of laughs.
I’ve enjoyed playing games my whole life, and for people like me who have traditionally enjoyed activities where there is a winner (and inevitably, a loser), becoming a lawyer might seem like a natural fit. We have all watched television and movies where lawyers are constantly winning or losing in their efforts to represent their clients.
That’s not why I practice law. Early in my legal career, I wasn’t driven to be part of a process designed to have a loser. I enjoy counseling clients and being part of the process that helps them achieve their goals in the best possible manner for them. As someone who is focused on transactions of all types and sizes, this rarely presents a win/lose scenario; rather, I get to work with a range of clients to help them succeed at whatever their current business status is and take them to the next level.
At any given time, I may be helping a start-up choose their type of entity, secure initial equity financing and comply with all applicable corporate and securities laws. I often serve as the legal advisor to CEOs and CFOs of mid-size companies not quite large enough to engage their own full time, in-house general counsel. I also work with larger companies to assist them with organizational efforts, merger and acquisition transactions, Hart-Scott-Rodino filings, large sales contracts or other agreements arising in their ordinary business practices, or any other corporate matters on which they need assistance. With any client, I may be helping them acquire real property or negotiate a complex commercial lease, negotiate commercial lending transactions, comply with franchise rules and regulations, reorganize their corporate or management structure, or comply with securities laws.
My career has not required me to narrowly focus to any one particular legal issue or practice. I have been afforded the opportunity to counsel businesses on a wide range of legal business needs, which allows me to be a more complete legal counselor. My experiences and developed skills have allowed me to contribute and be a part of my community. I truly enjoy assisting in the successes of the people with whom I work and the community in which I live. I view it as a win-win.