About the Firm

Our Firm, Our People

About the Firm

Firm Overview

Firm Overview

The law firm was originally founded in 1970 by Marland C. Reid (deceased), Robert W. Pope (deceased) and Richard M. Lewis. The firm merged with the Nance law firm in late 1989 and has been in continuous operation since that time. Each of the principal partners and the firm are Rated AV by Martindale Hubbell the preeminent national legal guide for the legal profession.

Attorney Profiles

Richard M. Lewis, Jr. (Senior Partner)

RICHARD M. (DICK) LEWIS, JR., was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on January 15, 1935. After completing high school at the Whiteville City Schools, he attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated in 1957. He then entered Naval OCS at Newport, Rhode Island. After three years in the Navy, he was honorably discharged in September 1960 as a Lt (jg), and immediately entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon completing law school and the bar exam in 1963, he came to Fayetteville and has practiced law there ever since.

In 1962, he married Linda Hardy and they have four sons, one of whom already is a well-recognized lawyer in Raleigh, E. Hardy Lewis.

Although Dick has primarily concentrated his practice in the area of real estate law, he has been an assistant District Attorney, civil trial practitioner, and counsel to the Public Works Commission of the City of Fayetteville for more than 40 years. Additionally, during the illness of the Fayetteville City Attorney, he pinch hit in that capacity for a year. He has served as counsel to the Fayetteville Redevelopment Commission, the Cumberland Redevelopment Commission and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation. Aside from his legal contributions, he has given to his community generously. In 2001, the Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America presented Dick with the Distinguished Citizen Award. He has served as President of the Fayetteville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville (Distinguished President’s Award; E.J. Wells Cup for “Outstanding Civic Contributions”), Twelfth Judicial District Bar, Cumberland County Bar Association, Cumberland County United Way (Campaign Chairman & President), Methodist College Loyalty Campaign, Cumberland County Heart Fund, Fayetteville Civic Music Association, and Parrish Counsel, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He recently retired as a director of the Wachovia Bank local board. Dick is a member of the American Bar Association. He continues to serve as the attorney for the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation.

On a state level, he has served on the UNC Law School Alumni Board, Real Estate Counsel of the North Carolina Bar Association, and the North Carolina Conference of Bar Presidents. Dick was inducted into the North Carolina Bar Association Hall of Fame in 2011 and was the recipient of the North Carolina State Bar John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award in 2015. He has also been a speaker at a number of professional seminars and was certified as an instructor by the North Carolina Board of Realtors.

Dick has coordinated the Legal Aid Access to Justice campaign for the Cumberland County Bar Association, and has perennially volunteered for the nationally recognized Cumberland County Law Day service project where his skills as a carpenter have materially contributed to the repair of low income senior citizen homes. He always looks forward to the project, and arrives early and stays late.

Dick is the personification of what every ethical, competent, and highly professional lawyer should aspire to be. But above all else, he is a gentleman, always considering the feelings and circumstances of others. He is sensitive and kind to everyone, regardless of their position or station in life.

He is of impeccable character, highly respected, and preeminently recognized by his peers and the bar in general. It is not uncommon at all for members of the Bar to call on Dick for direction in ethical matters, professionalism, and general guidance in life. Dick is as good a lawyer and fine a man as you will ever meet, and is well deserving of induction to the General Practice Hall of Fame, although he is far too humble to ever believe that he is deserving of the honor.

Renny W. Deese (Managing Partner)

Renny W. Deese has been licensed to practice law in North Carolina since 1971. Mr. Deese is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina in 1968, and Wake Forest University School of Law in 1971. After graduation, Mr. Deese served in the Judge Advocate Generals Corps until 1974 when he joined his present law firm as an associate. Mr. Deese is now the managing partner in the law firm of Lewis, Deese Nance & Briggs, L.L.P.

Mr. Deese practices primarily in family law, and is a North Carolina State Bar board certified specialist in family law, and a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He has served as the Chairman of the North Carolina State Bar family law specialization committee, (1990-2001) and as a council member and treasurer of the Family Law Section Council of the North Carolina Bar Association and on its Board of Governors from 2013 to 2016.

He served as Councilor to the North Carolina State Bar for the Twelfth Judicial District Bar from 2001-2010, and was the chair of the Ethics Committee of the State Bar. He also served on the Board of Paralegal Certification from its inception (2002) to 2012, and as chair of the Board for nine years. Mr. Deese also served on the Disciplinary Hearing Commission of the State Bar from 2011 to 2015, and Chaired the Ethics Commission of the City of Fayetteville from 2010 to 2016.

Mr. Deese has been a speaker at numerous continuing legal education seminars sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Foundation and Wake Forest University School of Law and the American Bar Association. He has written and presented manuscripts on various family law topics, including alimony and equitable distribution. Mr. Deese appears in the District and Superior Courts throughout southeastern North Carolina, and regularly practices before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Mr. Deese is certified as an arbitrator by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and as a family financial mediator by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission.
In 2012, Mr. Deese was presented the Centennial Award by the North Carolina and Cumberland County Bar Associations.

Mr. Deese authored “The Exempt Status of Cash Surrender – Value of Life Insurance in N.C.,” 7 Wake Forest Law Review 515, 1971.

James R. Nance, Jr. (Partner)

Born in Lumberton, North Carolina, May 26, 1940; admitted to bar, 1965, North Carolina.

Education:

  • Wake Forest University (B.A., 1962; J.D., 1965)
  • Phi Delta Phi. Member: Cumberland County (President, 1997-1998), North Carolina and American Bar Associations
  • 12th Judicial District (President, 1984-1985, 1997-1998)
  • North Carolina State Bar; North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers

Practice Areas: Civil Litigation; Personal Injury; Defense Litigation; Employment Law; Professional Liability; Civil Rights; Eminent Domain; Construction Law; Workers Compensation

John G. Briggs, III (Partner)

Born in Memphis, Tennessee 1972. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Education:

  • Graduated from Christ School in Arden in 1991
  • Bachelor of Arts 1996, University of Tennessee, cum laude
  • Juris Doctorate 2000, North Carolina Central University School of Law, cum laude
  • Member of the North Carolina Central University Law School Law Review
  • Assistant District Attorney in Cumberland County 2005 to 2007

Practice Areas: Real Estate Matters and Transactions