Mr. Adam H. Charnes
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
2001 Ross Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201

Phone    (214) 922-7106
Fax         (336) 434-2602

Type of Case: Civil
Admitted to practice:
Supreme Court
1st Circuit, 2nd Circuit, 3rd Circuit, 4th Circuit, 5th Circuit, 6th Circuit, 7th Circuit, 8th Circuit, 9th Circuit, 10th Circuit, 11th Circuit, D.C., Federal

Adam Charnes focuses his practice on appellate, constitutional and complex business litigation. Mr. Charnes has extensive experience in cases pending in federal and state courts of appeals across the nation, including the United States Supreme Court. He also has been responsible for a broad range of business litigation matters, including contract, business torts, environmental, copyright and other commercial litigation. He regularly represents clients in constitutional litigation. Mr. Charnes is a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Following law school, Mr. Charnes served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Prior to joining the firm, he was an associate at a Washington, D.C. law firm and then was an executive-level in-house litigator for a Fortune 500 company. From 2002 to 2003, Mr. Charnes served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy at the United States Department of Justice. At the Office of Legal Policy, he was responsible for various legal policy matters, including counter-terrorism policy and civil justice reform, and for assisting with the selection and confirmation of federal judges.

Mr. Charnes was awarded the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in July 2003. While at Harvard Law School, he was the recipient of the Sears Prize, awarded to the three students with the top academic performance during their first year of law school. Mr. Charnes was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Appellate Law, Commercial Litigation, and First Amendment Litigation in 2023 and the 15 years immediately preceding. He was also named a 2022 "Triad Lawyer of the Year" in the area of First Amendment Litigation and a 2021 “Triad Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Appellate Law by The Best Lawyers in America®. Mr. Charnes has been listed in the 2016 and the nine immediately preceding editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of General Commercial Litigation. He has been named a North Carolina "Super Lawyer" in 2022 and the ten immediately precedent years in the area of Appellate Law, and one of the top 100 lawyers in North Carolina, by Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. Charnes was also recognized as a Texas "Super Lawyer" in 2020, 2021 and 2022 for Appellate Law by Super Lawyers magazine. He was named a "Litigation Star" among North Carolina attorneys and a “Fourth Circuit Litigation Star” in the 2013 edition of Benchmark Litigation. Mr. Charnes was also named a "Litigation Star" for North Carolina in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by Benchmark Litigation. He was named a “Legal Elite” in 2022 by Business North Carolina magazine for Appellate Law. Mr. Charnes is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.


  • A.B. Princeton University, summa cum laude, 1988
  • J.D. Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, 1991


  • False Patent Marking’ Qui Tam Lawsuits are Constitutionally Suspect, Washington Legal Foundation, Legal Backgrounder (Dec. 17, 2010), available at
  • Will Gray Market Become Less of a Gray Area for Foreign Manufacturers?, Supreme Court Insider, Sept. 29, 2010
  • Commentary: On the business docket, important technical cases, but Bilski is a bust, National Law Journal, July 2010
  • Battling Over First Amendment, National Law Journal, Oct. 2008
  • Supreme Court Review: Mostly Pro-Corporation, National Law Journal, Aug. 2008
  • Last Term's High Court Rulings Mostly Pro-Corporation, National Law Journal, Aug. 2008
  • 10 Tips for the North Carolina Appellate Advocate, N.C. State Bar Journal, April 2008
  • Supreme Court Changes Notices Pleading Rules, The Litigator, Nov. 2007
  • Friendly to Corporations, National Law Journal, Aug. 2007
  • Supreme Court Review: Business Cases: Little New Ground Broken, National Law Journal, Aug. 2006
  • Roberts Has Skills, Business Savvy Needed on High Court, Triad Business Journal, Aug. 2005
  • Controversy Over Kelo, National Law Journal, Aug. 2005
  • 4th Circuit - Court Rules on Dormant Commerce Clause and Hot-Button Social Issues, National Law Journal, Aug. 2005
  • 4th Circuit Review: Deciding Establishment Clause, National Law Journal, Feb. 2004
  • The Embryonic Self-Evaluative Privilege: A Primer for Health Care Lawyers, 5 Annals Health L. 33 (1996)
  • The Buck Stops Here: Preemption of Third-Party Claims by the False Claims Act, 12 J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol'y 41 (1995)
  • The Right to Refuse Medical Treatment, 103 Harv. L. Rev. 1519, 1643-76, (1990).

Representative Cases:

  • IMT, Inc. v. City of Lumberton, 738 S.E.2d 156 (N.C. 2013) (obtained a Supreme Court ruling invalidating a city’s privilege license fees under the North Carolina Constitution’s Just and Equitable Tax Clause)
  • Eureka Water Co. v. Nestlé Waters North America, 690 F.3d 1139 (10th Cir. 2012) (overturned an adverse $14 million jury verdict involving claims of breach of contract and tortious interference with contract)
  • Cobell v. Salazar, 679 F.3d 909 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (defended a landmark $3.4 billion class settlement with the United States government in an appeal in the D.C. Circuit brought by class objectors)
  • Stark v. Ford Motor Co., 723 S.E.2d 753 (N.C. 2012) (obtained reversal of adverse Court of Appeals decision on product modification principles in tort law)
  • Duval Wiedmann, L.L.C. v., Inc., 620 F.3d 496 (5th Cir. 2010) (defended summary judgment in patent and contract case).

Honors and Awards:

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2007-13 (Appellate Law, Commercial Litigation)
  • Chambers USA, 2006-14 (Commercial Litigation)
  • North Carolina SuperLawyer (Appellate Law) and Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina, 2012-14
  • Benchmark Litigation, 2013-14, North Carolina Litigation Star and Fourth Circuit Litigation Star
  • Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award (July 2003)
  • Executive Editor, Harvard Law Review (1990-91)
  • Sears Prize, Harvard Law School, 1989.

Nature of Firm's Practice:

  • Litigation, intellectual property and corporate and real estate.

Other Information:

  • Law Clerk to Hon. Anthony M. Kennedy, Supreme Court of the United States (1992-93)
  • Law Clerk to Hon. J. Harvie Wilkinson III, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1991-92)
  • Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, United States Department of Justice (2002-03).