W. Louis Bissette, Jr.

Lou practices law in the areas of economic development, land use and zoning, serving the needs of clients ranging from private individuals to large businesses and institutions. Lou tackles corporate law issues, representing foreign and domestic companies establishing or expanding operations in the Western North Carolina region, providing legal counsel with respect to corporate structure, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic plans, utilizing his network of commercial relationships and offering his political acumen. Lou assists our clients in navigating the waters through all aspects of their projects, and regularly appears before various city, county and municipal administrative boards and commissions on our clients’ behalf. His client list includes some of the region’s biggest players, including the Asheville Retail Associates, LLC (Biltmore Square Mall outlet mall redevelopment), Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Duke/Progress Energy, Target Corporation, Home Depot, Triangle Real Estate of Gastonia Inc., Flournoy Development Company, The Carroll Companies, Givens Estates, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, Inc., FIRC Group Inc. and Life Care Centers of America.


  • Provided state and local governmental interface and representation to Boston based New England Development and Carabine & Associates on the Asheville Outlets (Biltmore Square Mall redevelopment) on all project phases of planning, zoning and permitting issues including water, sewer and electric utilities, signage, lighting, variances, easements and rights of way, and construction.
  • Secured unanimous City Council approval for building a new “Cambria Suites” 141-room hotel in downtown Asheville and prevailed on the appeal from an adjacent property owner who disputed “open spaces” requirements.
  • Obtained a conditional use permit to build a 312-unit apartment complex on Long Shoals Road, overcoming pressures to require the client to set rental rates, while avoiding “voluntary” annexation
  • Facilitated the sale of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital in Erwin, TN, to Mountain States Health Alliance, including the construction of a new hospital opening in the spring of 2018
  • Provided legal and political advice for the Grove Park Inn and obtained approval from The City of Asheville for its 10-year, $200M master development plan
  • Served as general counsel for St. Joseph’s Hospital through the $100M merger with Mission Health in all phases, including valuation, due diligence, negotiations, antitrust, document preparation and transitional governance


Wake Forest University, (BA, History, 1965)
University of North Carolina School of Law (JD, 1968)
University of Virginia Graduate School of Business Administration (MBA, 1970)


North Carolina (1968)
U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (1976)
United States Tax Court (1988)


Lou’s community service includes this impressive list:

  • Governor’s Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina
  • Park National Bank, Vice Chairman of the Carolinas Division Board
  • University of North Carolina Board of Governors – 2011 – 2022 (Chairman 2015 – 2018)
  • WCI, Inc., Chairman
  • MAHEC, Member Board of Directors
  • Community Betterment Foundation, Board Member
  • University of North Carolina Asheville Board of Trustees
  • University of North Carolina System Board Member Emeritus
  • City of Asheville Mayor, 1985-1989


NC Lawyers Weekly Icons & Phenoms Class of 2023

Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Administrative/Regulatory Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law and Land Use & Zoning Law (2008 – 2024), Economic Development Law (2024)

Super Lawyers®, Top Rated Business & Corporate Attorney in Asheville, NC (2016 – 2024)

Dr. I. Beverly Lake Public Service Award, Citizen Lawyer Award

Induction into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (2016)

Centennial Award, from the North Carolina Bar Association

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Public Service Award

Best Lawyers® in America “Lawyer of the Year 2020″ for Corporate Law in Asheville

Wake Forest University Distinguished Alumni Award

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