How I Can Help

Catastrophic Personal Injury
Class Action Litigation

ERISA and Long-Term Disability


Woody Connette has practiced law for almost 45 years. He has tried cases and appeals in federal and state courts, representing clients who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries, loss of family members by wrongful death, long-term disability benefit claims, and a wide variety of other litigation matters. He also has participated in class action litigation for more than 40 years, including consumer, employment, shareholder, and civil rights claims.

Woody is familiar with ERISA and other federal and state laws and regulations in the retirement, disability and health care areas. He has a long history of mental health and disability advocacy, ranging from individual incompetency and guardianship matters to large disability rights class actions.

While Woody is a litigator, the breadth of his experience makes him an adept counselor, assisting clients in developing strategies to attain objectives without litigation.

Through the years, he has been a frequent speaker and teacher at various continuing education programs. He has taught trial practice skills for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He has spoken on a wide range of topics for bar and community groups, including national ERISA conferences, the North Carolina and South Carolina Bar Associations, American Advocates for Justice, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and other groups. His publications include articles on trial skills such as depositions for the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section, health care advocacy for the North Carolina Medical Journal and the American Bar Association, and professionalism for the North Carolina State Bar.

Woody’s bar activities include an appointment to the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, service on the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Bar Association, and current service on the Board of Directors and as chair of the Development Committee for the North Carolina Bar Foundation. The North Carolina State Bar has honored Woody with its John B. McMillan Service Award. The North Carolina Bar Association has given its H. Brent McKnight Professionalism Award, and the Mecklenburg County Bar has given its Ayscue professionalism Award to Woody. He has been recognized as one of the North Carolina Legal Elite, the Best Lawyers in America, North Carolina Super Lawyers, and other listings.

Among his volunteer and community activities, Woody currently serves on the Board of Directors for Disability Rights North Carolina. In the past, he has served on the national Board of Trustees and as President for United Cerebral Palsy, based in Washington, D.C. He also has served as President of Easter Seals/UCP of North Carolina, as Executive Board Chair for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and as Chair of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbytery of Charlotte. He has served on the boards of the Charlotte Light Factory, the Mecklenburg Medical Society’s Bioethics Resource Group, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Carolina Legal Assistance, The Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, and other nonprofit organizations.

Locally, he has served as an advisor with the Davidson College Medical Humanities program, and with the UNC Charlotte Center for Community and Applied Ethics.

Woody enjoys art, music, and outdoor activities.  He has climbed the highest point in all 50 states, including Denali and Mount Rainier. Among those 50 peaks, he successfully reached the highest point in Delaware (442 feet) without Sherpas or supplemental oxygen. Twenty pounds ago, in 1991, he completed the Ironman World Triathalon in Hawaii. He has completed more than twenty marathons and the 60-kilometer Kepler Challenge in New Zealand.

Woody is married to Jane Harper, a retired state court judge.

    Why I Love Being a Lawyer...

     Here at Essex Richards, we don't have cases. We have clients. I enjoy my work because I get to know my clients and develop strong, professional relationships with them. We work hard to do right by our clients, and to do it in an ethical and professional manner.

      What Woody's Clients Say......

      I have known and worked on and off with Woody Connette for the past 12 years or more! I first became familiar with him while working together on a guardianship case for an elderly couple; in my capacity as a long term care social worker at one of Charlotte's premier retirement communities. Since then I have referred many clients who are from the upper echelon of Charlotte and they have all been very pleased with his professionalism and overall calm demeanor and knowledge! He is very detailed and efficient and I have recommended him to friends as well! You will be so pleased with his services and he will likely become a lifelong friend as well!read more
      Tracey Bittel
      15:44 24 Jan 18
      Woody Connette is undoubtedly the attorney anyone should contact for legal representation, as his dedication is not just to his client’s case but, more importantly, to his client’s well-being. Communications with his clients are of utmost importance to Woody – he is always available to discuss concerns or provide reassurance, and carefully guides his clients through the entire legal process. Regardless of whether a matter is fairly simple or extremely complex, Woody devotes hours to researching and building each case, and doggedly pursues the best possible outcome for his clients in settlement negotiations, mediation and trial. The extensive awards and high ratings which Woody Connette has received continually over the years reflect that he is highly regarded for his skill, expertise, integrity, intelligence and compassion – all traits which make him an exceptional and extraordinary attorney, and one that any client will proudly claim as his/her more
      Franiece Thresher
      07:58 25 Jan 18
      Without hesitation, I can recommend Edward Connette, known as Woody to his friends, as a helpful, trusted legal advisor. My husband and I have depended on him for our wills, medical powers of attorney, etc., and he patiently walked us through each decision point so we were comfortable with our choices. He's readily available and responsive and thoughtful and knowledgeable. He has all the qualities you'd hope for in a legal more
      Susan Patterson
      14:38 26 Jan 18
      Edward connette is a very honorable and honest attorney! He helped my family after the sudden loss of my husband and he advised us on how to handle our Affairs in the most economic way to help us. He has also continued to help advise us in any of our affairs that have happened in the time we have known him. I would highly recommend him to anyone!read more
      Kris Virgint
      02:35 25 Jan 18
      I was first referred to Edward Connette by my brother in 2013. I was having issues with my insurance disability and required the help of a attorney in this area of expertise. Mr Connette was the most knowledgeable, effective, and caring lawyer i have met in years. With his help my disability payments were resumed. I have used Mr Connette each year since that first meeting to review disability insurance information sent to me. I would highly recommend Mr Connette and his more
      graham hopper
      19:35 24 Jan 18
      Woody made a difficult situation, both in complexity and emotional weight, clear and manageable and feel very safe for my family. His combination of refined expertise and authentic empathy and connection make him one-of-a-kind and a true gift to this profession and to those that work with him. I highly recommend Woody and his more
      nina miller
      14:29 19 Feb 18
      My family and I worked with Woody Connette for a very critical legal matter. His experience, candor and personality made my family and I confident we had chosen the correct attorney. Woody's ability to understand, articulate and convey the law helped my family make the correct decisions that ultimately led to the best outcome for more
      Zachary Miller
      18:01 19 Feb 18
      Woody Connette was professional, attentive and caring in all contacts with our family. He is simply the best of the best and a treasure for the Charlotte community.
      Sue Bishop
      18:19 05 Mar 20
      Whenever various problems have necessitated legal expertise, we've had nothing but unqualified success in solving them by working with Essex Richards and Woody Connette. In our case, we've called on them for help with issues involving property rights, employment law, disputes about the real-estate tax valuation on our home, and all manner of guidance , including, most recently, how to wade through the complexity that occurs when a close relative dies without a will. Woody is smart, intuitive, sensitive, and you'll come to think of him not just as a vital resource in your life but as a more
      frank barrows
      16:44 18 Feb 18