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J. Heydt Philbeck

Of Counsel

Heydt Philbeck concentrates his practice on complex civil litigation in the areas of commercial litigation, employment law, contract disputes, unfair business practices, state and federal personnel law, constitutional law, civil rights and occupational licensing. Heydt’s primary practice area focuses on the representation of employees and individuals who have been harmed by the actual or prospective illegal actions of others. He has represented individuals from all walks of life, including professors, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, law enforcement officers, state employees, federal employees, unemployed, and homeowners and small-business owners, among others. In 2023, Heydt was elected as a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Labor and Employment lawyers. Individuals are elected based on their demonstrated character, integrity, professional experience and acumen throughout their career. All Fellows of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers have practiced labor and employment law for at least 20 years.

Heydt is an experienced trial advocate who has tried over 100 jury and bench trials to verdict. He has successfully represented clients before the North Carolina Supreme Court, the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Additionally, he has appeared for clients in the United States District Court for all three federal districts in North Carolina.

Heydt’s legal abilities and ethics have been recognized by his peers who voted him “Best Lawyers in America” (Woodard/White) for both practice areas of Commercial Litigation (2010-Current) and Employment Litigation (2012-Current). Based on peer ratings, Law & Politics has listed Heydt as a “Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina” for three different years (2009, 2014, and 2015). Business North Carolina magazine has listed Heydt as among North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” for multiple years (2007-Current) and Law & Politics has listed him as a “North Carolina Super Lawyer” for multiple years (2006-Current) based on peer ratings. In 2005, the Triangle Business Journal named him as a Top “40 under 40” Leadership Award recipient. In 2013, the Lawyer’s Weekly publication awarded Heydt its “Leaders in the Law” award to recognize the overall contributions and impact he has made to North Carolina jurisprudence and to the community.

Heydt regularly volunteers services pro bono for such programs as Project Together, which provides representation for victims of domestic abuse. He also mentors youth by serving as a judge for the Capital Area Teen Court program and as a judge for the Richard A. Lord Moot Court Competition at Campbell Law School. Heydt has been a long time fellow at Leadership North Carolina, Leadership Triangle, and at the North Carolina Institute for Political Leadership.


  • Elon University, B.S., Magna Cum Laude; President of Student Government (1987-1988); Externship: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Summer, 1987), 1989
  • Georgetown University, Certificate, Engalitcheff Institute of Comparative Political and Economic Systems, 1987
  • Valparaiso University, School of Law, J.D.; Externship: Hon. Sidney S. Eagles, Jr., North Carolina Court of Appeals (Summer, 1990), 1992

Jurisdictions Licensed

  • All North Carolina State Trial and Appellate Courts
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of International Trade
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Supreme Court

Reported Cases

  • Newberne v. Dept. of Crime Control & Public Safety, et al 192 N.C. App. 703, 666 S.E. 2d 195 (2008) (In a case of first impressions, N.C. Court of Appeals held that plaintiff’s settlement of an administrative claim did not prejudice his ability to bring a Whistleblower claim in Superior Court even though the claim arose from the same termination).
  • Caldwell v. Johnson, Administrator, EPA 289 Fed. Appx. 579 (4th Cir. 2008) (Unpublished) (first U.S. Court of Appeals case in nation to hold that Title VII retaliation standard announced in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Burlington Northern v. White applied to federal employees).
  • Trayford v. North Carolina Psychology Board 619 S.E. 2d 862 (2005); aff’d, 360 S.E. 2d 462 (2006) (Court affirmed petitioner’s interpretation of statute over that of regulatory board, which interpretation is generally given substantial deference).
  • Newberne v. Dept. of Crime Control & Public Safety, et al 359 N.C. 782, 618 S.E. 2d 201 (2005) (landmark North Carolina Supreme Court case for claims under the state Whistleblower Act).

Professional Affiliations

  • North Carolina State Bar
  • Tenth Judicial District Bar (elected, Board of Directors, 2008-2010 term)

Contact Info

434 Fayetteville Street, Suite 2500
Raleigh, NC 27601

P: (919) 828-0731
F: (919) 828-6592
Email Heydt

Practice Areas

The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers
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