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David Hillman serves as the head of the real estate group and a member of the firm’s management committee. He  concentrates his practice on commercial real estate and development. He works with developers, investors and lenders in a wide variety of commercial real estate matters. He also devotes a substantial portion of his practice to commercial leasing for landlords and tenants.

David has been with Ellis & Winters since 2012. Prior to that, he worked for several years in the Raleigh office of a regional law firm. With an academic background in both math and English, he was drawn to the practice of law by his desire to help make things happen in the “real world.” He is capable of attention to detail and precision, while also effectively communicating with stakeholders. Through his work, he is deeply satisfied with the opportunity to resolve complex, real-world problems.

David prides himself on his professionalism, integrity, dependability, and pragmatism. These traits are critical to effective representation in commercial real estate deals and development projects. Practical, well-reasoned solutions from a trusted advisor are essential for significant, high-stakes transactions. 

David embraces client-oriented advocacy and respects the client’s concerns, needs, and risk tolerances. He invests in the client relationship, listening closely, identifying drawbacks, and helping the client evaluate and navigate legal risks. He aims to understand the client’s business and personal preferences so that he can guide them in accordance with their true objectives. Earning the appreciation of clients is what drives David to perform and is the most enjoyable aspect of his work.

David is an active member of NAIOP and ULI. He served on the Board of Directors for NAIOP’s Developing Leaders from 2010 through 2018 and is a graduate of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Raleigh program. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Mathematics and English, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he was admitted into Omicron Delta Kappa.

David is happily married with three young children. Though life can get hectic, David and his wife enjoy spending family time with their children whenever there is a free moment.

David played soccer through the club level in college and he still loves the sport, as well as F1 racing. He is also a self-proclaimed avid reader who can be found on the coast with a book in hand.



  • J.D., Washington and Lee University School of Law, 2008
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Omicron Delta Kappa
    • Chair, Moot Court Board
    • Ted Dalton American Inn of Court
    • Hampton and Sallie Price Academic Scholarship
  • B.A., Mathematics and English, University of North Carolina, 2004
    • Honors: Phi Beta Kappa; Pi Mu Epsilon (National Mathematics Honors Fraternity); Carolina Scholar Whittaker Scholarship

Court Admissions

  • State Bar
    • North Carolina

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Leadership Raleigh, 2012-2013
  • NAIOP Raleigh Durham
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Urban Land Institute
  • Wake County Bar Association


  • Advising developers and investors on the acquisition and development of land for residential, commercial and industrial developments. 
  • Advising developers and investors on the acquisition of income-producing properties, including multi-family projects and office buildings.
  • Advising sellers on the disposition of various real estate assets, including raw land, developed lots and income-producing properties.
  • Reviewing, negotiating and drafting commercial ground leases and space leases for office, flex, warehouse, industrial and retail uses on behalf of landlords and tenants.
  • Advising lenders and borrowers on the negotiation, documentation and closing of commercial loans, including acquisition and development loans, construction loans, permanent financing, lines of credit and other debt finance.
  • Negotiating, restructuring and resolving distressed real estate debt for commercial, industrial, retail, office, condominium, residential, raw land, and golf course projects.
  • Advising lenders and borrowers regarding commercial real estate workouts, including foreclosures, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, note sales and re-sales of lender-owned assets.


  • Basics of Real Estate Development; North Carolina Bar Association 2017 Real Property Practical Skills Course CLE, October 5, 2017.


  • Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2020 – 2024
  • Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Young Guns (2013), Real Estate, 2013, 2015-2024
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, Rising Star, Real Estate, 2016-2024