Although Jon Sasser grew up on a Union County farm, he cut his teeth litigating cases for a prestigious Park Avenue law firm. Jon primarily represents businesses involved in complex corporate disputes. His clients include Fortune 500 companies spanning a wide range of industries, including chemistry, petroleum, banking, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, securities, and media. Jon has also taken the reins of cases involving individuals and charitable organizations facing unique legal challenges. He has represented an NFL head coach, death row inmates, high school journalists, public officials, hip-hop musicians, the ACLU, PETA, and the Police Benevolent Association, among others.
Over the course of his long career in North Carolina, Jon has developed a reputation as a tenacious advocate. In 2015, he was honored as North Carolina’s foremost business litigator by Business North Carolina magazine and was selected as Raleigh “Lawyer of the Year” for bet-the-company litigation (2016), securities litigation (2012), and intellectual property litigation (2019). He has also been voted by his peers as one of Super Lawyers’ top ten attorneys in North Carolina seven times.
Jon takes on the most interesting, challenging, and sometimes bizarre cases. He believes that everyone is entitled to their day in court and to the services of a lawyer who will fight relentlessly on their behalf. Given his unique and occasionally sensational cases, Jon’s cases have often been covered by the media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, The ABA Journal, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, and other media outlets.
Jon’s balanced personality is well-suited for handling disputes that affect clients with a diverse range of interests, and his deep commitment to clients ensures that their interests are represented at every stage of the litigation process. Whether Jon is running, biking, or swimming, he’s likely ruminating on what can be done to further a client’s interests and secure a favorable result.
Jon is an endurance athlete whose competitive nature drives him every day. He has summited the Grand Teton, Mt. Whitney, and Mt. Baker, and completed Ironman Florida, Ironman Arizona, and the Boston Marathon. An eight-time member of Team USA, he has in age group competitions won state championships in track and swimming, placed nationally third (backstroke), and fifth (aquathlon), and finished 17th in the World Triathlon Championships (aquathlon). With a college basketball-playing son forty years his junior, Jon may be driven by a need to prove that he can keep up.
- J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 1981
- Honors: with Honors, John M. Morehead Fellow in Law
- Law Review: North Carolina Law Review, 1980—1981
- B.A., University of North Carolina, 1978
- Honors: with Honors, Presidential Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, John M. Morehead Scholar, National Merit Scholar
- North Carolina
- New York
- Eastern District of North Carolina
- Middle District of North Carolina
- Western District of North Carolina
- Southern District of New York
- Eastern District of New York
- Northern District of Texas
- Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- US Supreme Court
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Litigation Counsel of America (2017 – 2020)
- Trial Law Institute
- Diversity Law Institute
- Tour de Cure (American Diabetes Association), Co-Chair, 2008
- North Carolina School of Science & Math Foundation, Chair, 2003—2004
- North Carolina Bar Association, Constitutional Law Section, Chair, 2002—2003
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Member, Civil Rules Subcommittee, 2012—2013
- Recently obtained dismissals of several securities actions.
- Obtained a $95 million fraud settlement.
- Convinced a state judge to declare a statute unconstitutional.
- Won a treble damages jury verdict for unfair trade practices.
- Successfully argued to cancel a lis pendens on a $50 million commercial property.
- Obtained a $57 million verdict for corporate espionage (North Carolina’s largest verdict of 2008).
- Obtained injunctions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and a leading decision under the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act.
- Won a ruling overturning the election of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff.
- Set a North Carolina precedent restricting who may sue for contamination.
- Secured a $275,000 settlement for a 64-year-old woman banished from public property for alleged “dirty dancing.”
- Secured a $2.5 million jury verdict in a single-family drinking water case.
- Obtained the reversal of a death sentence.
- Successfully argued for a $500,000 contempt citation against a New York Times bureau chief.
- Won a federal decision allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed in a courtroom.
Prior Work Experience
- Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, 1986—2003
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, 1982—1986
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Peter Perlman Service Award (2017)
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business ®, “Leader in the Field” for Litigation (2011 – 2021)
- Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Litigation Star (2012 – 2021)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, Business Litigation, Securities Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Environmental Litigation, Constitutional Law (2006 – 2021)
- “Top 10 Super Lawyers in North Carolina” (2011—2017)
- “Top 3 Super Lawyers in North Carolina” (2013—2017)
- “Top 25 Super Lawyers in Raleigh” (2011—2021)
- “Top 100 Super Lawyers in North Carolina” (2011—2021)
- Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Litigation (2006—2015)
- Top Vote Recipient for Litigation in 2015
- Hall of Fame (2015 – 2021)
- The Best Lawyers in America®, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Intellectual Property, Litigation-Securities (2006—2021)
- Raleigh “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation-Intellectual Property (2019)
- Raleigh “Lawyer of the Year” for Bet-the-Company Litigation (2016)
- Raleigh “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation – Securities (2012)
- Eight Ellis & Winters Partners Recognized in Chambers, 2021
- Benchmark Litigation Again Awards Ellis & Winters its Highest Rating
- Ellis & Winters Attorneys Recognized as 2021 Super Lawyers®
- Business North Carolina Announces 2021 “Legal Elite”
- Ellis & Winters Named to 2021 “Best Lawyers in America” List