Skip to Content


Michael Winters is a founding partner at Ellis & Winters and has over four decades of experience in commercial transactional work.

Mike operates a broad practice that involves complex commercial and residential real estate development matters, including land acquisition, leasing, development financing, and land use planning. He has significant experience representing clients with a range of commercial development products, including office parks, mixed-use commercial developments, apartment projects and shopping centers. In real estate finance, he has represented local and national banking institutions in the development and construction financing contexts, as well as permanent lenders on a variety of commercial projects.

Over the years, Mike has developed a strong local knowledge of North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. He understands who to engage in order to achieve the results his clients are seeking. This insider knowledge separates Ellis & Winters from the competition.

The attorneys at Ellis & Winters cross-collaborate to deliver full-service representation. This structure allows Mike to better support his clients with high-level concerns throughout the representation process. Since the firm has more partners than associates, clients work with attorneys with high-level capabilities who have “been there before.” This strong experience base ensures that experienced attorneys like Mike are empowered to work collaboratively without sacrificing efficiency.

Mike has been a pillar of the community for most of his career. He has served three terms on the Board of Directors of the Cary Chamber of Commerce as Chairman. He was also awarded Citizen of the Year in 2009 by the Cary Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Mike served on the Development Committee of the North Carolina Triangle affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and was honored in the News & Observer as “Tar Heel of the Week” for his work in fighting breast cancer. He also served on the Board of Directors of Shepherds Theological Seminary.

In his free time, Mike enjoys golfing with friends, listening to music, and spending time with his grandchildren at sporting events.



  • J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 1978
  • B.S., University of North Carolina, 1975
    • Honors: Morehead Scholar, Beta Gamma Sigma

Court Admissions

  • North Carolina

Memberships and Associations

  • Cary Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, Chairman (Three Terms)
  • Susan G. Komen Foundation, North Carolina Triangle Development Committee 
  • Shepherds Theological Seminary, Board of Directors 


  • Assisted a multi-family developer with the acquisition of numerous sites, leasing, negotiation and closing of development loans, and negotiation of various development documents including joint venture agreements, construction contracts, and developer agreements.
  • Assisted a large landowner with sale of sites as part of an economic development project to bring jobs and investment capital to the region.
  • Represented a university in the sale of a mixed-use center for a redevelopment project that included multi-family, retail and hotel uses.
  • Assisted an office developer in the acquisition and leasing of various real estate locations for the development of office buildings (constructed on both private sites and on university campuses).


  • Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Real Estate (2007-2014)
    • Business (2015)
    • “Hall of Fame” for Real Estate Law (2014-2021)
  • North Carolina Lawyers Weekly “Leaders in the Law” Award Recipient (2013)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, “Leader in the Field” for Real Estate (2009-2021)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Real Estate Law (2011-2024)
    • Raleigh “Lawyer of the Year” for Real Estate Law (2011, 2016, 2018)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, Real Estate Law (2006-2023)
  • North Carolina Bar Association “Citizen Lawyer” Award 2014
  • Citizen of the Year, Cary Chamber of Commerce (2009)
  • Peer review rating of AV in Martindale-Hubbell®