Wood Lay's diverse practice focuses on representing and advising employers in matters involving the full range of labor and employment law issues with an emphasis on employment, ERISA, non-competition, and trade secret litigation. His significant litigation experience also includes the handling of complex business tort claims for a number of Fortune 500 companies.


With over 30 years of experience, Wood focuses his practice on advising national employers on addressing the employment law challenges of operating in all 50 states. Wood often handles the employment litigation nationwide for these same companies.

Wood regularly defends employers in court and arbitration against single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class or collective employment claims of all types, including Title VIII, FLSA, ADEA, ADA FMLA, and state-law wrongful termination claims.

Wood also routinely advises clients on the investigation, discipline, and termination of all levels of employees; wage and hour issues; whistleblower allegations; joint employment and independent contractor issues; restructuring; layoffs, and shutdown of facilities, including advice on the WARN act and severance issues; harassment or discrimination complaints; employee attendance or leave issues under FMLA, ADA, state workers' compensation laws, and ERISA benefit plans; workplace fatalities, OSHA investigations; and employment agreements, including non-competition and confidentiality agreements.

Additionally, Wood has extensive knowledge of ERISA litigation issues. He has advised and defended large employers against ERISA denial of benefit and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of pension and welfare benefit claims, including claims involving executive compensation, pension eligibility and calculation issues, and elimination or modification of retiree health care coverage.

Prior to joining the firm, Wood practiced at national and AM Law 100 firms where he held leadership positions. Wood also clerked in the Eastern District of Virginia for the Honorable Walter E. Hoffman.

Representative Experience


  • Co-lead team that successfully defended employer against a purported California class action for misclassification of employees and unpaid overtime
  • Advised large employer during an internal investigation of a significant number of employees for the use of fraudulent documents to withdraw funds from an ERISA plan. Successfully defended the employer in five subsequent labor arbitrations, after which the union withdrew all remaining grievances. Also, successfully defended the employer in government investigations arising from the matter
  • Defended employer against large proposed penalty for I-9 violations by the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Labor
  • Represented employers in OSHA investigations in a number of fatality and serious industrial accident cases
  • Obtained dismissal on Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss of 21-page complaint alleging race discrimination for failure to satisfy the Twombly/lqbal pleading standard    
  • Obtained summary judgement in multiple cases for clients facing discrimination, failure to accommodate, or retaliation claims under the ADA and similar state laws
  • Served as lead attorney in litigation and arbitrations in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia

ERISA Litigation

  • Defended Fortune 100 financial institution against multi-plaintiff breach of fiduciary duty and denial of benefits claims arising out of alleged pension eligibility and calculation issues
  • Part of a team that defended a client against a multi-plaintiff breach of fiduciary duty, denial of benefit, and equitable estoppel claims brought by retirees under ERISA after modifications to retiree health insurance



  • Chambers USA - North Carolina, Employment and Labor, 2007-2023
  • Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law-Management and Labor Law-Management, 2013-2022, 2024
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite, Employment, 2024
  • Editor-In-Chief, Washington & Lee Law Review
  • Inaugural Member, North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society
  • Member Board of Directors, Classroom Central, 2015-2022
  • Chair of the Board of Directors, Classroom Central, 2019-2021
  • Chair, Outreach Commission Committee, Christ Episcopal Church


Blogs and Resources

Blog Posts



  • American Bar Association
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, ACI 18th National Forum  on ERISA Litigation, November 18-19, 2020
  • Speaker, ERISA Litigation: "Navigating Through Complexities," The Knowledge Group, June 30, 2020
  • Speaker, "Fundamentals of Employment Law"-FLSA/NC Wage and Hour Act, North Carolina Bar Association, February 18, 2020


J.D., Washington and Lee, 1991

B.A., University of Virginia, 1988


  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia and the Western District Court of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit  
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Chambers USA - North Carolina, Employment and Labor, 2007-2023 - “He is a great litigator, adviser and person. He diligently and expertly handles any sort of employment-related matter, and gives solid, practical, and precise advice.” “Woody has a wealth of knowledge, expertise and a strong commitment to providing high-level customer service.” - Chambers, 2023

"We work closely with Woody Lay of Moore & Van Allen, who is an excellent advisor and attorney. He is extremely knowledge on all things labor & employment and is always willing to assist on anything and everything, often time with no notice. Woody is a talented litigator and all-around great attorney and person." - Best Law Firms®, 2024

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