John A. Cocklereece, Jr.

100 N Cherry St, Suite 600
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Email John
John A. Cocklereece, Jr.

John Cocklereece concentrates his practice on property tax appeals, general business law, tax controversy law, and estate planning and administration law.

John has practiced law in Winston-Salem for more than 35 years. John began his legal career with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice and has been with Bell Davis Pitt since 1998.

John’s principal areas of practice are: [1] handling appeals of real and personal property tax values with County tax offices and the North Carolina Property Tax Commission; [2] general business representation, including the formation and dissolution of business entities, the sale, purchase, and financing of businesses, and the drafting and review of all types of business agreements; [3] tax controversy matters, including resolving return and payment disputes with the IRS and North Carolina Department of Revenue; and [4] estate planning and estate administration.

John co-authors The NC Property Tax Law Monitor with Justin Hardy, and authors the Estate Planning Law Blog.

John is active as a community volunteer. He currently serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Forsyth Tech Community College and the Forsyth Technical Community College Foundation.  He previously served on the boards of the Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, the Winston-Salem Public Assembly Facilities Commission, the North Carolina Eye Bank, and the Forsyth County Industrial Development and Pollution Control Financing Authority.

Born and raised in Greensboro, John received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he played football and was named an Academic All-American. His wife, Gina, is a lifelong banker in Winston-Salem.


Washington and Lee University (B.A., summa cum laude, 1976), Phi Beta Kappa

Washington and Lee University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 1979), Order of the Coif; Virginia Trial Lawyers Award

Bar & Court Admittance

1979, North Carolina

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

United States District Courts for the Middle and Eastern Districts of North Carolina

United States Tax Court

United States Court of Claims

Professional & Community Activities


Forsyth County Bar Association

North Carolina Bar Association (Tax Section Council, Former Chair of the Tax Section)

National Association of Property Tax Attorneys

Winston-Salem Estate Planning Council

Washington & Lee University School of Law, Law Council (Law Alumni Board)

President, Winston-Salem Chapter, Washington & Lee University Alumni

Board member, Forsyth Tech Community College

Board member, Forsyth Tech Community College Foundation

Member of Local Government Study Commission 2019-2020


President, Treasurer, Triad Elite Soccer Club

Chair, North Carolina Property Tax Commission

Vice Chair, Winston-Salem Public Assembly Facilities Commission

Chair, North Carolina Eye Bank, Inc

Chair, Westwood Club

Chair, Winston-Salem Coliseum and Convention Center Commission

Chair, Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, Inc.

Chair, Forsyth County Industrial Development & Pollution Control Financing Authority


The Best Lawyers in America® in Tax and Corporate Law (2011 -2020)

AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

Representative Experience

Represented manufacturer in property tax appeal of 2 manufacturing facilities, including 3 successful appeals to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, resulting in tax refunds in excess of $500,000

Represented owner of HQ property in settlement of property tax appeal resulting in value reduction of over $60M

Represented owner of commercial office building in settlement of property tax appeal resulting in value reduction of over $20M

Represented senior care facility owner/operator in multiple acquisition, disposition, and financing transactions over last decade totaling over $50M in value

Represented big box retailer in appealing portfolio of retail properties across North Carolina resulting in tax savings/refunds in excess of $6M

As the Property Tax Manager for a very large corporation that has an incredibly vast real estate portfolio in all 50 states, I must find the absolute best legal talent to not only represent our properties for ad valorem tax issues/appeals, but a firm that I can trust without exception. John and Justin have done a magnificent job throughout the state of North Carolina per their real estate analysis and appeal / litigation process.  Their talent, integrity and professional conduct allows me to recommend the firm Bell, Davis & Pitt for all North Carolina property tax issues.

Robert Meiers, Lowe's Home Improvement