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:  handling appeals of real and personal property tax values with County tax offices and the North Carolina Property Tax Commission;  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;  tax controversy matters, including resolving return and payment disputes with the IRS and North Carolina Department of Revenue; and  estate planning and estate administration.
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.
Recent Blog Posts by John Cocklereece
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
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