John Mabe has practiced in Raleigh for his entire career, resolving construction problems for owners, design professionals, general contractors, and subcontractors across the Triangle region and state. He resolves disputes involving real estate, development, land use, and commercial law. John is on the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Arbitrators and is a NCDRC Certified Superior Court Mediator. John’s passion is problem-solving. He says there are usually good solutions to be found, even in strongly contested disputes that require a trial.

John has resolved federal administrative construction claims for changed conditions and changes of scope, in addition to state construction claims and bid protests. He has tried bet-the-farm cases in commercial matters and construction claims. He has arbitrated and tried construction claims and professional negligence matters, land use entitlements, and title claims. He has experience with public-private partnership projects. He knows the way through administrative reviews and appeals, having helped many contractors and design professionals with issues before their regulatory boards. Lease negotiation and litigation is a natural adjunct to John’s work in land use, development, and construction fields. He has extensive experience in lien law. John’s representative experience includes business break-ups, insurance and suretyship, wholesale/retail finance, distribution agreements, including ABC laws and regulations, and bankruptcy litigation.

He went to college in Chapel Hill, so he couldn’t be an engineer, though he’s only slightly more carefree than one. He very much enjoys helping people solve problems, so he has a lot in common with design professionals. John earned his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar and his law degree from the University of North Carolina Law School.

Community & Professional

  • American Bar Association House of Delegates
  • American Bar Association: Litigation Section; Forum on Construction Law
  • North Carolina Bar Association - Past member of Board of Governors; Business Section; Past chair of Construction Law Section; Litigation Section
  • Wake County Bar Association and Tenth Judicial District Bar - Past President; Board of Directors
  • Wake County Citizens Facilities Advisory Committee - Co-Chair
  • Numerous non-profit and community committees and boards.

Outside Maynard Nexsen

Do you hear the toll of bells? 

The English countryside rings with “change-ringing” bells. Unlike carillon bells that are played by a person at a keyboard, English tower bells are rung by teams of ringers, one per bell, who learn intricate timing patterns to ring the bells in a constantly changing cascade of sound. There are only about fifty such towers in North America, and John has rung in most of them, including participation in ringing at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC when the final stone was raised; the re-dedication of the colonial-era bells of St. Michael’s Church in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo; and ringing on the new set of twelve bells in Trinity Church at Wall Street. He also has rung in many English towers, such as St Martin in-the-Fields in Westminster, and Liverpool Cathedral.

Ringing requires concentration more than strength, though the bells weigh from a hundred pounds to a ton or more. A good, rhythmic piece of ringing requires careful timing as the band members weave a pattern of sound by changing the order in which their bells strike. Is it a little quirky? Judge for yourself. Google “change-ringing.”

John took the hobby up after his home church installed a set of eight bells when he was in his 30's. “All in all, it’s a fine hobby,” says John. “You get to travel and see behind the scenes at some prominent landmarks and to participate in various holiday and civic celebrations. But the real attraction it holds for enthusiasts is the intense focus required to manage the end of a rope tied to a half ton or more of bell metal swinging around, making a glorious noise outside.”


  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Construction Law Litigation, Since 2011 and Construction Law from 2003-2010 and 2023
  • Named among Business North Carolina's “Legal Elite” for 2009, 2011-2017, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers® - Construction Litigation 2006-2017, 2019, 2020
  • Martindale-HubbelAV Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
  • Member, Fellows of the American Bar Foundation

Visit the websites for Super Lawyers, Legal Elite and Best Lawyers for more information about the honors and selection methodology.


Changes Taking Effect to North Carolina Lien and Bond Laws The rules are changing when it comes to North Carolina lien and bond laws. And the new provisions are substantially altering the way in which all parties involved in lien rights –from owners, buyers, and sellers to general contractors, subcontractors, lenders, and title companies – handle construction, sales, and lending for residential and commercial properties.

Construction Law Alert: North Carolina to Enforce Attorney Fees Clauses Construction law attorney, John Mabe, shares insight on the change in North Carolina Legislature regarding contractual provisions calling for the payment of attorney fees not being enforceable in court or arbitration.


  • State Bar: North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court: North Carolina (Eastern, Middle, Western) 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals: Fourth Circuit
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