Two Van Winkle Law Firm attorneys are Legal Elite. Ryan W. Coffield provides full-service legal advice for small and medium-sized businesses. He helps with anything from decisions about how to structure a new company to successorship strategies. His area of expertise is nonprofit and for-profit taxation, and he won a “Young Guns” award. Michael M. Thompson specializes in high-end residential and commercial real estate law. He has worked with local and national developers in Buncombe, Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania counties since 1989; and he won a “Real Estate” award. Since 2002, Legal Elite awards have been presented by Business North Carolina magazine. They are unique in that the winners are not selected by the magazine’s editors. Instead, each year, ballot notices are mailed to every member of the North Carolina State Bar living in the state. Lawyers are asked who they would rate the best in various categories, based solely on first-hand interaction, votes for members of one’s own firm tallied at a discount. There are currently fourteen award categories, each with a single winner.