Janelle is both pragmatic and a people person.  She enjoys solving complex problems for employers, municipalities, private entities, homeowner’s associations, specialized professionals, as well as those going through divorce and custody issues.  Janelle’s patience, even temperament, and common-sense approach make her very effective at helping her clients come up with creative case-specific solutions to overcome complex problems and conflicts that they might face.

She works to understand her client’s goals, honestly assesses their situations, and then develops practical solutions to best meet their goals. Janelle’s litigation experience, coupled with her client-focused practice, enables her to skillfully guide her clients through trials in federal and state court, as well as various administrative agencies, when necessary.

Community Association Law

Janelle regularly represents community associations with a wide range of legal issues to include, neighborhood disputes, covenant and restriction violations, governance and covenant interpretation disputes, collection of dues and assessments, governing document amendments, parity issues among different classes of members, and voting rights issues.

Employment Law

Janelle provides advice and counseling on all aspects of the hiring, employment, and separation process. This includes the development and implementation of employment practices and procedures, as well as sensitive workplace investigations for employers who have received complaints of harassment and discrimination.

Retail and Hospitality

Retail and hospitality clients face a broad range of legal issues including premises liability claims, negligent security claims, and employment law issues, which Janelle is well versed to handle because of her broad experience in all of these subject matters and the cross-knowledge she brings as a result of her varied practice areas of expertise.

Professional Liability

Janelle regularly provides general advice and representation to a wide variety of professionals, including lawyers, real estate agents and brokers, and healthcare providers, when claims are made in connection with the rendering of professional services before a professional board, regulatory agency, or the court.


Janelle has served as a municipal attorney for a local municipality for over ten years.  She has a wide array of experience assisting local governments and their agencies in the areas of Section 1983, public official immunity, personnel matters, handbook updates, grievances, police law, zoning and land use matters, ordinance amendments and additions, public school education claims, and general and premises liability claims.

Family Law

In the family law context, Janelle uses her extensive litigation experience and compassion to advise and advocate for her clients in the tumultuous domestic litigation process. She continues to believe that the best resolution to a domestic relations matter is a well-negotiated settlement that allows the parties to craft their own resolution that best serves their interests. Janelle also has experience drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements with the goal of avoiding the expense and hassle of separating property and determining support if a relationship comes to an untimely end. Janelle is one of few practicing attorneys in the Charlotte, North Carolina area who maintains a diverse practice in the area of civil litigation in Superior Court and the Federal Court and also practices in the area of family law.

Dispute Resolution

Her varied experience allows her to bring a unique perspective to her role as a certified Superior Court mediator. She facilitates settlements and assists parties in resolving conflicts amicably without incurring the significant time and expense that may often be associated with protracted litigation.

Janelle has obtained favorable results for clients in arbitrations, mediations, and in federal and state court, including the NC Business Court. She has also been retained to provide ongoing advice to ensure compliance with state and federal law in regard to various personnel matters.


Prior to joining Cranfill Sumner LLP, Janelle was an associate at Bowman Green Hampton & Kelly, PLLC in Chesapeake, Virginia. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Norman A. Thomas and the Honorable Chuck D. Griffith on the Norfolk, Virginia Circuit Court.

Janelle is the Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and oversees the firm’s community service initiatives in Charlotte.  She is active in the Mecklenburg County Bar, is the former Co-President of the John S. Leary Association of Black Attorneys, and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the John S. Leary Bar Association Scholarship Foundation. Since 2009, she has served in various leadership positions with the Junior League of Charlotte.  Janelle was named as a Charlotte Business Journal 2017 40 Under 40 Honoree. The 40 Under 40 List recognizes outstanding young professionals who excel in their careers and in their community involvement.

Representative Matters

Cases or matters referenced do not represent the lawyer’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.

  • Obtained order granting summary judgment in favor of employer against employee alleging racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII, section 1981, 1981a, and the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision.
  • Obtained dismissal in favor of attorney in a lawsuit alleging attorney malpractice in the handling and settlement of a personal injury matter.
  • Defended municipalities and other government entities in cases involving claims of civil rights violations and negligence.
  • Obtained dismissal in favor of estate in lawsuit alleging liability under theory of agency for negligent actions taken by heirs at law in regard to personal property of the decedent after the death of the decedent resulting in the wrongful death of a minor.
  • Obtained defense verdict for a nursing home against a plaintiff alleging negligent care resulted in Stage IV decubitus ulcers and sepsis.

Articles, Presentations, and Publications

  • “Employment Law Roundtable”, Cranfill Sumner LLP webinar, 2022
  • “Legal Compliance Issues in the Post-COVID Work World”, Professional Liability Attorney Network webinar, 2021
  • “Workplace Behavioral Issues: Appropriately Handling Thorny Situations”, National Business Institute conference, 2018
  • “Issues and Considerations for Handling Presuit Premises Liability”, 2016
  • ”Employment Law and Social Media”, 2015
  • ”Employment Law 101”, 2015
  • “Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Texting and Blogs, The Litigation Debut!” – DRI Governmental Liability, Volume 1, Issue 6, January 2010
  • “Personal Injury Trials,” Getting the Most Out of Your Evidence, 2009

Most Recent Posts


CSH Law Attorneys Present at PLAN Webinar

Janelle Lyons and Virginia Wooten presented at the recent “Legal Compliance Issues in the Post-COVID Work World” webinar. It was held Aug. 26 and was presented by the Professional Liability Attorney Network (PLAN).… Read More


Janelle Lyons to Present at NBI Human Resources Seminar


Janelle Lyons, an attorney in the Charlotte office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, will present at the “Human Resource Law from A to Z” conference sponsored by the National Business Institute. It is a comprehensive seminar designed to give human resources professionals a thorough understanding of all hot-button issues.… Read More


Janelle Lyons Appointed to Novant Health SPR Board of Trustees


Janelle Lyons, a Partner based in the Cranfill Sumner LLP Charlotte office, has been appointed to serve on the Novant Health Greater Charlotte Market Boards of Trustees which serve as the governing bodies for Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center and Novant Health Matthews Medical Center.… Read More


Janelle Lyons Named One of Charlotte’s 40 Under 40 

Star award against gradient background

Janelle Lyons, a partner in the Charlotte office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, was recently named to the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. Janelle will be recognized at the upcoming 40 Under 40 Awards dinner at the McGlohon Theater on March 1.… Read More