Shatilla Shera (Tillie) Cairns is an experienced business law, civil, and appellate litigation attorney.  She represents founder-led companies and business entities and provides executive-level counseling and management before and during litigation on an extensive scope of legal matters involving contract and transactional disputes; employment law, policies, and compliance (including, wage and hour, classification, and termination issues); construction law, defects, and liens; corporate governance and liability; litigation risk mitigation; and other complex commercial, business, and legal issues. In addition to handling and arguing cases before state and federal courts, Tillie also counsels and represents clients before various alternative dispute resolution forums, such as mediation and arbitration.

Recognized for her dedication and diligence, Tillie incorporates into her practice the importance of serving as an enduring resource for her clients and of striving to elicit positive and practical results and solutions in the midst of any type of dispute or issue.

Prior to graduating from law school, she gained invaluable insight into appellate courtroom practice during her judicial internship under the guidance of The Honorable Roderick L. Ireland, former Chief Justice at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Tillie began her post-law school career in the area of veterans’ disability law at a Providence, Rhode Island-based law firm, where she passionately advocated on behalf of hundreds of disabled military veterans and their families pursuing VA compensation benefits.  Then, at a Boston, Massachusetts-based law firm, Tillie realized her interest and enthusiasm for assisting and representing local, closely-held, and family-owned businesses, many within the retail, construction, and service industries.  Continuing with her work, Tillie has also practiced as outside general counsel to a variety of start-up and scaling businesses while at a nationwide law firm.

Tillie has spent over a decade cultivating her legal craft and continues to employ her skills for the benefit of providing comprehensive and sound guidance and building a strong foundation for advocacy, negotiation, and strategy development – whether outside or within the courtroom.

Although a recent transplant from Foxborough, Massachusetts (with a love for all things New England), Tillie is nevertheless excited for this next journey of exploring with her husband and two children all that North Carolina has to offer.


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. Representative matters include work with prior law firms.

  • Pursued and obtained summary judgment for creditor in a breach of loan agreement and promissory note litigation and later, on appeal, successfully argued and obtained appeals court decision, affirming trial court’s grant of summary judgment for creditor.
  • Negotiated and defended heating and boiler company, resulting in dismissal of claims against client in an asbestos class-action litigation.
  • Successfully demanded and obtained six-figure settlement for client during mediation in a construction defect litigation.
  • Second-chaired Boston arbitration proceeding and provided integral support in obtaining arbitral award, not only dismissing claims made against defendant business-client but also awarding damages for client on counterclaims, in an asset-purchase transaction dispute.
  • Obtained important decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, including on brief Kuppamala v. McDonald, 27 Vet App. 447 (2015).

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