McGuireWoods partner John Fennebresque keeps photographs of friends and family on a credenza in his Charlotte, N.C., office. Among the snapshots of children and grandchildren sits a picture from a golf outing a few years ago, where Fennebresque stands next to former Bank of America Corporation CEO Kenneth Lewis and the bank’s chief administrative officer, J. Steele Alphin.

Late last fall, when asked about his relationship with Lewis, Fennebresque paused briefly. After 35 years of living and working in Charlotte, the Long Island native has picked up the southern habit of thinking silently for a few seconds before replying to questions. “He’s my friend, and I’m his lawyer,” Fennebresque says.