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J. A. (Jay) Kerr Jr.


Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina (1988)
  • U.S. District Court Western District of NC
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of NC


  • Campbell University School of Law, Juris Doctorate (1988)
  • Honors: Award for Excellence, Articles, Campbell Law Observer (1987)
  • Guilford College, BAS, Administration of Justice (1984)
  • Honors: Dean’s List

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • Brain Injury Association of North Carolina

Career Passions

Jay has been an advocate for the injured for over 30 years.  He especially is passionate about helping victims of traumatic brain and spinal injuries, and he is zealous about protecting children from unreasonable hazards in all environments.     

However, Jay started his legal career in 1988 focusing on real estate development law, a passion grown from an extended family of real estate professionals, especially his father who was a president of the Charleston Home Builders Association. Between 1989 and 1993, Jay served as president and in-house counsel of a family-owned, mid-size residential construction company, operating in the Carolinas.  Jay remains active in real estate while managing family investment and development properties in Charleston, SC, and as an avid student of New Urbanism – development aimed at resource conservation, walkable neighborhoods, and enhanced community engagement. 

Jay’s practical experience provides valuable insight into the nature of construction site and business property hazards.  Coupling such experience with his extensive knowledge of premises liability law allows him to be a more effective advocate for those encountering needless property hazards. 

Articles, Editorship, and Presentations Jay has authored numerous articles on various topics surrounding workers’ compensation and premises liability law.  He is the editor of the General Negligence and Premises Liability Chapters for the North Carolina Manual of Complaints, as published by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and LexisNexis. He has lectured on various workers’ compensation and premises liability law topics on behalf of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. Furthermore, Jay has been a presenter on the legal aspects of nurse life care planning pursuant to national certification requirements, and he has been a panel discussant and presenter at educational programs produced by the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina.

Melissa Truitt

Melissa Truitt

SENIOR PARALEGAL, North Carolina State Bar Certified
Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims and Litigation

Melissa is a Western North Carolina native who began working with Jay in 1992 at the former Asheville firm Swain, Stevenson, Moore & Kerr, P.A., focusing on personal injury litigation and workers’ compensation. In 1998, Melissa joined Jay to continue work in personal injury litigation when he formed Jay Kerr, P.A. Melissa has always had a great appreciation for the wonderful people of Western North Carolina and its splendid culture. Today, with nearly 30 years of experience as a paralegal professional, she uses her exceptional talents and skills to help the hard-working members of her community seek deserving justice. She sees her work as a privilege, and not merely a career. Her hard work, dedication, trust, and loyalty to our clients and to her colleagues have been at the foundation of the firm’s success. Melissa is a 1989 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (Pre-Law). She is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal and a member of the Legal Support Staff of North Carolina, Inc.

For her exceptional dedication to clients, Melissa was acknowledged by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly as one of the Unsung Legal Heroes for 2018.


Tara Kerr

Tara Kerr


Tara is a lifelong resident of Western North Carolina.  She graduated from the University of North Carolina – Asheville in 2000 with a B.A. Degree in Accounting. In 2003, she obtained an MBA through Western Carolina University and then her North Carolina licensure as a Certified Public Accountant. 

Tara has worked in both public and private accounting. She joined Jay Kerr Law in 2007 with responsibilities for firm bookkeeping, payroll, and tax preparation, as well as assisting in financial management. In addition, Tara provides accounting services with a regional accounting firm to clients in the healthcare industry.