The firm was formed by the merger of two of North Carolina's oldest and most respected law firms: Poyner, Geraghty, Hartsfield & Townsend of Raleigh and Spruill & Spruill of Rocky Mount and Raleigh.
James M. Poyner, Marshall B. Hartsfield and John J. Geraghty founded the Poyner firm. Newman A. Townsend, Jr. later became associated with the firm. It steadily expanded its civil practice in Raleigh, becoming the city's largest and most established corporate practice and achieving a significant reputation for expertise in tax law.
Frank S. Spruill established the firm in Henderson. Spruill moved the firm to Rocky Mount in 1907.
In 1988, Mark B. Edwards and Richard E. Thigpen, Jr., then president of the North Carolina Bar Association, joined the firm and opened its office in Charlotte.
In 2005, the Broughton & Broughton firm merged into Poyner Spruill, giving the firm an office in Southern Pines. And most recently, the firm changed its name from Poyner & Spruill LLP to Poyner Spruill LLP, effective October 10, 2008.