Jim’s multidisciplinary legal interests include constitutional law, telecommunications and energy, campaign finance and lobbying compliance, gaming, class actions, property taxation, and municipal and public law.
He has represented clients before trial and appellate courts at both the state and federal level, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Ohio Power Siting Board, Ohio Board of Tax Appeals, county boards of revision, private mediators, and AAA and NASD arbitrators.
Jim has lectured in public and private forums to representatives of companies and public agencies regarding electronic discovery challenges and effective records management.
Chambers USA has recognized Jim as a Leading Lawyer in Energy & Natural Resources, Band 1 in Ohio. Chambers USA researchers noted, "Jim has experience representing public utilities and municipalities before state commissions in a range of regulatory proceedings."
Jim is a member of the Ohio State and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations. He is a 2002 graduate of LeadDIVERSITY, a diversity and leadership training program operated by the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.
Prior to entering law school, Jim served as a production coordinator for U.S. News and World Report magazine and as a research assistant for Martin P. Stevens J.P., M.P., in England’s House of Commons. Jim began his tenure with Calfee in 1992 and was elected Partner in 2002.
Honors & Recognitions
- Chambers USA, Energy & Natural Resources, Band 1, Ohio (2023)
- Benchmark Litigation, "Litigation Star" – U.S. (National) and Ohio: Appellate, Tax Disputes, Commercial, and Energy Litigation (2018-2024)
- Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in Energy Law (2024)
- The Best Lawyers in America®, Energy Law (2021-2024), Energy Regulatory Law (2022-2024), Litigation – Municipal (2023-2024), and Commercial Litigation (2024)
- Ohio Super Lawyers, Utilities (2015-2023)
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1992
B.A., cum laude, Wake Forest University, 1986
Public Utilities Experience
- Assisted electric utilities in obtaining PUCO approval of electric security plan under R.C. 4928.143.
- Obtained PUCO approval of Energy Efficiency and Peak Demand Reduction Portfolio Plans mandated by Ohio law.
- Obtained Ohio Supreme Court decision affirming motor transportation company’s exemption from municipal net profits tax.
- Assisted telephone and electric utilities in obtaining essential regulatory approvals from the PUCO, and assisted telecommunications company in obtaining video competition agreements from Ohio municipalities.
- Obtained dismissal of complaints filed by cellular resellers against CMRS provider on basis that PUCO lacked jurisdiction over complaints, and successfully defended dismissal on appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
- Authored and presented legal analyses demonstrating that proposed legislation to restructure regulation of electric utility industry violated the Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause, and Takings Clause.
Public Law and Regulatory Compliance Experience
- Advised casino and racino properties regarding all aspects of regulatory compliance, including impact of Ohio Constitution, state laws and Casino Control Commission, Lottery Commission and Racing Commission rules.
- Advised municipalities and other Ohio political subdivisions regarding all aspects of public and municipal law, including home rule powers, municipal utility powers, public records, tort immunity, vacating streets, zoning, and eminent domain.
- Successfully opposed ballot initiative promoted by anti-fracking group as a “Community Bill of Rights.”
- Defended municipal utilities in court actions seeking to limit constitutional authority of municipal utilities over rates and use of funds.
- Assisted in drafting of legislation and rules regarding casino regulation and other public law matters.
- Advised individuals and companies regarding federal and Ohio campaign finance regulations and legal limits on campaign contributions.
- Consulted with companies and lobbyists regarding compliance with Ohio ethics laws, Lobbying Disclosure Act, Foreign Agents Registration Act, and other federal ethics and contracting obligations.
- Has served for more than 20 years as editor and an author of Local Government Law – Municipal (1st ed. 2004), which is part of Baldwin’s Ohio Practice series published by Thomson West, and previously edited Babbit’s Ohio Municipal Service between 1995 and 2000.
Ad Valorem Taxation Experience
- Assisted property owners in reducing the assessed value of their real property by pursuing complaints filed with county boards of revision and, when necessary, pursuing appeals to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and Ohio Supreme Court.
- Obtained Board of Tax Appeals decision reducing client’s public utility property taxes by more than $25 million by successfully introducing alternative valuation rebutting presumption accorded tax commissioner’s standard valuation method.
Complex Litigation Experience
- Won certification of eight-county class of property owners seeking declaration of their rights regarding ownership and use of the shores of Lake Erie, and then won on behalf of class a declaration, which was unanimously affirmed by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals and Ohio Supreme Court, that the state’s public trust interest in Lake Erie does not extend beyond the water’s edge. On remand, obtained $6.1 million class action settlement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
- Coordinated expert testimony valuing multiple plant assets for purposes of proving damages in binding arbitration that resulted in $396 million settlement.