James Smith


I help my clients manage complex business transactions, with a particular emphasis on cross-border transactions and businesses involving tangible assets such as forestry, minerals, and agriculture.

Jim Smith's business law practice has a strong international focus. His geographic emphasis is in the Southern Hemisphere, but his client representations are global in scope. Jim is also the Chair of the Firm’s Legal Opinions Committee.

Jim’s extensive experience in international forestry includes advising on the acquisition and disposition of sustainable plantation forests and related businesses in Australasia and Latin America. Jim also advises businesses on the governance and conduct of off-shore operations and manages relationships with in-country counsel. For over twenty-five years, he has been the outside general counsel to a leading international forestry investment manager providing advice in connection with all aspects of its business, including closed-end fund formation, asset acquisitions, ongoing forestry operations and asset divestment and liquidation upon the conclusion of fund terms.

Jim also advises institutional investors in connection with private equity fund investments focused on tangible assets such as agriculture, mining and minerals, and forestry.  In many of these transactions, our clients are the lead investor and involved extensively in the structuring of the private fund documents.

As Chair of the Legal Opinions Committee, Jim is heavily involved with several bar groups focusing on legal opinion issues, including leadership roles with both the ABA Legal Opinions Committee and the Working Group on Legal Opinions. He is also a member of the TriBar Legal Opinions Committee. 


  • Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1981
  • Drake University, M.P.A., 1978
  • Drake University, B.A. in Chemistry, summa cum laude, 1977

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts


Honors & Involvement

  • IFLR1000, Notable Practitioner (2019)
  • American Bar Association Legal Opinions Committee  - Task Force Co-Chair
  • Working Group on Legal Opinions -  Director and Member of Operations Committee
  • TriBar Legal Opinions Committee
  • Boston Bar Association Legal Opinion Committee (Former Chair) 
  • Multiple Governance Committees of, Town of Concord, Massachusetts (1985 -– 1991present), including Planning Board, Finance Committee, Public Works Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Treasurer and Board Member - Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (2022-present)

Speaking Engagements

  • Regularly lectures on topics concerning legal opinions practice