“I bring experience, training and dedication to get the best result for our clients.”

James E. Smith

The University of Texas School of Law - J.D., with honors, 1982

University of Kansas - B.S. Chemical Engineering; Tau Beta Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, 1978
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James (Jim) Smith principally focuses on environmental matters including counseling, supporting transactions, and trying cases. He also has experience in intellectual property matters and is registered before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a patent attorney.  His degree in chemical engineering combined with his legal experience enable him to bring a unique perspective as he represents refining, petrochemical and other resource related industry clients.


He counsels corporate as well as individual clients on a variety of environmental issues, in addition to trying and arguing appeals in both civil and criminal matters and in both state and federal courts. Jim has appeared before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Railroad Commission of Texas, and other administrative agencies in permitting and enforcement matters.

Jim’s practice concerns all major environmental media. His trial and transaction work has involved air quality, water quality, hazardous and solid waste, wetlands, and other permitting and enforcement matters, as well as state and federal Superfund cases. He has facilitated closures under the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program and has assisted with plume management zones and Municipal Settings Designations.

Construction and other Litigation

Jim has handled construction disputes and other litigation, including arbitration, primarily for clients in the petroleum refining, chemical, electric generation, and extraction industries.  He has handled direct and cross examination at trial of engineers, forensic accountants, physicians, toxicologists and other experts, and has successfully prosecuted and defended motions relating to admissibility of expert testimony.


Jim has handled many appellate cases, and has been the lead oral advocate before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, the Supreme Court of Texas, and several Texas Courts of Appeals.  His appellate practice has included both civil and criminal environmental cases, as well as non-environmental matters.

Intellectual Property

With Jim’s technical skills and litigation experience, he can represent clients with claims of infringement resulting from patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets.  Jim is familiar with the patent process; he has assisted in contract negotiations regarding intellectual property and has represented inventors and other intellectual property owners in court. Jim has assisted clients in classifying, evaluating and assigning a value to a company’s patent portfolio and other intellectual property for subsequent sale or purchase.

Jim has been listed in Chambers USA in Environmental Litigation since 2005.  He has been selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers since 2003 and Best Lawyers in America in Environmental Law since 1995.

Practice Areas
State Bar of Texas
United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
United States District Court, Western District of Texas
United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
United States Patent and Trademark Office
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Crain Caton & James, A Professional Corporation
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Principal Office : Houston Office - Five Houston Center, 17th Floor - 1401 McKinney, Suite 1700 - Houston, Texas 77010 - Phone: 713.658.2323
The Woodlands Office (by appt only) - 1095 Evergreen Circle, Suite 200 - The Woodlands, Texas 77380 - Phone: 713.752.8686

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