James (Jim) Smith principally focuses on environmental and safety matters including defense of enforcement actions, compliance counseling, and supporting transactions. 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 U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 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.
With Jim’s technical skills, registration as a patent attorney, and litigation experience, he has assisted clients in patent prosecution matters, especially regarding chemical process and composition issues. He has handled disputes relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, including representation of inventors and other intellectual property owners in court. He has also assisted in contract negotiations regarding intellectual property.
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.
Admissions & Certifications