Biography

“Gordon Smith comes recommended for his work with renewables clients on development and permitting matters, as well as handling environmental litigation. Clients are impressed with his ability to ‘think deeply and not superficially.’”

- Chambers USA 2017

Gordon brings together legal experience and a results-oriented, common sense approach to provide clients with regulatory solutions, court victories and strategic advice on a range of environmental and land use issues. Gordon fights to achieve sane and beneficial outcomes for his clients, allowing them to do what they want to do on their property.

His practice includes particular experience in:

  • Resolution of land use issues and real estate disputes
  • Shoreland and coastal land use issues
  • Renewable energy development
  • Infrastructure permitting, financing and operation
  • Federal and state wildlife protection statutes
  • Civil, administrative and appellate litigation related to environmental, land use and real estate disputes in state and federal courts

In the words of one litigation client:

“I worked with Gordon Smith on a landmark case involving property rights. This case was 15 years in the making and quite complex, involving science, history, property law, economics and very old legal cases. I have worked with other lawyers in the past and my stomach would be in a knot walking into their office. Working with Gordon, on the other hand, has been a great experience. He is patient, compassionate, incredibly smart (he quickly picks up on information outside his own field) and he is a great listener. He works efficiently, not wasting time or money, but thoroughly. He sees a path to the correct strategy and pursues it with integrity. If I ever have another legal matter for which I need help, I will run, not walk to his office and hope he has time to take it on.

Gordon also counsels developers on the best ways to navigate the regulatory process in order to get projects built. In particular, Gordon has represented wind and solar power developers in all phases of project development, from land acquisition to obtaining local, state and federal permits to supporting project finance and successfully defending projects against litigation in state and federal courts.

In the words of one wind power client:

“Gordy has helped us develop multiple grid-scale wind energy projects over the course of almost a decade. I always appreciate Gordy’s counsel. Permitting strategy can be tricky, and he has continually guided us in the right direction time and time again. Legal experience aside, Gordy is naturally very intelligent and pragmatic. He often points out nuances that would probably be overlooked by most people, and this talent is especially useful when it comes to strategic planning. In addition, when a project has not been getting the attention it needed, Gordy has jumped in and acted as a de facto project manager. Gordy’s great on the ground too – I have seen him calmly diffuse irate opponents at public meetings on multiple occasions. The bottom line: Gordy has played a crucial role in getting our projects built and operational and has been an essential member of our permitting team for years.

Gordon serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Maine School of Law where he has taught Real Estate Transactions and Land Use Law.

When not practicing law, Gordon likes to do house carpentry, landscape, play tennis, hike, bike, ski, grill, and sip whiskey. Gordon is lucky enough to go home to his wonderful wife, daughter and son, and the trusty house cat Scout, who is also known as Cuddles.

Services / Industries

Education

  • Georgetown University  (J.D.)
  • University of California, Berkeley  (B.A.)

Public Service

  • Volunteer Attorney, Maine Homeless Legal Project
  • Pro Bono Legal Counsel Provider, The Nature Conservancy

Bar Admissions

  • Maine

Honors

  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business under Environment
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© under Environmental Law, Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in New England Rising Stars© under Environmental and Land Use/Zoning

To learn more about third-party ratings and rankings, and the selection processes used for inclusion, click here.

Court and Other Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maine
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Firm Highlights

Blog

Recent Maine Legislation Bolster Solar, Distributed Generation

Blog

Maine Public Utilities Commission Approves Weaver Wind Power Contract

On July 12, 2019, the Maine Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a long-term contract for the purchase of power from Weaver Wind, a 72.6 MW wind power project in Hancock County Maine. The expected...

Publication/Podcast

Verrill Voices: Newsflash - Rockweed Not a Fish

In this episode of Verrill Voices, environmental attorneys Gordon Smith and Scott Anderson discuss how private property rights could save the world, or at least the coast of Maine, when the fate of ecologically...

Matter

Solar Energy: Acquisition of Grid-Scale Project in Brunswick, Maine

Verrill represented Diversified Communications in the acquisition of a newly built $2.5 million solar array in Brunswick, Maine. The array, which was developed by ReVision Energy and went online in January 2018, will provide power...

Publication/Podcast

Saving Seaweed Via Maine Property Law

On June 13, 2019,  Law360  published environmental attorney Gordon Smith's article, "Saving Seaweed Via Maine Property Law." Gordon discusses Ross v. Acadian Seaplants Ltd. , a decision by the Maine Supreme Court, where conservation-minded landowners...

Blog

Dynamic Pricing Triggers EV Owners’ Load Shift to Early Morning Hours

Supplying electricity during peak demand, the period of highest customer demand for electricity (typically around 4 – 7 p.m.), increases the costs of supply – both for transmission and distribution utilities and customers. Dynamic...

News

61 Verrill Attorneys Honored as Best Lawyers, 12 as Lawyers of the Year

(September 3, 2019) – More than 60 Verrill attorneys were once again recognized as “Best Lawyers” by Best Lawyers® 2020 . In addition, 12 attorneys from the firm were named “Lawyer of the Year,&rdquo...

Matter

Goose Rocks Beach Litigation

We represent coastal landowners in an appeal pending before the Maine Supreme Court, in which we are challenging a lower court ruling that title to Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport is held by the...

Blog

Governor Mills Nominates Former Chair of Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee to Lead Maine PUC

On behalf of Verrill Dana’s Energy & Utilities Practice Group, I’m pleased to inform you that Governor Mills has nominated Phil Bartlett to serve as Chair of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. More information...

Publication/Podcast

Maine Supreme Court Decides Seaweed Is a Plant, Not a Fish

After deliberating for a year and a half in Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court   has unanimously held  that rockweed, a type of seaweed that grows on rocks in the...