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, commonsense 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. Gordon heads up the firm’s Coastal and Shoreland Group and co-chairs the firm’s Appellate Practice Group.

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, Litigation - Environmental
  • 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

News

Nearly 80 Verrill Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2021, Including a Dozen Named Lawyers of the Year

(August 24, 2020) – Nearly 80 Verrill attorneys were recognized as "Best Lawyers" by Best Lawyers® 2021 , including 12 attorneys named “Lawyer of the Year,” a distinguished recognition for only a single lawyer...

Matter

Swift Current Energy

Verrill represents the 100-megawatt Three Rivers Solar Project in Hancock County, Maine. Verrill assists the project with real estate and environmental permitting work, including negotiation of a protocol to allow the project to proceed...

Blog

Maine Public Utilities Commission Invites Net Energy Billing Report Comments

Yesterday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission issued a request for comments related to the MPUC’s Net Energy Billing Report to the Legislature. The Commission broadly invited any interested person to submit information or comments...

Blog

Maine Law Court Holds Citizen's Initiative Cannot Block CMP's NECEC Transmission Line

Matter

Aquaculture

Verrill represents both growers and coastal landowners regarding leasing and licensing of aquaculture enterprises.

News

38 Verrill Attorneys, Across Four Offices, Recognized in 2020 Chambers & Partners Guide

(April 27, 2020) – Verrill has been rated as a Leading Firm in a total of ten categories and subcategories as evaluated by London-based Chambers & Partners , one of the world's most respected...

Matter

Longroad Energy

Verrill represents Longroad Energy (“Longroad”) on its renewable energy work in Maine. Longroad is a Boston, MA-headquartered renewable energy company that develops and operates wind and solar energy projects throughout North America. Verrill has...

Blog

MPUC Issues Order Setting Forth “Discrete Electric Generating Facilities” Safe Harbor

Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) issued an Advisory Ruling establishing a safe harbor for the determination whether a generation facility is a Discrete Electric Generating Facility for the purposes of qualifying for...

Blog

MPUC Adopts Safe Harbor for Determination of “Discrete Electric Generating Facilities,” a Qualification for Net Energy Billing and Distributed Generation Programs

Yesterday, all three Maine Public Utilities Commission Commissioners agreed to adopt a new standard for the determination of what facilities qualify as “discrete electric generating facilities” under the MPUC’s Distributed Generation and Net Energy...

Publication/Podcast

The Risks and Regulations Associated with Waterfront Development in Maine