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

Blog

NextEra Subsidiary Fined $8 Million under MBTA for Eagle Deaths at Wind Power Projects in Western U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that ESI Energy LLC (ESI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Nextera Energy Resources LLC, pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and acknowledged at least...

News

31 Verrill Attorneys, Across Four Offices, Recognized in 2022 Chambers & Partners Guide

Blog

Four Verrill Attorneys Recognized by Chambers & Partners for Energy and Environmental Law in Maine

Verrill attorneys Juliet T. Browne, James I. Cohen, Gordon R. Smith, and Mathew J. Todaro were recently recognized for energy and environmental law in Maine in the 2022 Chambers & Partners Guide . Chambers...

Blog

Verrill Partner Mat Todaro selected to serve on the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources 2022 Fall Conference Planning Committee

Earlier this year, Verrill Partner Mat Todaro was selected by American Bar Association leadership to serve on the 2022 Fall Conference Planning Committee for its Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources. In this role...

Blog

Verrill Partner Mathew Todaro Presents at The National Safety Council (NSC) of Northern New England’s 51st Annual New Hampshire Safety & Health Conference

The National Safety Council (NSC) of Northern New England recently held its 51 st Annual New Hampshire Safety & Health Conference in Nashua. The two-day conference began on June 7 th and featured keynote...

Matter

Verrill Helps Hancock Solar Project Obtain MDEP Permit, Protect Upland Sandpipers

The 14-megawatt Hancock Solar project in the town of Hancock, Maine has obtained its Site Law permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Verrill assisted the project with environmental permitting, which included the...

News

77 Verrill Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2023, Including Six Named Lawyers of the Year

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Maine Public Utilities Commission to Receive Bids for Northern Maine Transmission and Renewable Generation Projects

On or before May 2, 2022, the Maine Public Utilities Commission has requested bids for proposed transmission and generation resources that would boost energy exports from northern Maine. The northern Maine region has long...

Blog

Kelsey McCutcheon Selected to Join the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Emerging Leaders Initiative

Verrill associate Kelsey McCutcheon has been selected to join the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Emerging Leaders Initiative. The Environmental Law Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, that seeks to "make law work for people...

Blog

Intertidal Court Victory for Property Rights, Marine Conservation, and Public Participation

The Maine Superior Court has dismissed all claims against five intertidal landowners represented by Verrill in Masucci v. Judy’s Moody, LLC . The landowners had been sued because they contacted Maine Marine Patrol to...

Contact Verrill at (855) 307 0700