Biography

Jim practices at the intersection of law and politics. Based on decades of experience as a regulatory lawyer, mediator, and elected official — including as Mayor of Portland, Jim helps clients in heavily regulated industries achieve their legal and policy goals before state and local regulatory agencies and legislative bodies.

Jim's unique background allows him to provide clients not only with insightful legal advice, but also with creative solutions involving public relations, facilitation, and outreach to key government, business, and community leaders. His experience in public service and leadership positions on multiple business and nonprofit boards gives him a deep understanding of government and a broad range of connections within Maine's business and political community.

Applying these skills across a wide range of regulated industries, Jim has helped craft or modify laws and regulations, represented clients in adjudicatory proceedings before government agencies and the courts, assisted clients in complex business transactions, facilitated stakeholder groups, and provided a wide range of legal and public policy advice.

Jim is an avid runner, biker, skier, "golfer" (quotes intentionally added), and sometimes guitar player.

In addition to Jim's main services and industries, he also focuses on the following unique areas:

Services/Industries

Education

  • Columbia University School of Law  (J.D.)
  • Princeton University, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs  (A.B., cum laude)
  • University of Southern Maine  (Certificate Program in Mediation)

Public Service

  • Mayor, City of Portland (2005-06), Portland City Council (2002-08)
  • Portland Charter Commission, Vice Chair (2009-10)
  • Cumberland County Budget Committee (2003-05)(Chair, 2005)
  • Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chair (2012-14), Trustee (2008-present)
  • Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, Board President (2019-present)
  • Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Trustee (2009-present)
  • Portland Trails, President (1997-98), Advisory Trustee (2002-present)
  • Project Green Schools, Advisory Trustee (2017-present)
  • Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), Board Chair (2022-present)
  • See More Public Service

Bar Admissions

  • Maine

Court and Other Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maine

Memberships

  • Maine State Bar Association: Consumer and Financial Institutions Section, Chair (1999-2000), Member (1996-present)
  • Maine Association of Mediators, Board of Governors (2008-2010), Member (2007-present)
  • Federal Communications Bar Association, New England Chapter, Steering Committee Member
  • Maine State Bar Association, ADR Section, Member (2009-present)
  • Court Appointed Dispute Resolution Service, Roster of Mediators (2011-2014)

Honors

  • AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business under Energy & Natural Resources Law
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for Administrative/Regulatory Law, Government Relations Practice, Energy Regulatory Law in Portland, Maine
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in New England Super Lawyers© under Utilities, Banking and Government Relations
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® as the 2020 Portland, Maine Energy Law Lawyer of the Year
  • Neal W. Allen Award for Leadership in the Public Sector (2009)
  • Ruth M. Shaper Memorial Award, Maine Public Health Association (2008)
  • Public Service for the Environment Award, Sierra Club, ME Chapter (2006)

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

Firm Highlights

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...

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...

Blog

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

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...

News

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

News

39 Verrill Attorneys Named 2022 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

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...

Blog

Maine PUC to Kick Off Review of Grid Plan to Assist Clean Energy Transition

Last month, the Maine Public Utilities Commission initiated a proceeding to identify the priorities to be addressed in an electric grid plan that will assist Maine in the “cost-effective transition to a clean, affordable...

Blog

Verrill's Jim Cohen To Speak on Past and Future of Maine’s Electric Grid at 2023 Winter Bar Conference

Verrill partner Jim Cohen will be presenting at the Maine State Bar Association’s Winter Bar Conference 2023, on Friday, January 27, in Portland. Cohen’s presentation, The Past and Future of Maine’s Electric Grid...

Contact Verrill at (855) 307 0700