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)
  • 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

Matter

Energy: Utility Ownership of Generation

We opposed legislation on behalf of Emera that would have prohibited affiliates of Maine T&D utilities from owning electric generation facilities in the state. Had the bill passed, Emera would not have been able...

Blog

Verrill Helps State’s Largest Solar Project Obtain Principal Environmental Permit

Blog

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

Matter

Energy: Acquisition of LDC

Verrill assisted with an investment fund with due diligence in regard to potential acquisition of a local gas distribution company. The scope of work included analysis of state regulatory environment for gas utilities and...

Matter

Energy: Maine's First Private Natural Gas Pipeline

Assisted a large pulp mill secure legislation to authorize building a private natural gas pipeline that tapped into the Maritimes interstate pipeline to lower the mill's energy costs. To meet the client's schedule, we...

Publication/Podcast

Seminar Materials: Virtual Eggs & Issues - Reinventing Businesses During COVID-19

On June 10, Verrill partner Jim Cohen , current board president of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce , moderated the Chamber’s monthly Eggs & Issues business forum -- which once again was held...

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...

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...

Blog

Financial Institutions . . . In the News

The July 2020 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report was released. ( DS News 8.27.2020) Federal Chairman Jerome Powell shows a plan to bolster the economy for the long-term. ( The Hill 8.26.2020) A May report...

News

Maine's 'Thoughtful' and 'Aggressive' Response to COVID-19

On Wednesday, April 8, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce had its first ever virtual Eggs & Issues, moderated by Jim Cohen, volunteer board president of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce and Verrill...