Biography

Before Fox Rothschild

Jim was a partner at Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, which combined with Fox Rothschild in 2018. He retired as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court in December 1994, after 28 years on the bench - eight years as a Superior Court judge in Guilford County and 20 years on the North Carolina Supreme Court. Before being appointed to the bench, he served in the 1967 North Carolina General Assembly and practiced law from 1961 until 1967 and from 1996 until the present. He helped establish and was the first leader of Smith Moore Leatherwood’s Appellate Practice Group.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Jim is an active member of the Greensboro community. He has been affiliated over the years with a long list of organizations including the Paul Green Foundation, Sustainable North Carolina, Fair Trial Initiative, Court Watch, Habitat for Humanity, Greensboro City Club, Carolina Club, Sherwood Swim & Racquet Club, Neuse Sailing Association, Watauga Club and Conversation Club. 

Honors & Awards

  • 2009 John McNeill Smith, Jr., Award from the North Carolina Bar Association Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Listed Appellate (2006-2011)
  • Selected by his peers as Greensboro Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year (Woodward/White, Inc.), Appellate Practice (2014)
  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America® (Woodward/White, Inc.), Appellate Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2007-2016)
  • Rated AV Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Judge John J. Parker Award, North Carolina Bar Association
  • Alumni Achievement Award, NYU School of Law
  • Herbert Harley Award, The American Judicature Society
  • James Iredell Award, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Norman A. Wiggins School of Law, Campbell University
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)
  • William Richardson Davie Award, Trustees, UNC-CH
  • Distinguished Service Award, General Alumni Association, UNC-CH
  • Frank Porter Graham Award, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina
  • President, Phi Beta Kappa, UNC-CH
  • Morehead Scholar, UNC-CH
  • Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, UNC-CH
  • Root-Tilden Scholar, New York University School of Law
  • Benjamin F. Butler Memorial Award, New York University School of Law