James Forrest Photo

James R. Forrest

Managing Partner, North Carolina

Overview

James is Managing Partner of North Carolina for Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP. James is a trusted advisor to companies, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and religious organizations on a wide range of general business and legal matters. He routinely works with clients to proactively manage legal budgets and develop executive-level risk-management strategies.

Prior to joining Michael Best in 2022, James worked for two leading corporate firms before founding Forrest Firm in 2011. Forrest Firm experienced tremendous growth based on its highly client-centric approach to legal services, focusing on predictable fees, responsiveness, and proactive solutions. Under James’ leadership, Forrest Firm grew to seven offices across North Carolina, 50+ team members, and served thousands of clients. In 2022, Forrest Firm combined with Michael Best in order to meet the needs of the firm's growing client base. James has received numerous awards, including being named North Carolina’s Legal Elite by Business North Carolina Magazine, as well as a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Outside of his law practice, James dedicates considerable time to community leadership and support. He has been involved with numerous nonprofit organizations throughout his career, including First Tee of the Triangle, the Duke DREAM Campaign, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Kidznotes, Inc., the Durham Symphony Orchestra, Durham CrimeStoppers, Leadership Triangle, Leadership Durham, Mission Triangle, The Summit Church, Corporate Chaplains of America, and the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Business Hall of Fame, Business North Carolina Magazine, 2022
  • Legal Elite, Business Law, Business North Carolina Magazine, 2012-2014, 2019, 2021
  • Super Lawyer, North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, 2018-present
  • North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2020
  • Rising Star, North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, 2010, 2012, 2013
  • Elite Hall of Fame, 2017 
  • Business Law Category Winner, 2016 

Professional Activities

  • Member, North Carolina Bar Association

Education

Bar Admission

Community Involvement

  • Former Board of Directors Member, First Tee of the Triangle
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Duke DREAM Campaign
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Kidznotes, Inc.
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Durham Symphony Orchestra
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Durham CrimeStoppers
  • Former Member, Leadership Triangle Program
  • Former Member, Leadership Durham Program

Education

Bar Admission

Community Involvement

  • Former Board of Directors Member, First Tee of the Triangle
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Duke DREAM Campaign
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Kidznotes, Inc.
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Durham Symphony Orchestra
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Durham CrimeStoppers
  • Former Member, Leadership Triangle Program
  • Former Member, Leadership Durham Program
back to top