James is Managing Partner of North Carolina for Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP. James is a trusted M&A advisor and corporate counsel to companies, entrepreneurs, C-level executives, faith-based organizations, and non-profits around the country. He routinely works with executives to manage annual legal budgets, develop risk management strategies, and proactively implement legal initiatives.
In addition to his traditional corporate practice, James represents numerous faith-based organizations across the country and regularly assists them with corporate governance matters, bylaws, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, data privacy issues, financings, intellectual property matters, employment matters, abuse allegations, children’s policies, facility use policies, property tax exemptions, waivers, counseling issues, insurance matters, document retention policies, real estate matters and security policies.
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 during its 11-year history 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 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, Corporate Chaplains of America, Duke Hospital, the Association for Corporate Growth, NC Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and the Raleigh Rescue Mission.
Honors & Recognitions
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, 2024
- Business Hall of Fame, Business North Carolina Magazine, 2022, 2023
- Legal Elite, Business Law, Business North Carolina Magazine, 2012-2014, 2019, 2021, 2023
- Super Lawyer, North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, 2018-present
- North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2020, 2021, and 2022
- Elite Hall of Fame, 2017
- Business Law Category Winner, 2016
- Rising Star, North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, 2010, 2012, 2013
- Member, North Carolina Bar Association