Jim is one of North Carolina’s most experienced environmental lawyers. He also routinely represents clients in high-stakes business litigation, land use disputes, and healthcare matters, all while maintaining a robust mediation practice. Prior to joining Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, Jim served as an Administrative Law Judge. He was certified as a Superior Court mediator in 1994. Jim’s effectiveness and success as a mediator has been recognized by his election to the North Carolina Academy of Superior Court Mediators and the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.

In his first year of practice, Jim filed Wilson v. McLeod, one of the seminal and most frequently cited environmental cases in North Carolina. Since then he has counseled clients ranging from Fortune 50 companies to small businesses, individuals, environmental groups, and state and local governments in matters involving environmental law. Jim handles nearly all facets of environmental law concerns, including litigation, permitting issues, compliance and regulatory counseling, and transactional matters.

Jim routinely speaks on environmental issues before legal, business, academic, and government agency audiences. He has authored numerous works on environmental issues, which have been published in not only business and law journals, but have been reprinted as university graduate-level course materials. At the Environmental Law Institute, a national non-partisan environmental think tank in Washington, D.C., Jim was an editor of a national environmental law reference. He has also served as a visiting instructor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law.


Lead counsel for forestry professors and others challenging North Carolina State University’s sale of the 79,000 acre Hofmann Forest to a private corporation.

Lead counsel in groundbreaking Medicaid litigation over how a state agency may exercise governmental power and reversing its denial of benefits to a severely disabled young man. Jim prevailed at the trial level and successfully defended on three levels of appeal; all attorneys’ fees were awarded and paid by State. (McCrann v. DHHS, 209 N.C. App. 241, 704 S.E. 2d 899 (2011)).

Successfully challenged proposed mass grading development for neighboring landowner, obtaining unanimous vote from town council.

Successful resolution of dozens of environmental issues in transactions; for example:  recently resolved dry cleaner contamination issue at shopping center in Greensboro which enabled sale to proceed.

Obtained six-figure settlement for trucking company whose building was damaged by air pollution from neighboring manufacturing plant.

Environmental counsel in eight and nine figure mergers and acquisitions of publicly traded companies.

Represented over 300 homeowners in major suit to recover damages caused by poorly designed and failed sewerage system in three Raleigh neighborhoods.  ​


North Carolina
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit


A.B., Duke University (1978)
J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law (1983)