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B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Kansas, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, 1978

J.D., with honors, The University of Texas School of Law, 1982


Texas, 1982

United States District Court Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit

United States Patent and Trademark Office

United States Court of Appeals Federal Circuit


Jim Smith is a partner in the environmental section of Porter Hedges. His practice principally focuses on environmental matters, in counseling, supporting transactions, and trying cases. His degree in chemical engineering combined with his legal experience enables him to bring a unique perspective as he represents refining, petrochemical and other resource related industry clients. He counsels corporate as well as individual clients on a variety of environmental issues, in addition to trying and arguing appeals in both civil and criminal matters and in both state and federal courts. Mr. Smith has appeared before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and other administrative agencies in permitting and enforcement matters.

Mr. Smith's practice concerns all major environmental media. His trial and transaction work has involved air quality, water quality, hazardous and solid waste, and other permitting and enforcement matters, as well as state and federal Superfund cases. He has facilitated closures under the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program and has assisted with plume management zones and Municipal Settings Designations.

Mr. Smith also has experience in contract disputes and intellectual property matters, and is registered before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a patent attorney. He has represented individuals and corporations in criminal matters, both as attorney in charge of cases and as counsel in criminal investigations. He has also represented corporations in citizen suits, in both air quality and water quality cases and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in private civil enforcement matters, dealing with water quality, solid waste and air quality issues.

Mr. Smith has been selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers since 2003. He has also been listed in Chambers USA for Environmental Litigation since 2005, The Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law since 1995, and is a past recipient of the Houston Bar Association's President's Award.

Representative Experience

Environmental Matters

  • Represented a major chemical manufacturing company in a Clean Water Act citizen's suit, brought by a national environmental interest group.
  • Represented a major chemical manufacturing company regarding a disposal site before the state regulatory agency and defended that company in several related toxic tort suits.
  • Represented a large electric cooperative in a contract dispute involving a gas fired power plant.
  • Represented both large and small companies in transactions involving ongoing environmental permits, and often where ongoing remediation of affected soil and/or groundwater would continue after transfer of ownership, and assisted in drafting contract documents to manage the remedial efforts and allocate risks.
  • Defended companies and individuals in both civil and criminal environmental enforcement matters.
  • Assisted in conducting internal investigations, and presented the results of the investigation in order to persuade agencies not to pursue criminal and/or civil enforcement.

Intellectual Property

  • Represented an upstream energy service company in a suit alleging that former employees stole trade secrets and devised systems that infringed on client's patents.
  • Advised a chemical manufacturer regarding the quality of a potential acquisition targets' patent and trade secrets.
  • Conducted a prosecution history review and advised a major refiner in response to claimed patent infringement, regarding fuel and lubricant additive patents.
  • Represented clients in patent infringement cases involving computer software, computer hardware, drilling equipment, propping agents, and other oil and gas production technologies.


  • Successfully defended clients in environmental criminal trials, and has arranged pre-trial diversions and plea agreements for corporations in environmental cases.
  • Obtained dismissals on behalf of clients in criminal actions against corporations in environmental matters, on constitutional grounds and upon appeal.
  • Negotiated supplemental environmental projects in order to facilitate the diversion and the dismissal of charges against a corporation in pre-trial diversion program.
  • Tried civil cases to verdict based on nuisance, trespass, and/or the applicability of state or federal environmental regulations in civil disputes.
  • Successfully brought and successfully defended cost recovery claims under the state and federal solid waste disposal or CERCLA statutes.
  • Successfully handled arbitrations of private disputes relating to environmental cleanup and contractual issues.
  • Argued several environmental cases before appellate courts.

Professional / Civic Affiliations

  • State Bar of Texas, Member of Litigation, Environmental, and Intellectual Property Sections
  • American Bar Association, Member of Litigation, Natural Resources and Environmental, and Intellectual Property Sections
  • Houston Bar Association, Member of Litigation, Environmental, and Intellectual Property Sections
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • University of Texas School of Law, Keeton Fellow
  • Mercury Baroque, Member of Board of Directors