James I. Cohen - Verrill Dana LLP

James I. Cohen

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007

Based on a broad perspective gained through years of experience as a regulatory lawyer, mediator, and elected official, Jim combines legal, public policy, networking and facilitation strategies to help clients achieve their goals – whether in legal disputes; before government agencies; in business deals; or in the halls of the Legislature.

Jim focuses his practice in the areas of banking and financial services, public utility regulation, government and public relations, and alternative dispute resolution. Within these fields, he has helped craft or modify laws and regulations, represented clients in adjudicatory proceedings before government agencies and the courts, assisted clients in complex business transactions, facilitated stakeholder groups, and provided a wide range of legal and public policy advice.

Jim’s experience in public service, including his service as Mayor of Portland and leadership positions on multiple business and non-profit boards, provides Jim with a deep understanding of government and a broad range of connections within Maine’s business and political community.

Jim’s unique background allows him to provide clients not only insightful legal advice, but also creative solutions involving public relations, facilitation, and outreach to key government, business, and community leaders.

Princeton UniversityAB 1987Columbia University Law SchoolJ.D. 1991
Maine State Bar Association: Consumer and Financial Institutions SectionMaine Association of MediatorsFederal Communications Bar Association, New England ChapterMaine State Bar Association, ADR Section

Case History

Telecommunications/Procurement/Administrative Law — We help our clients navigate the waters of state and federal procurement.  In 2008, we helped a multinational radio company win a $50 million state contract to implement a statewide radio network for state agencies.  We then helped defend the procurement following a bid appeal by a disappointed bidder.  In 2010, we helped a coalition obtain a $25 million federal stimulus grant to install a dark fiber network throughout Maine.  We then helped the developer work with a wide range of stakeholders -- including competitors -- to obtain necessary state legislation to build the network.  
Energy/Government Relations/Administrative Law — Over a 5 year period starting in 2007, we helped two local electric utilities in the drafting and passage of legislation to restructure Maine's electric industry.  Following adoption of the bill, we helped the utilities sell their generating assets through a competitive bidding process.  We also participated actively in the structural separation of the generating and transmission assets of the companies, adoption of a new rate design, auctioning of contractural rights to purchase energy, and the establishment of new rates for service.
Banking/Government Relations — In the late 1990's, we helped a trade association of Maine banks with the drafting and adoption of two landmark laws -- a law allowing banks to sell insurance, and a law adopting a Universal Bank Charter which eliminated traditional distinctions among bank charters.  Subsequently, we advised banks on how best to implement and comply with these new changes.  
Municipal Law/Independent Investigation — In 2010, on behalf of a Maine municipality, we conducted a high-profile independent investigation of a land purchase by a local housing authority where the seller was the chair of the authority.  The investigation involved the review of thousands of documents, interviews of nearly 25 individuals, and the preparation of a detailed report evaluating the transaction under applicable conflict of interest and insider trading laws.  The report was delivered to the City Council, who referred the matter to the State Attorney General.

Office Location

One Portland Square
P.O. Box 586
Portland, ME 04112-0586
United States

Practice Areas

Administrative / Regulatory Law
Government Relations Practice (Alternative Dispute Resolution, Energy, Government Affairs, Government Contracts, Lobbying, Municipal, Public Utility, Regulatory, Telecommunications)

Other Information