Jim's broad practice covers corporate, legislative, education, governmental relations, economic development and municipal law. He previously served as Virginia's Secretary of Education under former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, and as domestic policy advisor to former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Jim has established a significant regional presence in the business, education and government arenas. He is well respected for his experience in working with all components of the community and with both political parties, having been appointed to numerous important positions by Democrats and Republicans. He has established a network of contacts that assist him in handling complex and sensitive matters throughout Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. His network includes numerous local, state and federal officials, educators and business leaders, especially in the Washington region.
He was included in Washingtonian magazine's list of "150 Most Powerful People" in the Washington region. He was also named to the “Power 100” by the Washington Business Journal. He has also been named seven times by Virginia Business Magazine as one of the “50 Most Influential Virginians.” He was named by Washington Business Journal as the “Best Networker” in the region and as a Minority Business Leader Honoree. He won the J. Michael Brown award from DuPont for his accomplishments in diversity, recruiting and mentoring in the legal profession and he received the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce "Lifetime Achievement Award." In addition, he has received numerous awards and certificates related to education, government and community service.
He was elected chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade for 2010. The Board of Trade is the largest regional business organization in the Washington, D.C., area, advocating for the business community in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland. During his term, he was co-chair of the Joint Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Governance Review Task Force. He was subsequently appointed by Virginia Governor McDonnell to be the Commonwealth’s representative on the WMATA Board of Directors where he served for three years and chaired the Governance Committee. He was then appointed by Governor McAuliffe as an At Large Member to the Commonwealth Transportation board which regulates and funds transportation in Virginia. He was then appointed to the State Go Virginia Board and the Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC) as well as the Transportation Service Delivery Advisory Committee (TSDAC). He was appointed by Governor Northam to the Board of Visitors for Norfolk State University. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Washington Gas Holding where he chairs the Governance Environment, Health and Safety Committee and serves on the Human Resources Committees.
He is an active leader in the Northern Virginia business community having served as chairman of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the Northern Virginia Business Roundtable; president of the Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation; and chairman of the Emerging Business Forum, an organization focused on enhancing minority and women entrepreneurs in business.
He has served or is serving on various commissions and committees including the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), the Commission to Restructure Virginia's Tax Structure, the Board of Directors of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors for the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, Chairman of the Compensation Board, the Governor’s Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation (VA), the Governor’s Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting (VA), and as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia.
Jim has made hundreds of speeches nationally and locally on education, business, government and political issues, and has been interviewed on numerous television, radio and news programs. He has also been quoted extensively in a wide range of newspapers and other publications. Jim has taught classes on legal writing and business units at Howard University School of Law and “Government, Politics and the Law” at the University of Virginia Law School, as well as classes on other topics through a variety of organizations including the Virginia Municipal League, the National Organization of Legal Problems in Education, the Virginia Association of Secondary Principals and the Virginia Association of School Superintendents.
Jim graduated with honors from Howard University and the Howard University School of Law and has earned honorary degrees from the University of Richmond, Virginia State University, St. Paul’s College, Randolph Macon College and Northern Virginia Community College. He served as law clerk to the Honorable Spottswood W. Robinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
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Member, appointed by Governor-elect Martin O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor-elect Anthony Brown of Maryland, Higher Education Transition Group
Member, Corporate Board of Directors, Washington Gas Light Company, 2003–present
Member, Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Chair of Governance Committee, Appointed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Member, Board of Directors, Agnes and Eugene Meyer Foundation
Member, Corporate Board of Directors, American Type Culture Collection, 2004–2006
Chairman, Board of Trustees, University of District of Columbia, 2004-2009; reappointed to the Board in 2012
Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Greater Washington Board of Trade
General Bond Counsel, District of Columbia, 1982-1990
Former Chairman, District of Columbia Retirement Board
Former Chairman, Compensation Board, Commonwealth of Virginia
Member, Governor Bob McDonnell’s Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting, 2011
Member, Board of Directors for the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
Member, Governor Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation, 2010
Chairman, Board of Directors of the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, 1992-1994
Member, Board of Directors, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Member, Legislative Committee of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce (invitation only)
Member, Virginia State Board of Education, 1985-1990
Member, State Council on Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), 2004-2012
Chairman, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, 1999-2000
Chairman, Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation, 2000-2002
Chair, Northern Virginia Business Roundtable, 2001-2004
Member, Commission to Study Virginia's State and Local Tax Structure for the 21st Century
Member, Virginia Commission on Educational Infrastructure, 1996-2000
Member, Commission on Virginia Higher Education in the 21st Century
Chair, Panel on Desegregation in Higher Education, Southern Education Foundation, 1994-2004
Virginia's Lay Member, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, 2001-2003
Chairman, Metropolitan Council of Chambers of Commerce, 1999-2000
Member, Governor Gilmore's Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education, 1998-2000
Member; Advisory Committee on the Year, 2000; Advisory Committee on Technology-Based Economic Growth in Virginia, Commonwealth of Virginia, Joint Commission on Technology and Science
Member, Advisory Board, George Washington University Virginia Campus
Member, Arts Council of Fairfax