Jim leads our Private Company Counseling group; is a member of the firm’s Personal and Succession Planning group; and handles numerous state and local tax matters.

Jim counsels his clients on a broad spectrum of legal issues. His extensive knowledge in various matters includes — but is not limited to — mergers and acquisitions, private equity infusions, equity and equity-based compensation, corporate governance, financing arrangements, strategic alliances, and restructuring and/or reorganization of businesses.

Jim is privileged to serve and collaborate with numerous business owners, senior executives and successful individuals in managing their personal and business succession planning strategies.

Jim counsels clients regarding the administration of complex estates and trusts; preparation of related gift, estate and income tax returns; and defense of tax audits and other tax controversies. He represents both trusts and trustees and beneficiaries who were treated inappropriately by trusts. He has solved disputes and developed strategies to resolve intergenerational family disputes.

Jim understands the unique issues that are involved in succession planning for senior executives and owners of privately-held businesses, as well as successful individuals and their families involving multi-generational wealth transfer.

Jim's practice includes representing parties in state and local tax matters, including defense of assessments, tax controversies, and tax planning.

Jim takes the time to learn about his client’s needs, listens to his client’s concerns, and offers practical advice to real world problems in order for his clients to achieve success.

Jim is licensed in Ohio; is admitted to practice before the Unites States Tax Court; and is a certified public accountant (inactive).



  • Represent co-founder/co-owner of a privately-held business in acquisition of control interest from another co-founder/co-owner.
  • Represent founders/50% owners of a specialty manufacturing business in the $315 million+ sale of the business to a private equity fund.
  • Represent founder in sale of highly successful privately-held enterprise to a competitor backed by a nationally known private equity fund.
  • Develop strategies for a nationally recognized non-profit to finance a $30+ million exhibit.
  • Represent borrower in $20 million financing of business expansion.
  • Represent party to national broadcast contracts and related sponsorship arrangements.
  • Represent CEOs and other C-level executives of private equity backed businesses in negotiating employment packages and separations from service, including equity incentives (phantom stock, restricted stock, etc.) and sales of related businesses.
  • Negotiate numerous commercial contracts, statements of work and master service agreements on behalf of public and privately-held companies.
  • Represent owners of privately-held companies in the sale, restructuring and/or reorganization of businesses to resolve controversies among owners, deceased owner's family members, and/or third parties. Resolve related complex inter-related personal, fiduciary, tax and business considerations.
  • Represent a minority (20%) owner in the sale of two companies, each owning a number of fast-casual restaurants, to resolve issues arising due to the minority owner’s involuntary termination from employment by the companies.
  • Resolve non-business family disputes between siblings by effectuating the sale of a 50% interest in end of several inter-related companies by one sibling to the other.
  • Sales of multiple domestic and foreign automobile dealerships to third parties to implement owner’s’ personal and business succession planning goals.
  • Raise equity and debt for several companies utilizing resources of regional technology oriented incubator, related funds, and specialty financing sources associated with the State of Ohio.
Succession Planning
  • Multi-generational gift and estate planning for founder/CEO of national service provider and his family. Design and implement partnerships, limited liability companies and irrevocable trusts to achieve gift and estate planning goals.
  • Design and structure a limited liability company to facilitate transfer of partial interests in a family compound/vacation property to preserve family ownership for extended generations.
  • Gift and estate planning for real estate entrepreneur/developer, including use of irrevocable trusts and other family wealth transfer vehicles.
  • Develop memorandum of understanding among donors, public charity and educational institution to create and endow a fund to provide scholarships for graduate students.
  • Administer estates and trusts of founders/owners/senior officers of privately-held businesses, including post-mortem sales of businesses.
  • Integrate business succession goals of business owners/founders and senior executives with their estate planning goals to develop comprehensive plans, including buy-sell agreements, management succession plans, and related multi-generational personal estate plans.
  • Represent affluent families with complex personal and financial circumstances, including highly appreciated, illiquid assets (real estate, concentrated equity positions, etc.), and non-pro rata asset allocation goals (arising from multiple marriages and other business/personal situations).
State and Local Tax
  • Represent out of state, internet based retailers against assessment of Ohio commercial activity tax.
  • Obtain approximate $20 million reduction in value of distribution center for Ohio real property tax purposes on behalf of a national retailer.
  • Successfully prosecute claim that landfill gas to energy conversion facility qualifies for certain Ohio tax incentives.
  • Defend federal, state and local income tax returns filed by entrepreneurs and business owners. Obtain favorable resolutions and/or penalty abatements.


  • Jim has written articles and speaks before community and professional groups on issues associated with his practice areas.
  • AV® Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell since 1993
  • Named in Legal 500 United States (Middle-Market M&A), 2015 to 2017
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2007 to present; named Lawyer of the Year, 2018 Columbus – Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law
  • Super Lawyers by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine, 2015, 2017 and 2018
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Columbus Bar Association
  • American Institute of CPAs

Community Activities

  • Columbus Zoo Board Immediate Past Chair, 2017-present; Chair, 2015-2016; Trustee, 1995-present; Treasurer, 2012-2015; Chair of Finance/Investment Committee, 2004-2015
  • General Counsel, American Wine Society, 2010-2017
  • Counsel, Columbus Bar Foundation, 2011-present