Jim is a firm leader who successfully helps clients navigate the construction process and resolve commercial disputes.

Jim is there for his clients whether it is contract negotiations and preparation, construction and payment disputes, construction defects and property damage casualties, mechanic’s liens and surety claims, construction claims, bid protests, government contract disputes, land use citations and zoning appeals, or other commercial disputes.

He regularly appears in state and federal court as well as arbitration panels and boards of appeal representing the needs of contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, owners, developers, engineers, architects, consultants, insurers, sureties, and many other businesses. Jim makes it a point to thoroughly understand his client’s business so that he can proactively advise clients on business practices, but, when necessary, resolve any disputes in the most efficient manner possible. Many of Jim’s engagements involve projects of local, regional, and even international importance, and he is able to use these experiences to help clients with every new problem.

Jim serves as legal counsel to two of the largest construction industry organizations in Virginia: the Associated General Contractors of Virginia, and the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance. Through his knowledge of construction law, he helps craft, evaluate and advocate new legislation impacting the construction industry and works to advance the industry throughout Virginia.

Jim assists clients in land use and zoning issues. He is the former Chair of the Norfolk Board of Zoning Appeals and understands how to work with local planning staff and zoning boards to accomplish the owner’s objective.

As a member of the firm’s Executive Board responsible for the governance and operations of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black, he keenly understands the needs of business owners. He is the past president of the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association, one of the largest and oldest local bar associations in Virginia. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he was an artillery officer in the United States Army and the Virginia National Guard.

Jim’s wife and three daughters are all smarter, more accomplished and much better looking than him. Accustomed to confrontation, on weekends you will find him on soccer fields all over Virginia as a referee. Otherwise, Jim finds peace in biking, hiking, golfing or being outdoors with his dogs and family.

Representative Matters

  • Won jury trial exceeding $1.9M plus interest and attorney’s fees for general contractor against quality assurance inspector for construction of a bridge on Interstate I-81. W.C. English, Inc. v. Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP, 6:17cv00018 (W.D. Va. 2021). Also prevailed at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 934 F.3d 398 (4th Cir. 2019).
  • Represented terminal operator following catastrophic fire at a wood pellet storage and shipping terminal with damages exceeding $90M.
  • Represented general contractor for the construction of the Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach Virginia in dispute with drilled shaft foundation subcontractor and city – successfully resolved through mediation.
  • Represented coal terminal in dispute with engineering company concerning premature corrosion damage to concrete pier following repairs.
  • Won summary judgment against tax preparation franchisor in commercial dispute concerning franchise lease locations. JTH Tax, Inc. v. Shahabuddin, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158072 (E.D. Va. 2021).
  • Successfully represented steel erector following a catastrophic collapse during construction of a large warehouse and processing facility.
  • Successfully represented general contractor in arbitration in dispute with steel erector for the construction of a large facility for Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Prevailed in arbitration for general contractor in commercial dispute with joint venture partner over fraudulent accounting and misappropriation of funds from nationwide multiple award construction contract program on U.S. Army bases.
  • Successfully resolved claims of differing site conditions and defective plans with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concerning large earthwork and structures contract.
  • Successfully represented general contractor for a signature bridge in an East Coast city in dispute with deep foundation subcontractor.
  • Successfully represented precast concrete supplier in dispute with general contractor for another signature bridge in another East Coast city.
  • Negotiate several subcontracts and resolved disputes with Hampton Roads Constructor Partners for portions of work on the widening of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel – Virginia’s largest construction project.
  • Represented nationwide commercial general contractor for private student housing in construction defect lawsuit concerning water intrusion.
  • Represented developer in appeal of decision of Board of Zoning Appeals concerning permitted uses.
  • Successfully Represented truck terminal facility in land use dispute of permitted uses.
  • Successfully Represented commercial landowner regarding land-use citations and dispute concerning obligations to fund infrastructure projects with City.
  • Successfully represented contractor in resolving dispute with competitor over claims of tortious interference of contract and trade secret violations.

Attorney Perspectives

Speaking Engagements

  • ACGVA | Changes to Construction Law: Impacts of the 2024 General Assembly Session on Your Company
    May 21, 2024
  • National Association of Women in Construction | New Virginia Law on Contract Payments
    February 15, 2023