James Jolley Named a “Leader in the Law”

North Caroilna Lawyers Weekly

North Carolina Lawyers Weekly has named Smith Anderson corporate attorney James Jolly to it 2024 class of Leaders in the Law.

Leaders in the Law is an annual award that honors those lawyers who are setting the standard for other lawyers. Leaders’ accomplishments include outstanding contributions to the practice of law in North Carolina, significant achievements through the practice of law, leadership in improving the justice system, acting as role models and mentors and making essential contributions to the state’s legal community, the community at large or both.

As a partner within Smith Anderson’s Corporate practice, James brings motivation and passion to advising businesses throughout their life cycles, from start-up and growth companies to public companies, counseling them as they raise capital and grow, leading transactions as they make strategic acquisitions and assisting with the sales of companies.

And as co-chair of the firm’s recruiting committee, James works to develop relationships with and support law schools in the area, helps coordinate the firm’s Excellence in Diversity 1L Fellowship and otherwise works to support the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. 

Community service is a hallmark of James’ career, and as chair of Smith Anderson’s Pro Bono Committee, James recognizes the importance of lawyers using their skills and training to help individuals and not-for-profit organizations that cannot afford an attorney. As part of his community service, James has:

  • Coordinated multiple pro bono projects on behalf of Smith Anderson, including overseeing the firm’s eviction diversion work and its participation in the Legal Aid of North Carolina including its 4ALL Day of Service, when lawyers provide free legal answers, information and resources to callers wanting to speak to an attorney about North Carolina-related legal matters.
  • Assisted local non-profits by providing pro bono legal services through his work with several agencies and organizations.
  • Served as co-chair of the Smith Anderson Community Fund, the charitable arm of the firm, which distributed $69,000 in 2023 to Research Triangle area community-based organizations who provide services and support to underprivileged individuals, children and families in need of essential human requirements. In total, nearly $600,000 has been distributed through the Fund’s history.
  • Served as Vice-Chair and works on the Board of Directors of Activate Good, a non-profit organization that connects individuals, groups and businesses in the Greater Triangle to ways to do good through service and civic action.
  • Helped oversee and grow the fund that supports the activities of the UNC Law Pro Bono Program, a program that empowers UNC Law students to assist attorneys in providing high quality, low-cost legal services to individuals in need, build skills for practice and develop a lifelong commitment to pro bono work. James chaired the initial group that worked to establish the fund.
  • Served on the North Carolina Bar Foundation’s NC Free Legal Answers taskforce. NC Free Legal Answers is an online platform that enables attorney volunteers to provide answers to legal questions from North Carolina residents.

As a result of his service, James has been elected to the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, which celebrates those attorneys who have met their professional responsibility to increase access to justice for those in need.

James advises companies on a variety of matters and focuses his practice on mergers & acquisitions; public offerings and private placements of securities; corporate governance and compliance matters; and commercial contracting. James also advises NYSE- and NASDAQ-listed public companies in various industries with respect to public disclosure and securities law compliance matters, NYSE and NASDAQ listing requirements, corporate governance and general corporate matters.

The entire 2024 Leaders in the Law list can be viewed here.


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