A past President of the North Carolina State Bar, Jim Dorsett practices in the areas of commercial litigation, products liability, and tort and insurance litigation. His work includes the representation of corporations and individuals in contract and shareholder suits, claims related to decedents' estates, including will caveats, legal malpractice cases, and the defense of manufacturers in products liability cases in the state and federal courts. Jim also represents property owners in appeals from excessive tax valuations. He has appeared on behalf of air carriers and their insurers in accident and other lawsuits. A certified mediator, his work extends to alternative dispute resolution and counseling. He has successfully defended a variety of negligence actions, and has obtained substantial awards on behalf of plaintiffs in meritorious personal injury and wrongful death claims.
Jim remains active in professional and volunteer activities and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Barristers Foundation, the North Carolina State Bar Council’s Client Security Fund Board of Trustees and the American Counsel Association, for which he previously served as President. He currently serves as President of the Board of Governors of City Club Raleigh, and on the Board of Visitors of Davidson College. He has also served as President of Food Runners Collaborative, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, and on the boards of other charitable organizations. He is Past President of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Eastern North Carolina Chapter.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- American Bar Foundation
- North Carolina Chair
- North Carolina State Bar Foundation, President and Chair, Board of Trustees
- North Carolina State Bar Council, Client Security Fund Board of Trustees
- Rotary Club of Raleigh, President
- American Bar Association, House of Delegates (2004-2008)
- American Board of Trial Advocates, President, Eastern North Carolina Chapter (2012)
- American Counsel Association
- President (2005-2006)
- Secretary-Treasurer (2006-2012)
- North Carolina State Bar, President (2002-2003)
- North Carolina Bar Association
- International Society of Barristers
- North Carolina State Chair
- Past Director
- International Society of Barristers Foundation, President (2010-2012)
- Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow (2007-2014)
- North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society
- President (2011-2012)
- Board of Trustees (2005-2014)
- State of North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission, Certified Mediator
- Wake County Bar Association, Past Director and Endowment Chair
- Food Runners Collaborative, Inc., President, Board of Directors (2010)
- Davidson College, Board of Visitors
- City Club Raleigh, Board of Governors Chair and past President (2015-2019)
Honors & Awards
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- NCBA Citizen Lawyer Award (2021)
- Best Lawyers®, Commercial Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2006-2022)
- Marquis Who’s Who in American Law
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
- North Carolina Super Lawyers (2006-2020)
- Represented international privately-held soft drink manufacturer and distributor in securing $19 million settlement for violation of shareholder rights.
- Obtained $5 million award for maker of in ovo poultry inoculation system in breach of contract action against international conglomerate.
- Successfully defended west coast micro-chip designer in trade secrets litigation.
- Assisted national bank in achieving seven figure reduction in real property taxation.
- Recovered award for national food distributor against competitor for unfair trade practices.
- Secured awards for minority shareholders in closely held family business disputes.
- Obtained summary judgment for manufacturer in pharmaceutical plant explosion case.
- Secured summary judgment in condominium suit for allegedly defective piping.
- Obtained defense verdicts for vehicle manufacturers in wrongful death and injury actions.
- Recovered jury verdict of $2.4 million for teenager suffering “mild brain injury” from accident.
- Recovered $9 million structured settlement for decedent’s estate arising from trucking accident.
- Successfully defended airlines and insurers in wide variety of claims.
- Obtained jury verdict in blasting case for contractor sued by adjacent property owner.
- Obtained $7.6 million settlement for client in complex will caveat matter.
- Secured dismissal of intellectual property malpractice suit against national law firm.
- Successfully defended investors in a shopping center sued by other investors for alleged breach of contract, negligence, fraud and unfair trade practices.
News & Publications
- Hitting a New Milestone - 100 Members of Smith Anderson’s Legal Team Recognized by Best Lawyers® and Best Lawyers: Ones to WatchBest Lawyers, 08.19.2021
- North Carolina Bar Association, e-bar, 05.05.2021
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s HistoryThe 2021 Best Lawyers®, 08.20.2020
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects 24 Smith Anderson Lawyers as 2020 Super Lawyers and Nine Additional Lawyers as Rising StarsSuper Lawyers, 01.22.2020
- Smith Anderson Leads “Best Lawyers®” Rankings with 71 Recognized Lawyers and 11 “Lawyers of the Year” - Most of Any Raleigh Law FirmThe Best Lawyers in America©, 08.20.2019
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Recognizes Forty Smith Anderson Lawyers as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in 2019Super Lawyers, 01.24.2019
- The Best Lawyers in America©, 08.15.2018
- 2018 North Carolina Super Lawyers Recognizes Forty-three Smith Anderson Lawyers as Super Lawyers and Rising StarsSuper Lawyers, 01.25.2018
- The Best Lawyers in America©, 08.15.2017
- Super Lawyers, 01.20.2017
- 2017 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Recognizes 62 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.15.2016
- 2016 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Lists 60 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.17.2015
- Smith Anderson Announces 49 of its Firm Lawyers are Named a “Best Lawyer” by The Best Lawyers in America® 201308.29.2012
- Jim Dorsett Quoted in Article About the Modernization of Law Firm Office Space in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly07.05.2012
- Smith Anderson Receives the 2012 North Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve “Pro Patria” Award04.10.2012
- Scott Miskimon Gives Keynote Address to the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society; James K. Dorsett Completes Service as Society President10.27.2011
- Jim Dorsett, Smith Anderson partner, elected President of Board of Directors of Food Runners Collaborative, Inc.02.20.2009
Bar & Court Admissions
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
- Supreme Court of North Carolina and all State Courts
Wake Forest University, J.D., 1977
Davidson College, A.B., 1974