James M. Doerfler

James M. Doerfler



  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 1992, J.D., Order of the Coif
  • University of Notre Dame, 1989, B.A., magna cum laude, Economics

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court - Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Sixth Circuit

Since joining Reed Smith, Jim has developed a diverse practice involving a broad range of commercial, industrial and energy-related litigation and transactional matters. His practice regularly involves all aspects of project counsel work for private and public commercial and industrial construction projects.

He regularly drafts and negotiates commercial owner-contractor, owner-construction manager and/or owner-architect agreement documents for his clients. His drafting role has included both custom-drafted agreements and adapted or modified versions of industry-standard construction contract forms, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ConsensusDOCs and the Engineer Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) templates. His most recent large-scale transactional project counsel experience has involved a central role in the planning, drafting and negotiation of the program management, design-build construction and equipment supply agreements for a major new “greenfield” automotive manufacturing facility in the Southeastern United States for a European automotive manufacturer.

Jim has also been a presenter on the subject of public-private partnerships (P3) in Pennsylvania under its newly-enacted P3 transportation law and on public procurement compliance issues.

Representative litigation cases in the construction sector have involved construction payment, defect and/or delay claims regarding power plants, steel mills, pharmaceutical plants, wastewater treatment facilities, schools, courthouses and commercial office buildings.

Employment History

  • 1998 - Reed Smith
  • 1995 - Hoffman Electric, Inc.
    • Project manager, estimator and corporate secretary for a commercial electrical contractor – Responsibilities included overseeing numerous commercial construction projects in which the company served as subcontractors to general contractors or worked for corporate and institutional organizations directly
  • 1994 - Zeiger & Carpenter (Columbus, Ohio)
    • Litigation Associate – Defended class action lawsuits against major automobile manufacturers in various jurisdictions; helped obtain commercial free speech decision protecting automobile manufacturer marketing program

Professional Affiliations

  • ABA Forum on Construction Law
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Construction Law Section – Council Member (elected three year term)
  • American Inns of Court
  • Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera – Corporate Counsel


Jim and his wife, Theresa (B.A. Notre Dame, 1989), reside in Pittsburgh with their four daughters. Jim is a competitive distance runner who has completed six marathons in recent years, with five Boston marathon qualifying times. Jim has also rowed with a local Men’s Masters crew club team, and is a devoted follower of the University of Notre Dame Women’s Rowing Team, for which his oldest daughter rowed collegiately.