Gordon R. Smith

Gordon R. Smith: Attorney with Verrill Dana LLP
  • Counsel at Verrill Dana LLP (129 Attorneys)
  • One Portland Square, P.O. Box 586, Portland, ME 04112-0586
    View Gordon R. Smith's office location
  • Gordon is part of the leading environmental practice in the state. Gordon’s work is focused on wind energy development, land use, green building, and administrative litigation. In particular, Gordon has represented wind power clients in all phases of project development, from federal, state and municipal permitting to appellate work before local boards of appeals, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, state Superior Court, and the Maine Supreme Court.

    Gordon has also represented clients on a range of permitting and litigation matters related to both conservation and development concerns. In his administrative appellate work, Gordon has successfully brought lawsuits to block environmentally damaging industrial and commercial development. Gordon has advised a major conservation consortium on common law and statutory riparian rights issues related to the removal of three dams in the Penobscot River to restore the state’s native anadromous fish populations. Gordon has also worked on establishing CERCLA liability against an international mining company for the cleanup costs at one of two Superfund sites in Maine.

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“Gordon Smith comes recommended for his work with renewables clients on development and permitting matters, as well as handling environmental litigation. Clients are impressed with his ability to ‘think deeply and not superficially.’”

- Chambers USA 2017

Gordon brings together legal experience and a results-oriented, common sense approach to provide clients with regulatory solutions, court victories and strategic advice on a range of environmental and land use issues. Gordon fights to achieve sane and beneficial outcomes for his clients, allowing them to do what they want to do on their property.

His practice includes particular experience in:

•Resolution of land use issues and real estate disputes
•Shoreland and coastal land use issues
•Renewable energy development
•Infrastructure permitting, financing and operation
•Federal and state wildlife protection statutes
•Civil, administrative and appellate litigation related to environmental, land use and real estate disputes in state and federal courts

In the words of one litigation client:

“I worked with Gordon Smith on a landmark case involving property rights. This case was 15 years in the making and quite complex, involving science, history, property law, economics and very old legal cases. I have worked with other lawyers in the past and my stomach would be in a knot walking into their office. Working with Gordon, on the other hand, has been a great experience. He is patient, compassionate, incredibly smart (he quickly picks up on information outside his own field) and he is a great listener. He works efficiently, not wasting time or money, but thoroughly. He sees a path to the correct strategy and pursues it with integrity. If I ever have another legal matter for which I need help, I will run, not walk to his office and hope he has time to take it on.

Gordon also counsels developers on the best ways to navigate the regulatory process in order to get projects built. In particular, Gordon has represented wind and solar power developers in all phases of project development, from land acquisition, to obtaining local, state and federal permits, to supporting project finance and successfully defending projects against litigation in state and federal courts.

In the words of one wind power client:

“Gordy has helped us develop multiple grid-scale wind energy projects over the course of almost a decade. I always appreciate Gordy’s counsel. Permitting strategy can be tricky, and he has continually guided us in the right direction time and time again. Legal experience aside, Gordy is naturally very intelligent and pragmatic. He often points out nuances that would probably be overlooked by most people, and this talent is especially useful when it comes to strategic planning. In addition, when a project has not been getting the attention it needed, Gordy has jumped in and acted as a de facto project manager. Gordy’s great on the ground too - I have seen him calmly diffuse irate opponents at public meetings on multiple occasions. The bottom line: Gordy has played a crucial role in getting our projects built and operational and has been an essential member of our permitting team for years.

Gordon serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Maine School of Law, where he has taught Real Estate Transactions and Land Use Law.

When not being an attorney, Gordon likes to do house carpentry, landscape, play tennis, hike, bike, ski, grill, and sip whiskey. Most important, Gordon is lucky enough to go home to his wonderful wife Caitlin, their adorable daughter Scarlet and the family cat who answers to both Scout and Cuddles.


Recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business under
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America under Environmental Law
Selected by peers for inclusion in New England Rising Stars under
Environmental and Land Use/Zoning

Public Service

Volunteer Attorney, Maine Homeless Legal Project
Pro Bono Legal Counsel Provider, The Nature Conservancy


Analysis and discussion of legal issues pertaining to the environment and natural resources.
Keep current on energy-related laws and trends.
Ranked in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019.


Defending Constitutionality of the Wind Energy Act
Verrill Dana successfully defended permits in which the constitutionality of the Wind Energy Act was challenged as well as numerous decisions involving the interpretation and application of sound and scenic standards that govern wind energy developments.
Generator Lead Lines - Wind Power Projects
Verrill Dana’s energy group has permitted more than 15O miles of 115 kV electric transmission lines for wind power projects in Maine.
Goose Rocks Beach Litigation
Representation of coastal property owner before Maine Supreme Court on appeal of decision that awarded title to Goose Rocks Beach to Town of Kennebunkport.
Independence Wind: Wind Power Development
We represented Independence Wind in the development of its Record Hill Wind project in Roxbury, Maine. The Record Hill Wind project is a 22-turbine, 50-megawatt facility located along the ridgelines of Record Hill, Flathead Mountain, and Partridge Peak.
LUPC Ruling Reversal

Obtained reversal of 10-year-old Land Use Planning Commission ruling for Moosehead Lake landowner. New determination found that landowner’s property was consistent with LUPC rules and allowed landowner to convey family camp to another family member.
Major Wireless Telecommunications Company: Integration of Acquired Competitor

We represented a major wireless telecommunications company in a reconfiguration of telecommunications infrastructure to allow the integration of recently acquired competitor.
Major Wireless Telecommunications Company: Network Build-Outs
We represented a major wireless telecommunications company in 3G and 4G network build-outs in Maine.
Oceanfront Property Neighbor Litigation
Representation of an oceanfront property owner in litigation against new neighbor who claimed part of client’s coastal land, the right to use client’s driveway and the right to dictate client’s landscaping.
Ownership of Intertidal Rockweed
Verrill Dana represents coastal landowners in Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, a landmark case pending before the Maine Supreme Court that will determine whether attached intertidal rockweed is private or public property.
Patriot Renewables: Wind Power Development
We represented Patriot Renewables in the development of several wind power projects in western Maine.
Shoreland Zone Development and Land Use
Verrill Dana represents landowners and developers in siting structures in the shoreland zoning and ensuring ongoing compliance with the restrictions that govern clearing and development in the shoreland zone.
Solar Energy: Acquisition of Grid-Scale Project in Brunswick, Maine
Verrill Dana represented Diversified Communications in the acquisition of a newly built 2.5 million solar array in Brunswick, Maine.
Waste Management: Solid Waste and Air Permitting
We represented Waste Management on the solid waste and air permitting associated with its landfill in Norridgewock, Maine, including the permitting of its Crossroads landfill gas to energy facility located there.
Wind Power Development
We have represented Maine’s major wind energy developers, including TransCanada, First Wind, Patriot Renewables, Independence Wind, Novatus, Pattern Energy and Everpower, in the development, permitting, construction and operation of their wind power projects in Maine. Our Environmental Group has been instrumental in wind power development since its inception in Maine, not only because we represent over 90 percent of the wind power capacity in the State, but because we have shaped the legislation, regulation and judicial precedent that will make it possible for wind energy development to continue to flourish in the future.


May 29, 2018
A Fish Called Rockweed
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

April 25, 2018
In Maine, a Court Battle Over Slimy Fortunes
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

June 30, 2017
Legal Seaweed: Shoreline Access Suit Caught Up in Details of Colonial MA Ordinance
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

April 10, 2017
Court Battles, Conservation and a Cornered Market: Rockweed Industry in State of Flux
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 21, 2017
Judge Rules that Rockweed Harvesters Need Landowners’ Permission
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 21, 2017
Judge: Landowners Can Prohibit Seaweed Harvesting on Private Property
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 21, 2017
Rockweed Harvest Case is Win for Landowners
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 16, 2017
Judge: Rockweed on Private Land Isn’t Public Property
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 9, 2017
No One Knows Who Owns Rockweed in Maine
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 2017
Rockweed and the Public Trust in Court
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

December 28, 2016
Verrill Dana Environmental Attorneys Contribute to “A Practical Guide to Land Use in Maine”
Press Releases
Juliet T. Browne, Scott D. Anderson, Gordon R. Smith

October 30, 2016
The Value of Rockweed is Rising - As Are Tensions Over its Ownership
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

June 26, 2016
Commissioners Support Milton Township Wind Farm Proposal
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith, Sara Vanderwood

January 19, 2016
Washington County Landowners File Suit to Block Rockweed Harvest on their Shore
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

January 8, 2016
Rockweed Lawsuit Escalates Debate Over Intertidal Ownership
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

September 25, 2015
Rockweed Ownership Lawsuit Eyed
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

June 17, 2015
Ten Wind Farms and Counting: Developers Defy Dogged Opposition
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

March 6, 2015
Block Island Financing is Wind in Offshore Energy’s Sails
Media Mentions
Gordon R. Smith

July 10, 2014
Verrill Dana’s Environmental Group Launches New Blog
Press Releases
Scott D. Anderson, Juliet T. Browne, Martha C. Gaythwaite, Keith E. Glidden, Gordon R. Smith, Mathew J. Todaro, Calvin K. Woo

March 25, 2011
Maine Supreme Court Denies Appeals in Record Hill and Oakfield Wind Power Projects
Press Releases
Juliet T. Browne, Gordon R. Smith

June 4, 2010
Maine Board of Environmental Protection Rejects Abutters’ Appeal of Oakfield Wind Power Project
Press Releases
Juliet T. Browne, Gordon R. Smith

April 6, 2010
First Wind’s Stetson II Wind Energy Project Begins Commercial Operations
Press Releases
Juliet T. Browne, Anthony M. Calcagni, Gordon R. Smith

March 19, 2010
Board of Environmental Protection Rejects Abutters’ Appeal of Record Hill Wind Permit
Press Releases
Juliet T. Browne, Gordon R. Smith

March 12, 2010
Maine Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal of Rollins Wind Power Project
Press Releases
Juliet T. Browne, Scott D. Anderson, Gordon R. Smith


October 28, 2016
A Practical Guide to Land Use in Maine
Published Works
Scott Anderson, Juliet Browne, and Gordon Smith

May/June 2015
Birds and Bats and Blades
Published Works
Gordon Smith

June 9, 2014
The Application of Migratory Bird Protection Statutes to Wind Power Projects
Published Works
Gordon Smith


March 13, 2017
Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Zoning and Development
Speaking Engagements
Gordon R. Smith

March 23, 2016
AWEA Wind Project Siting and Environmental Compliance Conference
Speaking Engagements
Gordon R. Smith

Areas of Practice (6)

  • Environmental & Land Use
  • Energy
  • Energy - Judicial Appeals
  • Energy - Wind
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Coastal & Shoreland

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(207) 253-4926  Phone
(207) 253-4927  Fax
University Attended:
University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1998
Law School Attended:
Georgetown University, J.D., 2006
Year of First admission:
2012, U.S. Court of Appeals (First Circuit); 2011, U.S. District Court for the District of Maine; 2006, Maine

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Portland, Maine

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