James M. Weaver

James Weaver has been assisting clients with government relations, including incentives and relocation packages for nearly 30 years. An attorney with a passion for policy and politics, James delivers strategic advice and counsel to clients seeking assistance understanding, interacting, or doing business with the government. From traditional lobbying, to providing regulatory counsel, to leading complex public affairs efforts, to dealing with a crisis, James provides insightful guidance to his clients using his extensive experience and knowledge of how government works. James has spent years building relationships and cultivating a reputation for honesty and excellence. He is particularly active in the following areas:

  • Incentive programs and economic development
  • Outside general counsel
  • Natural resources (mining, environmental, energy)
  • Real estate development
  • Transportation
  • Professional sports

Many of Tennessee's largest and highest profile businesses rely on James as their primary government affairs advisor.  Representative clients and industries include:

  • Energy
  • Professional sports teams
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturers
  • Mining
  • Development/Retail
  • Waste management
  • Communications
  • Hospitality
  • Significant non-profit entities
  • Trade associations

James has spent years developing close relationships with elected officials and senior business leaders across the state. These relationships provide James with unique perspectives and unparalleled ability to solve a client’s problems. As part of his practice, James works with clients across the region with the site selection, incentives and permitting, and public, community and government affairs aspects of controversial projects. A charismatic country boy from a small town in West Tennessee with an innovative and influential spirit, James also delivers value by offering creative options and ideas to clients seeking to form, expand, relocate, or revitalize their business.

Chambers USA recognizes James as a leading Environmental attorney, and Best Lawyers lists him in the area of Government Relations Practice. He also has been recognized for several years in Business Tennessee's "Top 150 Lawyers in Tennessee." Business Tennessee has also recognized James multiple times as one of the state's "100 Most Powerful People" and one of Tennessee's 100 most powerful people. The Nashville Business Journal has described James as the City's "most prolific Metro lobbyist" and listed him as a member of Nashville's "Power 100." He was most recently listed as a "2017 Mid-South Super Lawyer."


  • Represented numerous clients involved in significant projects throughout Tennessee including the Cool Springs and Berry Farm's commercial developments in Franklin, Tenn., the Turkey Creek commercial development in Knoxville, Tenn. and downtown Nashville's Viridian, ICON, Encore and Velocity projects
  • Represents numerous professional sports franchises and negotiated the relocation/incentive deals for every pro sports franchise in Middle Tennessee
  • Served as lead outside counsel for development of the Tennessee Lottery
  • Has led numerous corporate headquarter relocation efforts
  • Has led efforts to develop various energy projects in the state, including, natural gas, hydro, biomass, wind and solar
  • Extensive experience with the use of various incentive mechanisms available in Tennessee including the use of Tax Increment Financing, PILOTs, and TDZs
  • Has led teams siting landfills, quarries and pipelines


  • Chairman, Government Affairs Committee and General Counsel for the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville
  • General Counsel, Tennessee Road Builders Association
  • Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • Member, Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations
  • Tennessee Editor for Matthew Bender's Brownfields Law and Practice treatise
  • Former Vice-Chair, Government Relations for the Nashville Chamber of Commerce
  • Former General Counsel, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Former Secretary/Treasurer and past Member, Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association

Prior affiliations:

  • Law Clerk for Chief Justice William J. Harbison of the Tennessee Supreme Court, 1988


  • J.D., University of Memphis, 1988
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University, 1984

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Up Close

James looks forward to spending time outdoors and enjoys deer and quail hunting and fishing. James gets back to his West Tennessee roots via a giant “pig cooker” on his Cheatham County farm that he uses at his annual city wide political Bar-B-Q. He is also a huge Titans fan and relishes both NFL and college football. 

James grew up in an "extraordinarily" small town in west Tennessee and attended college on an Army ROTC scholarship. The son of a barber/farmer and hairdresser, James sold computer forms in Nashville before going to law school. A history buff, he enjoys reading works on the Civil War, World War II and his favorite U.S. President, LBJ.