Honorary Board Member
Jim Smith joined The Southern Group’s Tallahassee office in 2011 after serving Florida and its citizens for more than 40 years. Elected to two terms as Florida’s attorney general, Jim was known for his zeal in fighting crime and protecting Florida’s consumers.
During his time as attorney general, Jim successfully argued the “Cameras in the Courtroom” case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which permitted states to allow the live televising of criminal trials. Jim has also served as Florida’s secretary of state (twice), chief of staff to the governor, deputy secretary of commerce, and assistant secretary of state.
Throughout his long career in government, Jim has developed expertise across numerous policy areas, including agriculture, appropriations, banking and finance, campaigns, economic and business development, environment and sustainability, insurance, local government, military, sports and entertainment, strategic planning, and water.
Jim has been recognized for his commitment to Florida through honors and awards such as: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Florida State University; Conservationist of the Year Award from Florida Audubon Society; Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Stetson University; Stetson University Distinguished Alumni Award; Friend of Education Award; Florida Teaching Profession-National Education Association; President’s Award from the Florida Education Association; Furtherance of Justice Award from the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association; and Meritorious Service Award from the Florida Silver-Haired Legislature, as well as a U.S. Department of Justice Award for Effectiveness in Drug Enforcement.
Jim has served on many task forces and boards, including chairing the Governor’s Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform and the Governor’s Commission for Reform of the Corrections System, co-chairing the Florida Election Reform Task Force, and serving on the Commission on the Future of Florida’s Environment, the Governor’s Task Force to Promote Ethics in Government, the Governor’s Commission on the Statewide Prosecution Function, and Fort Freedom. Jim has also served Florida’s education system as a member of the Board of Regents for the state university system and as chairman and vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees for Florida State University.
Jim received a BS in public administration and government from Florida State University and a JD from Stetson University of Law. He resides in Tallahassee with his wife, Carole.