International Society of Primerus Law Firms
James R. Bright
Practice Areas:

Cleveland Attorney
James R. Bright

Phone: 216.696.4200


Languages: English

Jim Bright, has practiced law since 1976. His practice is focused on probate and trust administration; estate planning for individuals and family groups; estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning; charitable gift planning; income tax planning; and providing counsel to trustees of private foundations on administration, initial formation and tax qualification. Jim served as President of Spieth, Bell, McCurdy & Newell Co., L.P.A. after 2009.

Jim is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. He has served on the Board of Directors/Trustees of many charitable institutions in Cleveland, including The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Play House. He has also been a member of the Princeton University Planned Giving Advisory Committee since 2002. Jim has also served as Honorary Consul for the Duchy of Luxembourg since 1995, and has been a partner in Cleveland Social Venture Partners since 2004. Jim was also President of the Cleveland Racquet Club in 1982.

Practice Areas

  • Probate and Estate Administration
  • Trusts and Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Fiduciary Representation
  • Tax Law and Planning
  • Charitable Planning and Giving


  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1976)
  • Princeton University, A.B. (1971)

Admissions & Associations

  • State of Ohio
  • American Bar Association
    • Member, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
    • Member, General Practice Section
    • Member, Taxation Section
  • Ohio State Bar Association
    • Member, Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Member, Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Section

Awards & Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent®
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2006-present) for work in:
    • Trusts and Estates
  • Ohio Super Lawyers® (2006 – present)
  • Cleveland’s Top Rated Lawyers

Professional Involvement

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Community Activities

  • Investment Committee, Chair, Cleveland Museum of Natural History (2010 – present)
  • Board of Trustees, Cleveland Museum of Natural History (2004 – present)
  • Cleveland Social Venture Partners (2004 – present)
  • Planned Giving Advisory Committee, Princeton University (2002 – present)
  • Foundation Committee, Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights
  • Honorary Consul, Duchy of Luxembourg (1995 – present)

Recent Articles & Presentations

  • Social Security, The CMBA’s Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law Section’s 44th Annual Estate Planning Institute 2017
  • Social Security, Ohio ACTEC 2017 Meeting

Contact This Firm

Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell LLP

1375 East 9th Street
Suite 900
Cleveland, OH 44114
United States

Law Firm Contact: David M. Lenz

Tel: 216.696.4200

Fax: 216.696.7303



Member Since: 2005

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