James R. Bright

James R. Bright


216.696.4200 x1012


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.

Licensed to Practice



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

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


Professional Involvement

  • Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)

Awards & Honors

  • Best Lawyers® 2006-present
    • Trusts and Estates

James Bright-Best Lawyers 2020

  • Ohio Super Lawyers® 2006-present

  • Cleveland’s Top Rated Lawyers

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

  • Considerations for Individual Professional Trustees, The Estate Planning Council of Cleveland, January 2020
  • Social Security, The CMBA’s Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law Section’s 44th Annual Estate Planning Institute, 2017
  • Social Security, Ohio ACTEC Meeting, 2017

Areas of Practice

Licensed to Practice


Awards & Recognition

ACTEC Primerus Worlds Finest Law Firms Super Lawyers