Jim represents local, national and international clients in all facets of real estate, including purchase and sale of property, condominiums, obtaining state and local zoning/permitting  approvals, leasing between landlords and tenants, joint venture development agreements, construction contracts, EB-5 investments, and commercial and private financing. He also regularly advises individuals and small businesses in company formation, contracts, restructuring, and business permitting.  

Jim’s practice covers multifamily, retail, industrial, hospitality, entertainment, and technology industries. 

Drawing on his experience living and working in Beijing, China, Jim provides a unique cultural understanding between US and Chinese businesses. Jim is proficient in written and spoken Mandarin.

Jim is also a part-time adjunct professor at Boston University Questrom School of Business in the Markets, Public Policy and Law Department.

Representative Transactions 

Acquisitions and Sales:

  • A joint venture development of 15 condominium units in Andrew Square, South Boston.

  • A Chinese real estate developer’s $7 million dollar acquisition of a ground lease development in Quincy, Massachusetts.

  • A regional developer’s $7.6 million dollar acquisition of a former GE industrial site in Lynn, Massachusetts.

  • A regional developer’s $10 million sale of a light industrial property in Portland, Maine.

  • A local restaurateur’s acquisition and permitting of a restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts.

International Investments:

  • A Chinese investor in a joint venture with a local developer for the acquisition and development of a $120 million mixed use development in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

  • An international client in the formation of an investment fund for the acquisition of robotics companies.

  • An EB-5 Regional Center with private financing and lending for projects in Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts.


  • A restaurant tenant with a complex lease regarding a boutique hotel located in downtown Boston.

  • A digital advertising company with its leases in Boston, MA, New York, NY, and San Francisco, CA.

  • Frequently represented a commercial landlord in managing and drafting of office and light industrial leases.


  • Obtained approval from MassDOT for a national self-storage company in its development of a site in Waltham, Massachusetts.

  • Obtained approvals for a national gas station and convenience store retailer before the City of Boston Zoning Board of Approval and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

  • Frequently represented a Massachusetts solar development company with various solar projects throughout Massachusetts.

  • Obtained a liquor license and common victualer license for a sushi restaurant in Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts.

  • Obtained a liquor license and other business permits for a national food-chain in Danvers, Massachusetts.


  • A new light-industrial, research and development office sharing company with respect to its formation, financing, leasing, and general corporate work.

  • NetVirta, Inc. in company formation, technology start-up, and financing issues.

  • A regional developer in refinance and construction contracting issues throughout New England.

  • Frequently represented franchisees in negotiations of their franchise agreements.

  • Sun Beatzz in formation of their band and related contracts.


Named “Boston Rising Star” by National Law Journal in 2015

Named a “Super Lawyers New England Rising Star” for Real Estate by Boston Magazine in 2013-2018.

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Executive Editor

Speaking Engagements & Publications

Chinese investment in Boston commercial real estate expected to continue, by James B. Heffernan, New England Real Estate Journal, March 2016

Community Involvement

Technical Assistance Panels, sponsored by MassDevelopment and ULI Boston/New England Clinton Co-Chair, 2017; Leominster Co-Chair. 2016; Saugus Co-Chair, 2015; Westfield, Chair, 2015

Lawyers Have Heart 5K Road Race, Boston

Professional Affiliations

Boston Bar Association

Real Estate Bar Association

Urban Land Institute (ULI)