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Headshot of James I. Gilbert IV

James I. Gilbert IV

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Practice Areas:

  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning and Asset Protection
  • Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
  • Litigation

I and my family have a long history at Smith Mountain Lake, even before the lake existed. In the mid 1950’s, my grandfather, J.I Gilbert, Jr. was relocated by Appalachian Power Company to act as a right-of-way agent (responsible for acquiring real estate rights) for the Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Project. As a child, I spent summers, weekends, and almost every holiday at SML. In essence, the lake and I grew up together. In 1995, I graduated from law school, and have practiced real estate law in this area ever since. I have now been helping clients at SML for almost 30 years.

Here are a few things about me that you might find interesting:


I graduated from Roanoke College in 1992 with a B.A. in English and then graduated from The T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond in December, 1994.

Community Involvement

I have served as a past board member of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the Rocky Mount Community Partnership for Revitalization. I currently serve as a Board Member for Lake Christian Ministries.


I have been nominated to Super Lawyers Magazine for several years in a row in the category of real estate. Super Lawyers is a peer rating service (nominations made by other lawyers) that selects the top 5% of attorneys for inclusion on the list each year.

While I am very grateful to my colleagues for their recognition, I am even more appreciative of the awards from my local community. I have been awarded First Place as the Best Attorney at SML by the readers of the Smith Mountain Eagle Newspaper. I have also been awarded Best Law Firm in the “Best of the Lake” vote by the readers of the Laker Magazine.


For 20 years, I was the owner of the local equine facility “Shadow Ridge Stables” and competed locally in team roping (a rodeo event). Recently, however, I hung up the spurs and picked up the golf clubs. My office is the Signature Sponsor of the Smith Mountain Lake Invitational Golf Tournament held by our local Chamber of Commerce. And of course, living at the lake does mean that my commute to work is sometimes by boat.

Ancillary Businesses

In addition to the practice of law, my wife and I are involved in residential real estate rehabbing (buying a house that needs some TLC, giving it TLC, and then hoping a buyer appreciates all of that TLC). I am also a partner in Elite Title of Virginia (a local settlement company at Smith Mountain Lake) and First Virginia Title Services (a more regional company handling title examination services throughout southwest Virginia). I also act as outside counsel and handle claims for First American Title Insurance Company.

Vacation Favorites

Tulum, Mexico and the Florida Keys


Two German Shepherds – Cheyenne and Cherokee
Pets Cheyenne and Cherokee
Pets Cheyenne and Cherokee