James D. Chiafullo

James D. Chiafullo



Bar/Court Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southwest District of Texas
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal


  • J.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1983
  • B.A., with honors, Economics, University of Pittsburgh, 1980

James D. Chiafullo


Jim is a Director in the Business Services Group and heads the Commercial Finance practice of the firm. “Creative and committed,” is how Jim’s clients describe his approach to the practice of law. Ask any of them and they will tell you that he is a trusted advisor who always understands their best interest and keeps it clearly in focus. Ask Jim and he will tell you that the attorney-client relationship that has developed over many years is what he relishes most. Finding not only the legal solution but the practical solution is what Jim does best. He has firsthand experience working as in-house counsel for a large corporation, giving him the practical knowledge necessary to handle any type of commercial transaction. While Jim specializes in finance, mergers, acquisitions, corporate governance, construction law, antitrust, securities, contract drafting and negotiation, real estate and franchise law, he brings a “total client” approach to his practice.


Prior to joining Cohen & Grigsby, Jim was a general partner for more than 10 years at Thorp Reed & Armstrong in Pittsburgh and in-house counsel for Gulf Oil Corporation in Pennsylvania and Texas.

Today, he focuses his practice on finance (lenders and borrowers), corporate securities, commercial and real estate law, including shareholder disputes. His clients cover a host of industries, including banks, general contractors, developers, physicians, manufacturers, specialty contractors, television stations, geotechnical engineers, franchisors and franchisees.

The transactions he has handled during his career have been as varied as the clients he has represented. For example, he served as counsel to a bank in a structured financing transaction for the gaming industry and as counsel for the purchaser of a computer service company. In addition, he has been and continues as general counsel for a publicly traded company, handling its mergers, acquisitions and dispositions and general corporate and securities counseling.

Additional Roles

  • Former member (6 years), Hearing Committee of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Board Member, Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania
  • Board Member, FNB Corporation
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Member, Texas Bar Association
  • Member, National Association of Corporate Directors
  • A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the corporate governance needs of corporate boards and individual board members.
  • Chairman of the Board, Three Rivers Chapter, National Association of Corporate Directors

Honors and Achievements

Jim has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America several times since 2004 for corporate law, as well as corporate mergers and acquisitions. He has also been recognized by Chambers USA for banking and finance law.

When Cohen & Grigsby was listed as the state’s second busiest bond counsel in 2002, Jim was one of the attorneys in the Public Finance Practice Group. The entire group was listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace, commonly known as The Red Book, an industry “who’s who” of bond counsel and underwriters.

Jim is frequently asked to lecture and write articles for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) in the areas of corporate, finance and franchise law. He was a presenter at the PBI’s 2008 Commercial Document Series.