Charlie is the Managing Member of Soltan Bass Smith, LLC formed in the winter of 2017. Previously he was the Managing Member of Soltan Bass, LLC from 2014 to 2017, a solo practitioner from late 2002 to 2014, and formally a partner in the law firm of Verrill & Dana, LLP, having been the lead attorney for its legislative practice as well as manager of its Augusta office. He is a 1980 graduate of Indiana University, taught high school social studies in Maine at Skowhegan Area High School from 1980 through 1984, and received his law degree magna cum laude in 1987 from Vermont Law School. He is a member of the American, Maine and Kennebec County Bar Associations.
Charlie has served over 28 years as a Director of Legal Services for the Elderly, Inc., currently serving a second stint as Chair, was appointed by Governors Baldacci and LePage to the Maine Children’s Trust where he serves as Chair, was previously a Director of the Center for Educational Services, and past Chair and current member of the Legislative Task Force of the Justice Action Group, a group of private attorneys and members of the Judicial and Legislative branches dedicated to increasing access to justice for all Mainers. In January 2013, he was awarded the Maine Bar Foundation’s prestigious honor, the Howard H. Dana, Jr. Award, which recognizes an individual's outstanding contributions to the development and implementation of private bar projects which enhance civil legal assistance to the indigent, and for outstanding service in the advancement of the Maine Bar Foundation's goals. He is also an active member of the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission, having been appointed by Governors Baldacci and LePage to represent the insurance industry on the Commission and was appointed by Governor John R. McKernan, Jr. in 1991 to the Commission to Study the Maine Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Charlie is active in community affairs as well. He was a long-term member of the Winthrop Facilities Committee that stewarded the building of Winthrop’s high school, and renovation and building projects at Winthrop’s middle and elementary schools. He was an active participant in the youth sport and scouting activities in town as well as other community projects over the years. He and his wife currently enjoy the continued challenges of parenting two active adults.
James Bass was born in Belfast and raised in Portland. He graduated magna cum laude from Bowdoin College in 2002 and earned his law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in 2006.
James joined the U.S. Army upon graduation from law school and practiced law as a Judge Advocate in the JAG Corps for nearly six years. He was stationed at Fort Sill, OK and Washington, DC. In 2011, he deployed to Afghanistan as a legal advisor with a joint special operations task force. He is a recipient of both the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
After leaving active duty, James joined the Maine Army National Guard where he currently holds the rank of Major.
James engages in an active government relations practice, working with state and local decision makers to create solutions on his clients’ behalf. He has a broad array of legislative and executive branch lobbying experience as well as representing clients before Maine’s administrative agencies. He advocates for Fortune 100 companies, national and state trade associations, and private businesses located in Maine and across the country. James has a common sense and pragmatic approach to problem-solving and is effective at building coalitions and stakeholder groups.
In 2017, James co-founded Cushnoc Brewing Co. in Augusta, Maine with three friends. Cushnoc is a craft brewery and wood-fired pizza restaurant serving great beer and pizza and is helping reinvigorate downtown Augusta.
Active in the community, James serves on the boards of the Kennebec Valley YMCA, the Augusta Board of Zoning Appeals and the Augusta Parking District. He is also a member of the Capitol Planning Commission.
James is married and his wife, Ami, is a social worker and yoga teacher in the Augusta area. They have one infant son and look back fondly on those times when they both slept through the night.
Ben Smith was born and raised in Aroostook County, growing up in the small town of Van Buren, Maine. He graduated cum laude from the University of Maine at Orono in 2000, and earned his law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in 2004. While at law school, Ben was co-chair of the school’s moot court team and was a member of the trial team, both in which he competed regionally.
Following law school, Ben began his practice in a small Augusta law firm where he handled a variety of criminal matters, civil, municipal and administrative matters before courts and agencies throughout the State. Ben tried and won his first jury trial within his first six months of practice and successfully appealed and argued his first case to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court within his first year and a half of private practice.
In 2008, Ben left private practice in order to develop an expertise in regulatory law and served as a staff attorney and hearing examiner at the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Here, Ben gained first-hand experience in utility ratemaking, rate design, certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN), affiliated interest transactions, corporate reorganizations and financings and other proceeding involving Maine’s electric, gas, telecommunications and other public utilities. Ben also represented the Commission in wholesale electric matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and served as a lead attorney in negotiations of contracts between the Commission and vendors and defended procurement determinations involving such contracts.
In 2014, Ben re-entered private practice and joined a central Maine law firm where he represented a variety of clients in public utilities/energy law, administrative law, municipal/government law, and general litigation matters.
Ben recently cofounded Soltan Bass Smith LLC with his partners, Charlie Soltan and James Bass. Ben continues to represent public utilities, persons, and other entities before the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, other state and federal administrative bodies and in Maine’s state and federal courts. Ben regularly advises municipalities in tax, land use/enforcement, zoning, real estate, town meeting/election protocol and procedure, and assists in drafting ordinances, charters, contracts and agreements.
Ben is a Registered Maine Guide in the areas of hunting, fishing and wilderness recreation and is a licensed private pilot. Ben is active in his community and also continues to serve as a selectman and property tax assessor for the Town of Chelsea, positions that he has held since 2011. Ben also previously coached youth basketball teams at the Augusta YMCA. In his “spare” time, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter as well as flying, hunting, fishing, hiking, running, and other outdoor activities.