James Goold, Chairman and General Counsel of RPM Nautical Foundation, is also a lawyer at Covington & Burling LLP based in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, Jim has represented a variety of clients to protect underwater cultural heritage from unauthorized disturbance and treasure hunting. He has represented the Kingdom of Spain, the Republics of France and Italy and the United Kingdom (among others) in litigation to protect historic shipwrecks and sunken aircraft from looting. He has also served as legal counsel for the National Geographic Society. He has also served as Chairman of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and is an ongoing member of its Executive Committee and General Counsel. In 2002, Jim and George Robb, Jr. created the RPM Nautical Foundation, brought together by friendship and a shared belief that a state of the art research vessel would be a cost-effective platform to use rapidly developing remote sensing and ROV technology to locate and protect underwater cultural heritage.
Jim has participated in the field in numerous nautical archaeology projects, including Ulu Burun, Kizilburun, Marmaris and Bozburun (Turkey); Ashkelon (Israel); The Battle of Trafalgar (Spain); Omaha Beach (France); the Battle of the Egadi Islands (Sicily); Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Corsairs (Maine); Butrint, Porto Palermo and Sazan Island (Albania); Crotone and Calabria (Italy); Molasses Reef (Turks and Caicos); New Ground Reef (Florida); and Valletta Harbor Approaches (Malta).
In Spain, Jim has been appointed a Knight Commander in the Order of Isabela Cattolica and a Commander in the Order of Merit.