James focuses on land use and environmental law and litigation across a wide range of industries.  He regularly counsels clients through the land use entitlement process and related regulatory hurdles, including defending project entitlements following post-approval challenges.

James’ practice covers, among other things, the California Environmental Quality Act, State Planning and Zoning Law, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and other laws related to species and wetlands issues in California.  James also regularly works on projects within the California coastal zone and advises clients on issues pertaining to the California Coastal Act.  

James is experienced in litigation in both state and federal courts, including appellate proceedings.  He is adept at handling all phases of litigation, including motion practice, discovery, expert workup, mediation, trial, and appeal.  He has helped to successfully litigate a number of CEQA cases, including several that have resulted in published appellate decisions, and has assisted in the handling of a number of cases through trial.  His clients value his attention to detail and persuasive writing.    

James received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served on the editorial boards of the California Law Review and the Ecology Law Quarterly.  Prior to joining the firm, James served as a law clerk to the Honorable Chief Justice Walter L. Carpeneti of the Alaska Supreme Court


Litigation Experience

Defended CEQA challenge to mining project in Amador County, which resulted in a published appellate opinion. 

Defeated CEQA and Coastal Act challenges to residential project located in Santa Barbara County.   

Defended renewable energy company in multi-million dollar lawsuits regarding scope of energy transmission rights in Solano County.    

Representing city and successor agency in the Northern District of California in CERCLA and RCRA suit seeking cleanup costs for environmental contamination.

Representing renewable energy developer in lawsuit in Kern County alleging nuisance, trespass, and related claims. 

Land Use Entitlement Experience

Advise developers of commercial and residential projects in the Bay Area on entitlement strategies and CEQA compliance. 

Ongoing representation of office developer of new and refurbished office buildings in San Jose. 

Advise developers and individuals with projects in the coastal zone on issues pertaining to the California Coastal Act. 


Awards & Affiliations

Honors & Recognitions

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2022-2024

Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2019-2021

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California


J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2011, Certificate in Environmental Law

B.A., Wesleyan University, 2004

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