James’ practice focuses on oil and gas, real estate, and litigation. Prior to joining the firm, James was a partner with a law firm that specialized in oil & gas and mineral law. He has experience handling many facets of the oil and gas industry. James has represented mineral owners, oil and gas operators, well service companies, pipeline companies, construction companies, land holding companies, oil refineries and industry associations throughout Colorado, Indiana, and Kentucky. His experience includes lease negotiation and acquisition, and related exploration and production issues. He has experience negotiating and preparing surface use agreements, joint operating agreements, participation agreements, oil and gas leases, confidentiality agreements, and purchase and sale agreements. He routinely advises clients on relevant regulations, case law, and statutes as they relate to the oil and gas industry.
He also has extensive experience in reviewing title, conducting due diligence for acquisitions and divestitures, and preparing due diligence, acquisition, pre-drill, and division order title opinions, as well as performing curative work to resolve title defects and concerns.
James routinely represents his clients in litigation related to the oil and gas industry, representing both mineral owners and operators in title disputes, oil and gas lease violation disputes, royalty disputes, exploration, development and production obligations, quiet title actions, and determination of heirship proceedings. He frequently appears on behalf of his clients in state court and at compliance and regulatory proceedings.
James earned his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and graduated cum laude from Indiana University-McKinney School of Law.
James has been recognized as a Rising Star by Indiana Super Lawyer Magazine in the areas of Energy and Natural Resources (2015-2019) and Civil Litigation (2013-2014), and was named an Up and Coming Lawyer by the Indiana Lawyer magazine in 2012. His published cases include:
- Melton v. Ousley, 925 N.E.2d 430 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010)
- Gill v. Evansville Sheet Metal Works, 940 N.E.2d 328 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010)
- York v. Frederick et al., 947 N.E.2d 969 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011)
- Green v. Ford Motor Co., 942 N.E.2d 791 (Ind. 2011) (wrote amicus brief for Defense Trial Council of Indiana on certified question)
- SB 181 – WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MINERAL OWNERS, BizWest Thought Leader column, April 2019.