James’ practice focuses on oil and gas, real estate, business, and litigation. Prior to joining Otis & Bedingfield, LLC, James was a partner with a law firm that specialized in oil and gas and mineral law.
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. James routinely represents clients in lease negotiation and acquisition, negotiating purchase and sale agreements for the sale of mineral rights, and negotiating and preparing surface use agreements, joint operating agreements, participation agreements, and confidentiality agreements. He regularly advises clients on relevant regulations, case law, and statutes as they relate to the oil and gas industry. In addition, James 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.
In addition to his oil and gas work, James is a transaction attorney with a focus on real estate and business law, and represents individuals and businesses throughout Northern Colorado
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 Colorado Super Lawyers Magazine in the area of Energy and Natural Resources (2020), and as a Rising Star by Indiana Super Lawyer Magazine in the areas of Energy and Natural Resources (2015-2019) and Civil Litigation (2013-2014). He was named an Up and Coming Lawyer by the Indiana Lawyer magazine in 2012.
In 2019, James was appointed as a member of the Larimer County Oil and Gas Regulations Task Force, a 15-member task force that will advise Larimer County on local regulations to supplement the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and other state agency rules following passage of SB-181. James’ professional and community activities include:
- Colorado Bar Association – Natural Resources and Energy Law, at-large member of executive committee
- Denver Association of Professional Landmen
- Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners
- National Association of Royalty Owners – Colorado
- Energy Bar Association (Rocky Mountain Chapter)
- Denver Association of Oil and Gas Title Lawyers
James’s client representations include:
- Represented mineral owners is sale of large net mineral acreage to third-party purchasers.
- Defended mineral owners in quiet title action over disputed ownership of minerals and royalties held in dispute.
- Prosecuted quiet title actions over disputed ownership of minerals.
- Pursued Petitions to Determine Heirship to resolve title defects for mineral owners.
- Conducted estate probates involving mineral interests in Colorado.
- Represent one of Colorado’s largest attached unit builders in various development projects.
- Represented landowners in negotiation of easements with large scale pipeline project.
- Represented independent oil & gas exploration and production company in review of title and preparation of pre-drill and division order title opinions, and related curative measures.
- Advised large utility provider regarding its rights in responding to proposed oil & gas development projects surrounding its power generation facilities.
- OIL AND GAS INTERESTS, PROBATE, AND DETERMINATION OF HEIRSHIP PROCEEDINGS, BizWest Thought Leader column, November 2021.
- ARE YOUR OIL & GAS ROYALTIES IN SUSPENSE?, BizWest Thought Leader column, June 2021.
- SB 181 – WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MINERAL OWNERS, BizWest Thought Leader column, April 2019.