James’ practice focuses in the areas of business and commercial litigation and bankruptcy. His experience includes representation of financial institutions, corporations, hedge funds, equipment lessors, indenture trustees, receivers, bankruptcy trustees, creditor committees, government regulators, institutional debt and equity holders and corporate directors and officers in a variety of business, commercial, corporate and contractual disputes. He has appeared in more than 25 state, federal and bankruptcy courts throughout the United States. 

James is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas Law School, where he currently teaches Bankruptcy Law.

James received his law degree from the University of Minnesota and his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland. Before attending law school, he served honorably in the United States Air Force.


  • Honoree, Minnesota Super Lawyers

  • Honoree, Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Stars 

  • AV-rated Martindale Hubbell

  • Honoree, Top Lawyers, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Minnesota Monthly (2022)

All Service Areas


  • University of Minnesota Law School

    cum laude

  • University of Maryland, B.A.


  • State - Minnesota
  • State - Wisconsin
  • Federal - 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Federal - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Federal - District of Minnesota
  • Federal - Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Federal - Western District of Wisconsin

Notable Matters

The following is a list of representative matters:

  • Lead restructuring counsel for the Chapter 11 debtors for Granite City Food & Brewery, Ltd.
    • Led pre-bankruptcy solicitation process to identify stalking horse bidder;
    • Initiated Chapter 11 case, obtained substantial; post-petition financing to fund post-petition operations and sale efforts;
    • Conducted auction soon after filing and secured bankruptcy court approval of a § 363 sale involving 20 restaurant properties and related assets; and
    • Obtained structured dismissal of case.
  • Lead counsel to seven mortgage originators in defense of breach of warranty and indemnity claims related to mortgage loans with original principal balances in excess of one-hundred million dollars in complex, consolidated state and federal court litigation arising from residential mortgage back securities issued by the Residential Funding Company.
  • Represented the Petters Capital bankruptcy trustee in intercompany litigation growing out of a Ponzi Scheme orchestrated by Thomas J. Petters, one of the largest Ponzi schemes in United States history. Secured a $20 million recovery for the bankruptcy estate.
  • Lead counsel to the Chapter 7 trustee for the estate of Dennis E. Hecker in the negotiation of a multimillion dollar settlement for the estate and its creditors and in ensuing litigation and appeals regarding the settlement.
  • Represented multiple hedge funds in the Petters Company, Inc. and Polaroid bankruptcy cases and in related fraudulent transfer adversary proceedings. Negotiated an allowed $165 million claim on behalf of the funds.
  • Lead outside counsel to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the investigation, pursuit and resolution of multimillion claims against former officers and directors of multiple failed banks and their insurance and fidelity bond carriers.
  • Represented special loan servicer in the boarding, administration, default, enforcement and liquidation of commercial real estate and development loans having an aggregate original principal balance of approximately $0.25 billion. Prosecuted nearly 100 foreclosures by action (and associated deficiency claims against borrowers and guarantors) to conclusion within a two and one-half year span.
  • Procured $13 million judgment against loan guarantors on behalf of consortium of community banks. Negotiated forbearance agreement pursuant to which guarantor pledged notes and mortgages secured by the Tabby Mountain Ranch, a 3,800 acre elk ranch in Tabiona, Utah. Devised a creditor plan of reorganization which led to a settlement transferring Ranch ownership to bank group.
  • Represented community bank in successful avoidance of insider mortgage as a fraudulent transfer which culminated in conveyance of 150-acre ranch in Montana to the bank in partial satisfaction of its judgment.
  • Secured appointments of receivers – including necessary regulatory approvals – to manage multiple health care facilities, a 15-mile long natural gas pipeline and associated transfer station on behalf of secured lenders pending completion of real estate foreclosures.
  • Served four terms as Minnesota Special Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Superintendent of Insurance in her capacity as Liquidator of Credit General Insurance, representing the interests of the receivership estates in litigation and bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Represented international pilots association in bankruptcy of major regional air carrier and in fifteen days of evidentiary hearings during the course of proceedings initiated by carrier to reject the pilots’ collective bargaining agreements.
  • Represented institutional equity holders in litigation leading to favorable multi-million dollar settlement of breach of fiduciary duty claims against foreign directors of domestic publicly-traded corporation in Delaware Chancery Court.
  • Represented major airline in successful defense of contractor’s $3 million cost overrun claims stemming from construction of aircraft maintenance facilities at MSP Airport.
  • Successfully represented public entity in defense of bid protest relate to the aware of a $110 million contract to construct an underground tunnel and related improvements for the Light Rail Transit system in Minneapolis.
  • Acted as Minnesota counsel to international fast food hamburger chain in litigation of leasehold and real estate related disputes and in connection with bid to purchase assets out of the Duke & King bankruptcy.
  • Representation of equipment lessors, lessees and finance parties in the negotiation and drafting of equipment leases, schedules and related documentation, in workouts and in related litigation and bankruptcy proceedings.