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James J. Lee

James J. Lee Of Counsel, Restructuring & Reorganization

With more than 40 years’ experience, Jim Lee is a pioneer in his field. Jim began his career as a general commercial litigator in the 1970s, but after repeatedly collaborating with bankruptcy attorneys, pursued what was then considered a novel path: building a practice that combined his skills as a litigator with his deep knowledge of bankruptcy law.

Since then, Jim has litigated a broad range of contested matters and adversary proceedings, including fraudulent transfers, automatic stay relief, cash collateral arrangements, valuation contests, tax claims, termination of exclusivity, lien priority disputes, avoidance actions and objections to plan confirmation. He has worked with an array of industries, with significant experience in real estate banking and financial services, telecom and energy, and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants at all levels of the judiciary system across the country. 

While Jim’s practice focuses primarily on corporate bankruptcy, he has also represented the debtor in one of the largest individual bankruptcy cases in the country. In addition, he has continued to handle an array of complex commercial litigation matters, including contract disputes, securities fraud, partnership and corporate governance disputes, and various business torts.

Jim is board certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His work has been recognized by numerous publications, including Chambers USA, where a client praised him as “a seasoned attorney whose strength is his ability to navigate the complex issues of a case” (2019).

Experience Highlights

  • Navistar, Inc. and certain of its affiliates  in the defense of fraudulent transfer litigation brought by the Plan Trustee of the Liquidating Trust of Tango Transport, LLC, et. al.
  • A chapter 11 trustee of Innovation Communications Company, LLC and its affiliates, a public telephone company, in the liquidation of its business and pursuit of claims against prior management
  • A privately held family of energy companies against claims of liquidating a trust for bankruptcy
  • A private equity firm as sole secured lender in the chapter 11 proceeding of Harvest Oil & Gas, LLC, et.al., an exploration and production company
  • The liquidating trust of Penson Worldwide, Inc, et.al., a bankrupt financial services firm, in litigation against former officers and directors
  • A chapter 11 debtor in multiple adversary proceedings tied to the liquidation of its telecom business, Vartec Telecom, Inc.

Bankruptcy

  • Wells Fargo as administrative agent for a $120 million syndicated lender group in the chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Emerald Oil, Inc., et al. filed in Delaware Bankruptcy Court 
  • A chapter 11 debtor, Integrated Electrical Services, Inc. et.al., in confirming plan of reorganization over the objection of the Official Equity Holders Committee
  • The largest secured lender in series of contested bankruptcy matters of Trammell Crow Holdings, ultimately resulting in confirmation of that creditor’s plan of liquidation 
  • A syndicated bank group as secured creditors in various contested matters in the bankruptcy of their manufacturer borrower, Nukote 
  • A secured lender group in the chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Gulf Coast Holdings, Incorporated d/b/a Unidynamics, Incorporated, a defense company, filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas

Commercial Disputes

  • Defense of a class action securities fraud lawsuit on behalf of Darling Delaware Co., including the restructuring of the company’s capital via a non-opt-out class action settlement
  • Defense of a fraudulent transfer action against a hedge fund investor
  • Defense of a fraudulent transfer claim against “fund of funds” by a receiver for a failed hedge fund
  • An automated baggage system manufacturer in litigation arising out of the construction of Denver International Airport
  • A large manufacturing concern in a suit against a competitor and former employee for theft of trade secrets
  • The sole secured creditor in litigation to enforce a tax sharing agreement between bankrupt borrower and its parent
  • Affiliated debtors-in-possession in the defeat of a bank syndicate’s request for stay relief, while securing the use of banks’ cash collateral


Contact Details

Dallas

T +1.214.220.7744
F +1.214.999.7744
jimlee@velaw.com
Trammell Crow Center
2001 Ross Avenue
Suite 3900
Dallas, TX 75201
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Jim's Practices

  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1976
  • Tulane University, B.A., 1973
  • Admitted to practice: Texas; United States Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Claims; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits; U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
  • Chambers USA, Bankruptcy Law and Litigation, 2004–2006; Bankruptcy/Restructuring Law (Texas), 2007–2019
  • Legal 500 U.S., Bankruptcy: Southwest, 2009
  • Legal Media Group’s (Euromoney's) Guide to the World’s Leading Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers, 2010
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization, 2006−2018, 2020; Litigation-Bankruptcy, 2011−2018, 2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Bankruptcy (Houston), 2020
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2003−2019
  • National Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals, 2005–2006
  • United Cerebral Palsy Victory 100 Award; Outstanding Service Individual (benefitting United Cerebral Palsy); United Cerebral Palsy’s Chairman's Award
  • Vinson & Elkins LLP Community Service Award
  • Member: American Bar Association; Dallas Bar Association; American Bankruptcy Institute; Turnaround Management Association
  • Life Member, Board of Directors, and Past Chair: Ability Connection Texas (formerly United Cerebral Palsy of North Texas)
  • Fellow: Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member: Dean’s Council, Alumni Council (former), University of Virginia School of Law
  • Member: Dean’s Advisory Council, Newcomb-Tulane College of Tulane University