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James Leader, Jr.
James Leader, Jr.
Senior Associate — Commercial & Business Litigation
Senior Associate — Commercial & Business Litigation

James Leader, Jr.

James Leader, Jr.

1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002

James Leader, Jr.

James is a commercial litigator who has worked with an array of clients on disputes in federal and state court as well as in private arbitration. He has also assisted public and privately-held clients with internal and governmental investigations.

James has sought out and obtained a diverse set of litigation experiences, from briefing questions of constitutional law before federal appellate courts to spearheading the discovery effort in a nine-figure civil matter. James has worked as lead counsel in multiple matters before Texas state courts and has litigated and arbitrated a range of commercial cases involving constitutional rights, antitrust, merger disputes, tax issues, class actions, oil and gas royalty disputes, and environmental and legacy liability issues.

As part of the volunteer prosecutor program for the City of Houston, James first-chaired multiple jury trials to verdict. At the firm, James has been involved with and served on the Recruiting and Associate Advisory Committees.

Experience Highlights

  • (E.D. La.; W.D. La.) — Defending an international mining company against environmental claims brought by the state of Louisiana involving the erosion of the Louisiana coast

  • (AAA Arbitration) — Representing an international oil and gas production and exploration company in an arbitration related to an indemnity dispute arising from extensive property damage caused by a collapsed well; managed discovery efforts, deposed fact and expert witnesses, and presented and cross examined witnesses at hearing

  • (W.D. Tex.); (5th Cir.) — Took a lead role in preparing briefs that maintained an injunction that prevented the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission from enforcing unconstitutional state statutes; also took primary role in briefing before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals where the district court order was affirmed

  • (S.D. Tex.) — Defended a large global steel distributor in a six-week jury trial of claims that steel distributors and steel mills conspired to boycott new entrant in the market 

  • (10th Cir.) — Prepared Respondent’s brief in support of district court’s decision that turned on the citizenship of a master limited partnership; District court decision affirmed by the Tenth Circuit

  • (Tex. Dist. – Harris Cnty.) — Obtained partial summary judgment on behalf of private school seeking to enforce enrollment contract and took lead role in negotiating settlement that resulted in a substantial payment of attorney’s fees (deposed plaintiff and argued and briefed successful summary judgment motion) 

  • (Tex. Dist – Collin Cnty.) — Successfully domesticated a six-figure contested judgment issued by a Dutch court against Texas individuals (argued and briefed domestication motion)

  • (SEC) — Represented an energy company in a multi-year investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into allegations of impropriety in the company’s procurement group, including conflicts of interest with major vendors and an allegation of misappropriation of company assets

  • (W.D. Okla.) — Worked on team that obtained denial of plaintiff’s motion for class certification on state-wide royalty underpayment claims in Oklahoma federal court 

  • Represented multiple producers in a number of gas royalty class actions in state and federal courts in Oklahoma and Kansas, including a primary drafting role in numerous Motion to Dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)


  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 2012
  • Georgetown University, B.A., History (Honors) and Political Economy cum laude, 2009
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), “Ones to Watch,” 2021
  • Chair of the HBA Antitrust and Trade Regulation Section (2017-2018)
  • Texas
  • Southern District of Texas
  • Western District of Texas
  • Fifth and Tenth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal
  • “Tenth Circuit’s Grynberg Decision Gives Clarity in Determining Citizenship of MLPs,” V&E Energy Series E-communication, November 9, 2015 (co-author)