James L. Kurtz-Phelan - Berenbaum Weinshienk PC
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James L. Kurtz-Phelan

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013

I have maintained a real estate law practice as a shareholder with Berenbaum Weinshienk PC since 1982 where my practice has encompassed representation of real estate developers in obtaining entitlement approvals from counties and municipalities, acquisition of ranches, purchase and sale of urban and suburban land for major residential and commercial real estate projects, evaluation and resolution of environmental issues related to real estate acquisitions and developments, preparation of  residential and commercial declarations and homeowner association documents, and representation of borrowers in obtaining financing for their real estate projects.  My clients have included major residential land developers, shopping center owners, owners and developers of apartments, condominiums and townhome projects, and owners and operators of hotels.

Prior to joining Berenbaum Weinshienk PC, I was a clinical law teacher at the University of Denver College of Law from 1972-1975, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law from 1975 to 1979.  In the law clinic I handled courses that involved law students in environmental issues, educational reform, and public interest projects.  I organized the Colorado Public Interest Group while at the law school and participated in several environmental lawsuits, including participating on the brief to the United States Supreme Court in COPIRG v Train.  As an adjunct I taught land use and legal practice courses.  In 1975 I joined the Colorado Attorney General's office as an Assistant Attorney General with responsibility for land use, environmental, and transportation issues.  In addition to representing the Colorado Land Use Commission as its general counsel and the Colorado Department of Highways as Chief Highway Counsel, I represented the State of Colorado in land use lawsuits that challenged the constitutionality of state or local land use regulations.  I appeared before the Colorado Supreme Court in connection with major challenges to land use regulations and I represented the Colorado Land Use Commission in several district court and appellate court lawsuits related to the Land Use Commission's extraordinary powers to challenge local development projects. 

I was legal advisor to the Governor of Colorado from 1979 to 1982 where I advised the Governor on a wide variety of legal issues related to legislative initiatives, major litigation against the state, corrections and criminal justice matters, air quality and other environmental issues, and the appointment of judges to all levels of state courts.

I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where I attended public elementary and high schools.  I graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1968 where I was Student Body President my senior year and drum major of the marching band for my first three years of college.  I was a Top Ten graduating senior, member of Sardonyx and Men of Mines (seventeen graduating male students recognized for their contributions to the school), and accepted into Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science organization), Alpha Chi (then the small college equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa), and Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.

After graduating from college, I attended Yale Law School.  I received my Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1972 and moved to Colorado upon graduation.

Additional Information

Community Organizations

Member, Board of Directors of Herzl Jewish Day School.

Member, Board of Directors of Jewish Community Centers of Denver.

Member, Rocky Mountain Region Board, Anti-Defamation League.

Member, National Commission, Anti-Defamation League.

Member, National Civil Rights Committee, Anti-Defamation League.

Office Location

370 Seventeenth Street, Suite 4800
Denver, CO 80202
United States

Practice Areas

Real Estate Law

Other Information

Gender: Male