It goes without saying that Rob is an excellent transactional lawyer. What set him apart is that he set a tone of civility and professionalism in the negotiation that unfortunately is getting rare.
—Feedback via Law360

For 34 years at Pillsbury, Rob James has helped clients achieve their goals on complex energy, construction and infrastructure transactions.

Rob is co-leader of Pillsbury’s Projects team. His practice focuses on:

    • energy project development and acquisitions;
    • complex commercial agreements and joint ventures; and
    • Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for facilities and infrastructure, including public-private partnerships (PPPs).

His work spans sectors including oil and gas production, refining and transportation; chemicals and mining; public transit; universities and health care; and renewable and conventional power generation and power transmission. Rob also counsels on international investment protection, fine art acquisition, and corporate compliance programs.

Representative Experience

Rob manages legal aspects of design and construction of complex health care facilities in California, including acute care adult and children’s hospitals and extensive provider network facilities. Projects under way in excess of $3 billion.


Rob guides divestitures, acquisitions and joint ventures in the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas sectors, including international JVs for distribution of fuels and lubricants and refining, transportation and marketing assets.


Rob advises on development and construction of solar, wind, geothermal and conventional power generation, electricity transmission, and energy efficiency projects throughout the United States.

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Rob's transactional practice covers 34 years at Pillsbury. Clients and transactions for which he has served as lead outside counsel include the following:

  • Oil & Gas Exploration & Production
    • Seller of California oil production platforms and pipelines and onshore facilities and pipelines.
    • Majority sponsor on expansion of landmark Kazakhstan oil exploration and production venture.
    • Seller of Canadian major mature oil production assets.
    • Developer of United States liquefied natural gas (LNG) import, storage and export facilities.
    • Buyer of interests in natural gas fields offshore Indonesia, unitization agreements, LNG liquefaction plant agreements, and LNG and gas sale and purchase agreements for sales of natural gas to Chinese customers.
    • Buyer of interests in Peru gas pipeline and LNG liquefaction project.
  • Pipelines, Processing & Shipping
    • Buyer of largest private interest on privatization of oil pipeline in Russia and Kazakhstan.
    • Seller of Gulf of Mexico natural gas gathering lines and trunk line system, Texas natural gas liquids processing facilities, and onshore crude, products and gas pipelines in Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.
    • Buyer of marine terminals and petroleum products storage facilities in United States.
    • Developer of phosphate slurry pipeline in Utah and Wyoming.
    • Buyer of interests in natural gas storage facilities in California.
    • Partner on reorganization of U.S.-Swedish oil tanker shipping joint venture.
  • Refining, Manufacturing & Marketing
    • Partner on strategic alliance and construction of new plant for refinery catalyst development, manufacturing and marketing.
    • Partner on joint venture for distribution of lubricants in Latin America.
    • Seller of Texas oil refinery and associated terminals, tank farms and pipelines.
    • Seller of Illinois coke calciner and Great Lakes terminal.
    • Buyers and sellers of asphalt refineries and marketing assets in California and Washington.
    • Partner on formation and operation of marine fuels and lubricants venture, integrating terminals, tank farms and vessels in several countries.
    • Developer of marketing exchange based in the U.K. for worldwide online trading of marine fuels and lubricants.
    • Partner on automotive tires, batteries and accessories (TBA) joint venture, and on logistics agreements for warehouse and distribution facilities throughout North America and related logistics technology.
  • Chemicals
    • Partner on multinational petrochemicals venture in aromatics and olefins sectors.
    • Manufacturer on separation of petrochemical and oil refinery portions of Texas industrial complex and related co-location agreements.
    • Seller of Singapore synthesis gas plant.
    • Seller of several agricultural chemical crop protection product lines in the United States, Europe and Asia.
    • Partner on formation, operation and dissolution of agricultural chemical development and marketing venture in the United States.
    • Owners on agricultural chemical and fuel and lubricant additive toll processing and formulating agreements.
    • Seller of phosphate fertilizer manufacturing plants in Washington and California.
    • Manufacturer on distribution agreements for sale of agricultural chemicals and fertilizers worldwide.
    • Owner on technology licenses and EPC agreements for phosphate fertilizer manufacturing plants.
  • Mining
    • Seller and lessor of interests in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana coal properties and mining ventures.
    • Buyer of interests in coal properties in Wyoming.
    • Seller and lessor of coal mine and coal and coalbed methane reserves in Alabama.
    • Seller of California rare earths mine, Wyoming coal mine, New Mexico uranium mine, Texas uranium milling facilities, and Utah Gilsonite resin mine and associated reserves.
    • Partner in venture for oil sands extraction, bitumen pipeline and bitumen upgrader in Alberta, Canada.
    • Seller of interest in Brazilian niobium mining and marketing company.
  • Power Generation & Transmission
    • Developers on EPC of California wind power projects and California photovoltaic (PV) and thermal solar power projects.
    • Seller of California wind power project.
    • Seller of Washington and California gas-fired power projects.
    • Buyer of California gas-fired power project.
    • Generator on environmental and other capital improvement projects for gas-fired power plants in California.
    • Owner on lease financing and EPC of cogeneration projects at California and Texas oil refineries.
    • Developer on acquisition and development of geothermal energy facilities in California.
    • Seller of geothermal production resources geothermal power and steam plants and steam and power sale arrangements in Utah, Nevada and California.
    • Acquirer of interests in geothermal resources and facilities in Indonesia.
    • Co-owner on EPC of Texas power transmission line.
  • Clean Technology
    • Buyers and sellers of energy services companies and ongoing advice on public and private distributed generation and energy efficiency projects in the United States.
    • Seller of integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and related hydrocarbon gasification technology.
    • Developers and hosts regarding research and pilot projects for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), wave power and tidal power generation.
    • Partner on sale of interest in Chinese gasification technology licensing venture.
    • Prospective investor on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) certified emission reductions (CER) program in India.
  • Infrastructure & Construction
    • Public agencies on development, design, construction and EPC of rail transit and transit-oriented development, including PPP facilities.
    • Hospitals and other health care providers on design and construction of hospital expansions, medical office buildings and related facilities.
    • University and school districts, and private developers, on design and construction agreements for educational, research, residential housing and related commercial on-campus and off-campus facilities.
    • Energy companies on EPC, lease and PPP arrangements for LNG facilities, energy efficiency projects, electricity transmission facilities and renewable power (solar, wind, and geothermal) and conventional power generation.
    • Public agencies on acquisition of ultraviolet light and membrane technology for water treatment and desalination facilities.
    • Commercial owners on design-build, construction management, design and construction agreements for office buildings, campus facilities, and mixed-use urban developments.
    • Industrial owners on EPC agreements for cogeneration, environmental treatment, manufacturing and chemicals facilities and other improvements.
    • Technology company owners on EPC and license agreements for research and development, software support, telecommunications, and life sciences.
    • Hotel and resort developers on design and construction contracts for new and renovated hospitality properties and projects.
    • Baseball team on design-build, design and construction contracts for San Francisco Giants ballpark, now named AT&T Park.
    • Largest private sponsor on engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) agreements for oil pipeline and terminal facilities in Russia and Kazakhstan.
    • Owners on fixed-price conversion of $1.6 billion EPC agreement for natural gas pipeline expansion project in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California.
    • Vessel owners on ship construction and renovation contracts.

Professional Highlights

Book

Past and Present Honors & Awards

  • “Recognized Practitioner” in Project Finance and Renewable Energy in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 U.S.
  • Chambers Global, Projects—USA, Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional)—USA

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  • Speaking Engagements
    • “Clean Technology Energy and Resources Innovation in California,” Unearthed Startup Accelerator Symposium, San Francisco, September 2016.
    • "Innovation in the Energy and Resources Sector," 2016 San Francisco Symposium on Energy and Resource Industry Innovation, San Francisco, CA, September 2016
    • “Unleashing Viable Carbon Capture and Sequestration Projects,” Building “Risky” Energy Conference, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford, CA, December 2015.
    • "Production and Export Projects in the New Global Gas Markets," The New U.S. Role in Global Fossil Fuel Markets Conference, Stanford, CA, December 2012.
    • "Strategic Alliances between National and International Oil Companies" Pillsbury Energy Conference, Lansdowne, Virginia, October 2009.
    • In addition to his legal publications, Rob is the author of several articles on business history.
  • Associations
    • Member, American Law Institute (ALI), American Bar Association (including its Business Law Section and Forum on the Construction Industry), Bar Association of San Francisco, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), State Bar of Texas, and State Bar of California (including its Public-Private Infrastructure, Real Estate and Business Law Sections); Advisory Board Member, Southwestern Institute for International and Comparative Law (IICL), Center for American and International Law (CAIL), Texas; Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Trustee, Bay Area Council Economic Institute; Member, Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Bay Area Council; Member, Board of Directors, United States District Court for the Northern District of California Historical Society.
  • Past and Present Honors & Awards
    • Member of the Projects Team, Ranked in IJ Global - Three Top 20 League Tables for First of 2017 in North America (including Project Finance, Infrastructure Finance and Power Infrastructure Finance).
    • The Legal 500 U.S., Construction, Energy - Renewable/Alternative, Project Finance
    • Chambers USA, Projects—National
    • Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Natural Resources Lawyers, Euromoney/Legal Media Group
    • PLC Which Lawyer?, Energy & Natural Resources—San Francisco & Silicon Valley
    • Who's Who Legal, Energy—San Francisco/Houston
    • California’s 100 Most Influential Lawyers, Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals (2006)
    • Super Lawyers, Construction/Surety, Energy & Natural Resources, Mergers & Acquisitions—Northern California
  • Publications
    • Gas Regulation 2016 - United States,” Getting the Deal Through, August 3, 2016 (with co-authors Michael S. Hindus and Stella Pulman)
    • Oil Regulation 2016 - United States,” Getting the Deal Through, July 7, 2016 (with co-author Stella Pulman)
    • Are You Covered for a Superstorm?Surviving the Storm, March 2015 (with co-author Robert L. Wallan)
    • California Oil and Gas Law,” The Oil and Gas Law Review, December 2014 (second edition)
    • Respecting Boilerplate,” 2014 (revised edition)
    • Hallmarks of Infrastructure Success,” Bay Area Council Economic Institute, 2014
    • Project Finance 2014 - United States,” Getting the Deal Through, August 2013 (with co-author Philip Tendler)
    • “Six Bits or Bust: Insurance Litigation over the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire,” Western Legal History, volume 24, number 2 (2011).
    • Shutting Down the Construction Project,” August 2012 (second edition) (with co-authors Noa L. Clark and Amy L. Pierce)
    • Strategic Alliances Between National and International Oil Companies,” Working Paper for the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, October 2011
    • Finesses and Game-Changers in Frontier Project Development: The Case of Carbon Capture and Storage,” White Paper for PESD, August 2009
    • Energy Acquisitions and Joint Ventures,” The Best Practices of Leading Energy Lawyers, Aspatore Books, 2007
    • An Integrated Approach to International Energy Investment Protection,” Proceedings of 58th Annual Oil and Gas Law Conference, February 4, 2007 (with co-author John G. Mauel)
    • Downstream LNG Commercial Issues,” International Bar Association's Annual Conference, September 18, 2006
    • “Arthur Andersen’s Victory Too Little, Too Late – What Lessons Others Can Take From Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States,” Client Alert, June 2, 2005 (with co-authors Charles R. Ragan and William DeVinney)
    • Customizing a Modern Records Retention Program - Update,” Client Alert, May 17, 2005 (with co-author Charles R. Ragan)
    • An Ounce of RetentionThe Recorder, September 8, 2004 (with co-author Amy E. Spence Smolen)

Education

  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1983

    A.B., Stanford University, 1980

Admissions

  • California

    Texas

Courts

  • State courts in California and Texas

    U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California