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 35 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 storage and 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 and domestic investments in conventional and unconventional resources.
  • Rob advises on development and construction of solar, wind, geothermal and conventional power generation, electricity storage and transmission, and energy efficiency projects throughout the United States.

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Clients and transactions for which Rob 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 in 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.
    • Buyer of Minnesota oil refinery and associated retail outlets.
    • 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 UK 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.
    • Owner of catalyst manufacturing plant and marketing joint venture.
    • 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.
    •  Owner of geothermal plant on lithium extraction venture.

    • 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.
    • Health care system on wind and 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 multiple 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.
    • Developer on proposed combined ethanol, biomass and cogeneration project in California.
  • 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
    • Counsel to energy services companies on infrastructure development agreements with municipalities and school and college districts.

    • Counsel to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) on transit-oriented development (TOD) at numerous BART stations.

    • 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.
    • Public agency on proposed water supply and treatment system.
    • Energy companies on EPC, lease and PPP arrangements for LNG facilities; energy efficiency projects; electricity transmission facilities; solar, wind and geothermal power; 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


Past and Present Honors & Awards

  • The Legal 500 U.S., Project Finance and Energy: Renewable/Alternative Power (2016–2019) and Construction (2013, 2019)
  • Chambers Global, Projects—USA (2012–2013), Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional)—USA (2007–2011)

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  • Speaking Engagements
    • “How Much Is Energy Subsidized?” Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law & Policy Colloquium (January 2019 in Stanford, CA)
    • "Values of Centralized and Distributed Energy Storage," Deutsche Bank/Pillsbury Conference (March 2018 in New York, NY).
    • "Clean Technology Energy and Resources Innovation in California," Unearthed Startup Accelerator Symposium (September 2016 in San Francisco, CA)
    • “Climate Wedge?” Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law & Policy Colloquium (January 2016 in Stanford, CA)
    • "Unleashing Viable Carbon Capture and Sequestration Projects," Building "Risky" Energy Conference, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (December 2015 in Stanford, CA)
    • “Trademark Issues in the Alcohol Industry,” CLE International’s 20th Anniversary National SuperConference (September 2015 in Louisville, KY)
    • "Production and Export Projects in the New Global Gas Markets," The New U.S. Role in Global Fossil Fuel Markets Conference (December 2012 in Stanford, CA)
    • "Strategic Alliances between National and International Oil Companies" Pillsbury Energy Conference (October 2009 in Lansdowne, VA)
    • 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; Advisory Council Member, Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society.
  • Past and Present Honors & Awards
    • The Legal 500 U.S., Project Finance and Energy: Renewable/Alternative Power (2016–2019) and Construction (2013, 2019)
    • Chambers Global, Projects—USA (2012–2013), Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional)—USA (2007–2011)
    • 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).
    • Chambers USA, Projects—National (2007–2012)
    • Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Natural Resources Lawyers, Euromoney/Legal Media Group (2007, 2010, 2018)
    • Who's Who Legal, Energy—San Francisco/Houston (2010)
    • California’s 100 Most Influential Lawyers, Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals (2006)
    • California Super Lawyers (published by Thomson Reuters), Energy & Natural Resources (2004, 2006, 2013–2018)


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1983

    A.B., Stanford University, 1980


  • California



  • All State Courts of California

    All State Courts of Texas

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