James Loftis > Vinson & Elkins LLP > Houston, United States > Lawyer Profile

Vinson & Elkins LLP
1001 FANNIN STREET
SUITE 2500
HOUSTON, TX 77002-6760
United States

Work Department

International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration

Position

Partner

Career

James heads V&E’s International Dispute Resolution practice, and focuses his practice on the arbitration and litigation of international commercial and investor-state disputes, and counseling in matters involving public international law and treaties. He acts both as counsel and as arbitrator.

His practice includes disputes involving all aspects of energy, construction, and infrastructure development; disputes under investment laws and treaties; and boundary disputes, cross-border technology disputes, and sovereign debt. He also represents and advises clients in reviews under U.S. national security law. Since 2009, James has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches investor-state and international commercial arbitration.

From 1997 to 2000, James served in Geneva, Switzerland, as chief counsel for the Oil Sector (E1) and Construction and Engineering (E3) Panels of the United Nations Compensation Commission (the Gulf War claim tribunal). He maintains offices in London and Houston, and is admitted in Texas, in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, and in the Senior Courts of England and Wales.

Languages

French (proficient), Russian, and Spanish (reading proficient)

Education

The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1990
University of Texas, B.B.A., 1983
Admitted to practice: Texas; U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Fifth and Federal Circuits; U.S. District Court for the Southern, Northern and Western Districts of Texas
Granted full rights of audience before the Dubai International Financial Centre Court
Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

Vinson & Elkins LLP‘s commercial arbitration team has ‘a wealth of experience‘ in the energy and infrastructure sector, where it recently represented the Ministry of Oil of the Republic of Iraq and its agencies, SOMO and Basrah Oil Company, in a number of contentious matters. Of late, Houston-based practice head James Loftis (‘a remarkable attorney‘ with ‘a calming presence in proceedings‘) represented Iraq in a dispute concerning the operation of the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline and unlawful exports by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Also recommended is counsel Tim Tyler and Washington DC-based Alden Atkins, who ‘stands out for his vast knowledge of commercial and investment arbitration’. The firm holds Panama Canal Authority as a client.

United States > Real estate > Construction (including construction litigation)

Vinson & Elkins LLP combines ‘high quality work with consistent availability‘, underpinned by ‘a pleasant demeanor‘. The team, which is praised by clients for its ‘commitment to success‘, is led by Ferguson McNiel and Kaam Sahely, both based in Houston. The team is experienced in complex infrastructure projects and is representing Texas Central Partners as project counsel in the multibillion-dollar development of a high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston. Mark Brasher and Sahely led, supported by a team across the firm’s Dallas, New York and Houston offices, including ‘fantastic‘ associate Stephanie Coco, who is based in Houston and is ‘developing a great practice with respect to complex construction documentation‘. Brasher also acted as project counsel to LNG21, which is developing a $2.4bn LNG platform in the Gulf of Mexico; the team advised LNG21 on joint venture agreements and equity negotiations. Alongside the Washington DC-based John Decker, Brasher also advised New Fortress Energy on various LNG projects. Katy Gottsponer, who is based in Washington DC, and senior associate Luke Edney in Houston supported on this matter. Edney, alongside Brasher and Coco, supported Sahely on Gulf Coast Ammonia, a joint venture that is developing and financing a hydrogen-ammonia production facility in Texas. Also active on this matter was Houston-based senior associate Alan Alexander, who is praised by one client as ‘one of the best lawyers I have ever worked with‘ and offers ‘partner counsel for an associate rate‘. Houston-based James Loftis, who, alongside the London office, handled a series of arbitrations for the Panama Canal Authority relating to the ongoing expansion project, is also noted; McNeil supported on this matter.

London > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

Vinson & Elkins RLLP ‘produces excellent work and is fully available to clients‘. The practice is well known for its significant energy sector roots, but it has also expanded into advising financial services, technology, telecoms, insurance, pharmaceutical, infrastructure, construction and engineering clients. In addition, the firm has a robust investor-state arbitration practice. James Loftis leads the group from Houston; the London names to note are Nick Henchie, Louise Woods and Alexander Slade, who was recently promoted to counsel, and senior associate Georgina Barlow.