James S. Richards

Principal | Houston


James Richards is a problem solver who serves as a trusted and experienced advocate and advisor for his clients with a focus on construction law and commercial litigation. James is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Construction Law and is a go-to lawyer for large complex disputes.

James has represented individuals and corporations in a variety of matters ranging from defective construction, to business disputes, to real estate, to director and officer liability. His trial experience includes jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations. Additionally, James has significant experience representing property owners associations, contractors, developers, energy companies, and business owners throughout the State of Texas. James has been selected to the Texas Rising Stars list each year from 2018 through 2024 and was named to the Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch list for 2021 and 2022. James is also an active mediator, Member in the State Bar College, and serves as a Texas Bar Foundation Fellow.

James received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin with highest honors (summa cum laude) and his J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law, cum laude. While in law school, he was nominated for the Judge John Kennedy Scholarship for Outstanding Contribution to the Law School, served as a Law Review Articles Editor, and was an active participant in the Legal Clinic Program. Through his work in the clinic program, James tried a case in Dallas County Court at Law to a jury verdict while still in law school.


  • Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law – J.D., cum laude, 2011
  • University of Texas at Austin – B.A., Highest Honors (summa cum laude), 2008

Recognitions & Distinctions

  • Super Lawyers Texas Rising Stars: (2018 – 2024)
  • Best Lawyers – Ones to Watch (2021 – 2022): Commercial Litigation, Construction Law & Construction Litigation
  • Houstonia: Houston’s Top Lawyers (2021 – 2022)
  • Board Certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Representative Experience


  • Significant experience handling complex commercial and industrial construction matters including productivity claims, delay claims, defective work claims, and payment disputes
  • Represented high-rise condominium community and obtained successful settlement in dispute regarding construction defects resulting in water intrusion via the stucco, windows, and balconies
  • Trial on fraudulent conveyance of real estate resulting in successful verdict for client including the award of attorney’s fees
  • Represented clients in international and domestic arbitrations including under the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
  • Obtained summary judgment finding for client in large multi-party dispute regarding roofing products, warranty claims, installation, and oversight
  • Represented independent energy company in dispute regarding rights pursuant to master services contract
  • Obtained summary judgment finding for communications company in matter regarding the installation of network cabling infrastructure on a government project
  • Advised large hotel in dispute regarding services due under master maintenance agreement
  • Successful resolution via out of court settlement to fraudulent lien matter
  • Represented large multi-state contractor in construction arbitration with subcontractor regarding a delay claim and change order dispute
  • Successfully secured recovery for a client on a prior judgment through garnishment process
  • Obtained summary judgment for client in DTPA and breach of fiduciary duty matter
  • Successfully handled numerous matters for design professionals (architects and engineers)
  • Secured temporary restraining order(s), temporary injunction(s), and permanent injunction(s) for multiple clients
  • Prepared and successfully argued numerous trial and pre-trial motions on behalf of clients and seen numerous cases through resolution, including both via trial, arbitration, and alternate dispute resolution methods

Contractual Agreements/Insurance

  • Negotiated and revised AIA agreements for services on numerous projects
  • Drafted Professional Services Agreement on behalf of engineering and surveying firm including schedule of fees and entitlement to lump sum, scope of services, and all related exhibits
  • Negotiated and incorporated performance bond, indemnity, and liquidated damage obligations into construction contracts
  • Drafted and prepared contracts for the construction of large multi-family apartment complexes including applicable provisions on schedule, progress payments, insurance, indemnification, and warranties
  • Drafted numerous contractual provisions on requisite insurance coverage requirements including as to additional insured status and limitations of coverage
  • Advised clients on coverage positions including under depleting policies, claims made policies, professional liability policies, and as to applicable exclusions

Additional Construction & Real Estate

  • Prepared and advised clients on variety of lien related issues including statutory requirements
  • Handled numerous change order related issues to insure compliance with contractual procedures
  • Handled numerous matters involving bond requirements and surety obligations
  • Handled numerous matters involving bids on government projects and the statutory requirements for such bids including as to competitive bidding as governed by Chapter 2269 of the Texas Government Code
  • Advised client on rights to rescind temporary access to intellectual property (for the concept, design, and renderings) in matter regarding the refurbishment of professional sports stadium


  • “Experts in Construction Law: Won’t You Be My Expert?” Presented at the 37th Annual Construction Law Conference (3/8/24)
  • “Top Cases Every Construction Lawyer Should Know.” Presented at Texas Construction Law Conference Basic Course (12/10/21)
  • “Know Your Rights: Limitations and the Discovery Rule.” Construction News, The Industry’s Newspaper (January 2021)
  • “The Texas Two Step: Protecting the Ability to Collect a Judgment.” TX Construction Law Blog (10/2/2018)
  • “The 2017 Changes to the AIA A201 and Implementation of the New Insurance Exhibit: One Year Later.” Construction Law Journal, Volume 14, Number 2 (Summer 2018)
  • “Limitations and the Discovery Rule: Revisiting Bayou Bend Towers Council of Co-Owners” TX Construction Law Blog (05/31/18)
  • Construction Issues: Be Wary of Patch Jobs, FACETS The Journal of Community Associations Institute (VOL XXXVIII, 2014)
  • Standards of Care in Community Associations: A Survey of State Standards – co-author, CAI PRESS (2013)

Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Community Association Institute (CAI), Contributing Author
  • Houston Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA), Member
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Contributing Member
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • State Bar College, Member


  • State Bar of Texas
  • The United States District Court: Northern, Eastern, and Southern Districts of Texas

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