James M. Birkelund (Senior Partner and Co-Founder)

James M. Birkelund (Senior Partner and Co-Founder) is a leading practitioner in environmental and energy law. He represents clients in private enforcement litigation, climate change matters, renewable energy transactions, and utilities matters. His practice includes litigating and advising under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Public Utilities law, Proposition 65, CEQA, NEPA, and other environmental and energy laws. James has extensive experience representing small businesses in energy proceedings at Public Utilities Commissions. He also represents Native American Tribes on a range of litigation matters and represents clients with transactional matters as their outside general counsel.

James previously practiced environmental law at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), as in-house counsel for an electricity utility, and as an associate at Morrison & Foerster, LLP. He received a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and an M.S. in Resource Policy from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources. James teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, California and serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the California Superior Court in San Francisco. James’ passions include international travel and outdoor recreation.


Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Synergy (Electricity Retail Corporation), Australia
Adjunct Professor, UC Hastings College of Law
Judge Pro Tem, San Francisco Superior Court


J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1999
M.S., Resource Policy, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, 1999
B.A., Geology and Economics, Colgate University, 1993

Bar Admissions:

State of California; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Courts in Northern District, Eastern District, and Central District of California