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“Jim’s brilliant. I look for his counsel in more than just securities and exchange issues. He’s been extraordinarily valuable to our company.”

CEO, International Restaurant Company

Overview

As a transactional lawyer, Jim considers himself a puzzle-solver. He pulls together pieces of each transaction and helps clients analyze which deals will move them toward their long-term goals.

Jim’s engagements include cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, governance, securities, international expansion and general corporate matters. He is well known for his ability to understand the human side of transactions and keep peace during stressful negotiations.

With deep roots in agriculture, Jim draws on his industry knowledge and analytical skills to help clients find their best solution. He was raised in a small farming community in California and gained hands-on experience in the food and agribusiness industry as a plant manager for Sunkist. As a lawyer, he has guided some of the world’s best-known food and agriculture companies, investors and financers. This distinct background allows Jim to understand his clients’ operations with an insider’s perspective.

Jim represents large public and private companies in varied industries and has served as lead counsel on significant transactions, including acquisitions involving AMC Theatres, Freightquote.com, Applebee’s and Russell Stover Candies. He is a former member of Husch Blackwell’s Executive Board.

“Jim’s brilliant. I look for his counsel in more than just securities and exchange issues. He’s been extraordinarily valuable to our company.”

CEO, International Restaurant Company


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers In America
    • Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, 1995-2019
    • Kansas City Corporate Law "Lawyer of the Year," 2010 
    • Kansas City Mergers and Acquisitions Law "Lawyer of the Year," 2015
  • BTI Client Service All-Stars, 2017
  • Chambers USA, Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions Law, 2010-2018
  • IFLR1000, Notable Practitioner, 2018
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Education

  • J.D., University of California-Los Angeles School of Law
      • Order of the Coif
      • UCLA Law Review
      • UCLA-Alaska Law Review, Editor
  • B.A., University of California-Los Angeles
    • summa cum laude

Admissions

  • Missouri

Languages

  • Spanish, Conversant
Featured Case Study

Multinational Transaction Realigns Client's U.S. and EU Interests

In a four-party transaction that realigned an entire manufacturing industry across the United States and Europe, Jim and his team led the client through a series of acquisitions, joint ventures and exclusive supply arrangements. The team skillfully and diplomatically coordinated the interests of Swedish, German, Italian and U.S. parties, the workers’ councils at plants in Germany and Italy, the Italian government and the EU competition commission. The result? The successful simultaneous closing of three transnational acquisitions and approval by the EU competition commission of the longest exclusive supply agreement allowed at that time.


Additional Experience
  • Advised Illuminet on $1.3 billion sale to VeriSign Inc.
  • Served as outside general counsel for Triumph Foods LLC, a leading pork processor in the United States.
  • Represented AMC Theatres in $1.1 billion acquisition of Carmike Cinemas and $1.2 billion purchase of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group.
  • Advised Freightquote.com on $400 million sale to C.H. Robinson.
  • Represented Russell Stover Candies, Inc. in $1.6 billion sale to Lindt & Sprüngli AG. Transaction spanned two continents, included multiple manufacturing and retail facilities, involved significant U.S. and international tax planning, and included key antitrust approvals.
  • Represented Applebee's International Inc. in $1.2 billion acquisition by IHOP Corp. In connection with this transaction, Applebee's entered into securitization transaction with respect to its U.S. franchise agreements, U.S. company-owned restaurants and U.S. intellectual property rights.
  • Counseled American Italian Pasta Co. in $1 billion merger with Ralcorp Holdings Inc. Negotiated merger agreement, prepared tender offer documents and all public company filings, and advised board of directors on all aspects of sale.
  • Represented Monterey Gourmet Foods Inc. during acquisition by Korean company Pulmuone Holdings Co. The $50 million transaction was structured as tender offer followed by short-form merger.
  • Handled dozens of restaurant chain and grocery chain acquisitions.
  • Counseled industry leading agribusiness investment company Oppenheimer Industries Inc. in structuring livestock and ranching investment partnerships.
  • Represented Lansing Trade Group, LLC in its acquisition by The Andersons through complex cash-and-stock deal valued at $305 million
Thought Leadership
Blog Posts
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Outside the Office

Jim and his wife are active supporters of Graceland University.

They frequently host students who are unable to travel home for the holidays. The couple also often houses the golf team and women’s soccer team for Kansas City-based matches.

Presidential Appointment

A highlight of Jim’s career has been his appointment by President Obama in 2015 to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD).

The seven-member board counsels the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on research and agriculture issues relevant to food insecurity in developing countries. The board also advises senior leaders within USAID on ways to connect U.S. agriculture to foreign aid in an effort to create viable agriculture economies in other nations.

Jim and his family are personally committed to addressing world hunger. As a member of BIFAD, he is able to directly contribute to the development of sustainable food capacities in struggling countries.