James Kurtz-Phelan

Of Counsel
(he, him, his)


As a highly-experienced Denver real estate attorney, James L. Kurtz-Phelan offers clients solutions that contribute to their growth and success. His thorough knowledge of real estate and his 40-plus years of experience guides his clients through the most complex real estate transactions.

In his practice, James advises clients in acquisitions, sales, and development of residential and commercial real estate projects, as well as ranches and other rural sites. He successfully managed the entitlement and development work on a number of large residential subdivisions throughout the Front Range and mountain communities, condominium, and townhome projects in urban areas, shopping centers, and resort developments.

Throughout his career, James has demonstrated an ability to attend to details while handling complex real estate projects. Whether representing his clients before a planning commission or helping clients close a complex loan transaction, he adds value to every transaction and assists clients any way he can.



  • Yale Law School, 1972 (J.D.)
  • The University of Texas at El Paso, 1968 (B.B.A.)

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1972

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2008
  • U.S. Claims Court, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 1989

  • Provided environmental due diligence representation to a national retailer with over 30 store sites throughout the Rocky Mountain region. For one of the sites in Denver, he negotiated a prospective purchaser agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which allowed the client to redevelop a Superfund site. This site was one of the first projects to reuse a contaminated site approved by the national and state governments.
  • Has been involved in a number of residential loft projects in downtown Denver and several first- and second-home developments in Colorado mountain communities, including the conversion of resort hotels to condominium hotel ownership and the acquisition of three contiguous ranches totaling over 5,000 acres in size.

  • Anti-Defamation League
    • Rocky Mountain Region Board, Board Chair, 2016-present
    • National Civil Rights Committee, 2015-present
    • National Commission, 2004-present
    • Rocky Mountain Region Board, 1999-present
  • Jewish Community Centers of Denver, Board of Directors, 1994-2011
  • Herzl Jewish Day School, Board of Directors, 1985-1993
  • American Jewish Committee, Board of Directors, 1983-1986
  • Legal advisor to the Colorado Governor, 1979-1982
  • University of Denver College of Law, Adjunct Professor, 1975-1979
  • Assistant Attorney General of Colorado, handled land use and transportation matters, 1975-1979
  • University of Denver College of Law, Clinical Law Teacher, 1972-1975

  • Colorado Super Lawyers, 2009-2019
  • Law Week Colorado, Lawyer of the Decade finalist
  • Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2013-2024
  • Denver Magazine, Top Lawyer, Real Estate, 2010

  • Colorado Bar Association, Real Estate Law Section Council, 1994-1997
  • Colorado Bar Association, Court Reform Committee, 1982-1986
  • Denver Bar Association, Judicial Selection and Benefits Committee, 1982-1984