Focused. Skilled. Efficient.


“James Holmes testifies before the Texas Legislature in favor of the Business Court, House Bill 19, 88th Texas Legislative Session”

Texas badly needs trial courts that are specialized for complex, large business cases.  James Holmes has advocated for this new court system for several years.  Recognizing that Holmes has experience and knowledge for introducing such specialized courts to the Texas system, legislators in the 88th Session and advocates for these specialized courts – to be named the “Business Court” under House Bill 19 – asked Holmes to testify before the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee of the Texas House of Representatives on March 22, 2023.  Below is a copy of Holmes’s testimony to the Legislature strongly in favor of House Bill 19.

“I have lived in Texas my entire life, rarely spending time away from my State.  I graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and then worked for the Texas Supreme Court as a Briefing Attorney.  I practice commercial law, including a large amount of trial and appellate work.  I frequently serve as my clients’ sole trial and appellate counsel.  It’s “one-stop shopping” when clients come to my firm.

Before going further, I must add that I have voted for and have raised money for judicial candidates in both parties, and I will continue to do so.

My 30-year legal career convinces me that Texas needs the Business Court because too often in commercial litigation – actually, in the vast majority of commercial cases – a simple “contract dispute” over a relatively small sum becomes the false basis for “extra-contractual theories and claims” carrying punitive damages, thereby resulting in a protracted legal dispute over tens of millions of dollars.  After usually six to 10 years of costly trial and appellate litigation, most of the extra-contractual theories and claims fail under legal analysis and are therefore dismissed: but at what a tremendous cost and delay.

This very pattern caused the following cases to become more protracted and expensive – for the litigants, and for state resources – than each case ever should have been:

 Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Enter. Prods. Partners, L.P., 593 S.W.3d 732 (Tex. 2020).

Stephens v. Three Finger Black Shale Partnership, 580 S.W.3d 687 (Tex. App. – Eastland 2019, pet. denied).

Allen v. Devon Energy Holdings, L.L.C., 367 S.W.3d 355 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2012, judgm’t set aside by agr.).

With several different jurisdictional grants, House Bill 19 in the 88th Session would place cases like these in the Business Court – for the benefit of litigants, state resources, and business communities within Texas.

I should further state that these sorts of cases are the most hard-fought and contentious cases I have ever experienced.  All parties walk away from them embittered, with lasting hard feelings.  One side is literally digging out of the other side’s bank account dollars for compensation – but this involves taking from that bank account hard-earned money or a life’s savings.  There is no insurance policy behind this sort of litigation, in most cases.  Usually, each side is what we call “self-insured” – in other words, each side is expending its own money to prosecute or defend the case, and its own money to settle the case or, more commonly, to continue fighting it.

I ask your Committee the take stock of the human cost in these sorts of cases – which never ceases to surprise me with how hard-fought they can be.  Business Courts will shorten these cases, causing them to last just a few months or years – rather than a full decade.  Business Courts will give the parties greater certainty of the ultimate outcome, thereby facilitating early resolutions to these wasteful cases.

Thank you.”

“Fastest Jury Deliberation in the West”

James Holmes and Andrea Seldowitz of Holmes PLLC successfully obtained a unanimous verdict  for their client, a contract claimant, during a jury trial in Dallas County, Texas, lasting January 9-11, 2023.  The firm’s client, Snively Royalty Analysis, provided accounting review services to a DFW businessman, Richard Panchasarp.  The parties disputed the amount of fee owed to Snively.


Holmes and Seldowitz put on a straightforward case: Snively provided accounting services, the parties’ contract entitled Snively to its fee, and Panchasarp failed to pay the full fee.  After three days, the jury deliberated for under 15 minutes before returning a unanimous verdict that Panchasarp must pay Snively $563,564.70.  The Court has rendered a judgment on the verdict, awarding Snively $563,564.70 in contract damages; $380,287.20 in prejudgment interest (and counting); and $325,000.00 in attorney’s fees (and counting).


About the case, Holmes said, “Andrea and I are proud to represent our client, businesswoman Victoria Snively.  We put on a straightforward breach-of-contract case – with no complexity or side shows.  The jury understood the case and readily awarded Victoria the money owed to her company.  After trial, jurors thanked us for putting on a simple, efficient case that was respectful of their time.  Normally, when jury’s come back fast, it means the defendant has won.  But here, the plaintiff Snively Royalty Analysis won and I couldn’t be happier about that!”


Holmes as a “Super Lawyer”

For every year since Texas Monthly began its annual survey of the “Texas Super Lawyers,” James Holmes has achieved the ranking of Super Lawyer. To formulate its Super Lawyers list, Texas Monthly asks tens of thousands of practicing attorneys to select the best lawyers in Texas for various practice areas. Very few attorneys make the list, and even fewer make the list year after year. James has achieved a Super Lawyers ranking unmatched by most. James’s trial and appellate experiences are substantial and well surpass the norm in number, complexity and profile.

CLE Speaking Engagements

In October 2017, for the Petroleum Engineers’ Club of Dallas, James Holmes spoke on “Marketing Primer and Pointers” for upstream oil and gas transactions.  Marketing insights from this popular speech have been widely disseminated by oil and gas professionals and have resulted in common quotations on the present-day oil and gas marketing environment.

In October 2018, James presented his speech and paper on “Post-Production Deductions in Gas Royalties” to the NARO National Convention in Denver. In July 2017, James presented his speech and paper on “Post-Production Deductions in Gas Royalties” to the NARO Texas Convention in Austin. In February 2016, James presented his speech and paper on “Managing Outside Counsel in Litigation” to oil and gas and insurance executives and in-house counsel in Houston. In September 2015, James gave a one-day seminar to oil and gas industry professionals in Houston on upstream accounting and royalty administration. In October 2013, James spoke in Austin on engagement letters and applicable ethics rules for the continuing legal education program of the University of Texas School of Law. In October 2011, James spoke at the NARO annual convention in Long Beach, California on upstream oil and gas pricing and related royalty-payment standards. For over 25 years, James has regularly presented papers and has given numerous legal-education speeches for U.T. Law, the State Bar of Texas, the University of Houston Law Center, the National Association of Royalty Owners, and Electric Utility Consultants, Inc. He is a sought-after and frequent continuing education speaker. He knows that by teaching a subject to others he continuously improves his own legal and business skills for the firm’s clients. Click here for a sampling of his speeches and publications.

Holmes’s Crude-Oil Marketing Company Is in Its 11th Year

Whether as an attorney or businessman, James Holmes strives to obtain competitive oil and gas pricing and measurement for his clients and industry colleagues. To that end, he formed the oil and gas marketing company Robur LLC, which has enjoyed expansive growth over the past decade and currently markets over $60 million annually for its diverse client base. James intends to grow Robur LLC to help a broad variety of royalty owners, working-interest owners and producers in their marketing of oil and gas production.

Holmes as Certified Investment Adviser

In 2010 the Texas State Securities Board issued a Certificate of Registration for James Holmes as an Investment Adviser. The Investment Adviser status has enabled Mr. Holmes on a fee basis to consult with colleagues, family members, and investment partnerships, such as Reg D funds (e.g., 17 C.F.R. § 230.506), regarding their investment selections and strategies. Further, Mr. Holmes formed Robur Capital, L.P., a value-investing style investment partnership in order to manage certain capital needs for Robur LLC.

Work for Law Day and DISD School Children

James Holmes served as the Dallas Bar Association’s chair or co-chair for the Law Day Committee for most of the 2000s and early 2010s. The American Bar Association sponsors Law Day through regional Bar Associations, like the Dallas Bar Association. Law Day provides opportunities for public-school students to learn about our government and its legal system. Law Day typically educates these students by focusing their attention on an important constitutional aspect of our government.

Holmes Pushes for Supersedeas Reforms in Texas Law

To benefit the Texas business community, James Holmes pushes to reform Texas’s “supersedeas laws” — the rules for how a business prevents judgment execution while pursuing an appeal.

Whether by legislation in a Texas legislative session, or by gradual case-law development, James continuously seeks to improve the civil justice system for Texas businesses and business owners. To that end, he has focused his efforts in recent years on reforming Texas’s “supersedeas laws” — the laws in play when a business or business person needs to prevent judgment execution while pursuing an appeal. In February 2020, Holmes published “Superseding Money Judgments in Texas: Four Proposed Reforms to Help the Business Litigant,” 51 ST. MARY’S L.J. 69 (2020). He is actively informing Texas businesspeople and lawmakers of the importance of this initiative.