James A. Underwood

James A. Underwood

Attorney | Arbitrator | Judge Pro Tem
Practice Areas
Business, Litigation, Real Estate, Arbitration & Mediation, Succession Planning


Current Practice

As a seasoned and well-rounded attorney with nearly twenty (20) years of legal experience, I effectively assist my business and individual clients with a wide-variety of transactional and dispute resolution matters including those related to: Business, Litigation, and Real Estate. I also have substantial experience as a professional neutral serving as an Arbitrator, Mediator, and Judge Pro Tem.

My Business practice focuses on all stages of legal existence from entity formation to governance and dissolution and includes but is not limited to: general counsel and advice, contracts, employment law, collections, real estate matters, mergers and acquisitions, risk mitigation, regulatory matters, environmental and land use, and other transactional and dispute resolution and litigation matters.

My Civil Litigation practice focuses primarily on contract disputes, real-property conflict resolution, and business dispute-resolution and litigation.  I have experience litigating cases to judges and juries and seek to resolve litigation as efficiently as possible given the needs of a particular case and client.

My Real Estate practice focuses on purchases, sales, leasing, environmental and land use matters, and dispute resolution and litigation.   I am experienced in both transactional and litigation matters of varying complexity.

Since 2012, a growing part of my practice is as a professional neutral which includes service as an Arbitrator, Mediator, and Judge Pro Tem.  I currently serve as an Oregon Circuit Court Arbitrator for twenty (20) Counties and work as a private Arbitrator.  I also serve on private Arbitration panels with the Arbitration Services of Portland, Inc. (ASP), the Oregon State Bar, the National Arbitration Mediation (NAM), and the Financial Industry Regulatory authority (FINRA).  I have substantial experience Arbitrating contract, business, personal injury, landlord tenant, real property, collections, leasing, employment, and many other civil disputes and have been appointed (and/or litigation) hundreds of Arbitration cases. 

I also serve in Washington County as a Judge Pro Tem with both the Circuit Court and Justice Court; handling small claims, civil motions, FED matters and traffic matters.  I also have professional mediation training and serve as a private Mediator and volunteer Mediator with the OSB Fee Dispute Resolution Program.

My broad experience as a both a transactional attorney and litigator, Arbitrator, Judge Pro Tem, and Mediator provides my clients with sound counsel and advocacy and parties with seasoned, practical, impartial, and fair decision-making.


An Oregonian since 1998, I was raised in Southern California and obtained my B.A. degree in Political Science with High Honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1997.  I graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law with a J.D. in 2001. 

During law school, I worked with the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) in its Consumer Protection and Financial Fraud Section and later served as the Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Kip W. Leonard at the Lane County Oregon Circuit Court prior to starting my private legal practice.

My diverse legal experience as a lawyer includes working as a Public Defender, practicing in small and mid-sized private-practice law firms doing a wide-range of litigation and transactional work, and successfully owning and operating my own law firms for many years.

Personal Activities

I enjoy spending my free time with my wife, family, friends, and pets and engaging in a wide-range of outdoor and personal activities including: skiing, backpacking, music, martial arts, photography, and giving back to the community through a wide-range of service.  I am also a proud Eagle Scout.

Memberships & Affiliations

– Clackamas County Circuit Court, Arbitration Commission, Commissioner, since 2019

– Oregon State Bar Sections (past and present): Litigation Section, Business Litigation Section, ADR Section, Real Estate Section, Estate Planning Section, Debtor-Creditor Section, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, Sustainable Futures Section

– Oregon State Bar, Lawyer-to-Lawyer, Volunteer, since 2013

– Washington County Bar Association, Member, since 2012

Bar Admissions

– Washington State Bar, 2011

– United States District Court, District of Oregon, 2006

– Oregon State Bar, 2004


– Lewis and Clark School of Law, LLM Candidate, Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law, 2022

– Portland Community College, 32-hour Mediation Training Certified for Oregon, 2019

– University of Oregon School of Law, JD, 2001

– University of California, Santa Barbara, BA, High Honors, 1997