James Underwood

James A. Underwood

Practice Areas

Business, Civil Litigation, Real Estate, Estate Planning, and Arbitration/Mediation

Professional Legal Experience

I bring over twenty (20) years of professional legal experience to assist my business and individual clients with a wide-variety of legal matters including those related to: Business, Civil Litigation, Real Estate, Estate Planning, and Arbitration/Mediation. My Business practice focuses on all stages of legal existence from entity formation to governance and dissolution and includes: general counsel and advice; contract drafting, evaluation, and negotiation; employment law; collections; real estate purchases, sales, and leasing; business acquisitions and transactions; regulatory compliance; and, dispute resolution, and litigation.  My Civil Litigation practice focuses primarily on contract disputes, real-property conflict resolution, and business dispute-resolution and litigation.  My Real Estate practice focuses on purchases, sales, leasing, and dispute resolution and litigation.  My Estate Planning practice focuses on Wills and Trusts, Advanced Directives, and Powers of Attorney.  I am a Circuit Court Arbitrator in nineteen (19) Oregon Counties and a private Arbitrator and serve on panels with the Arbitration Services of Portland, Inc. (ASP) and National Arbitration Mediation (NAM).  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 to over one-hundred (100) and Circuit Court 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 act as a private Mediator.  My experience as a business attorney, litigator, real estate attorney, Arbitrator, Judge Pro Tem and Mediator provides my clients, litigants, and the community with seasoned, practical, fair, and reasoned counsel, advocacy, and 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 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 over seven (7) years.

Outside 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.  I am also a proud Eagle Scout.

Current Memberships & Affiliations
  • Clackamas County Circuit Court, Arbitration Commission, Board Member since 2019
  • Oregon State Bar, Disciplinary Board, Region 4, Member since 2018
  • Oregon State Bar, Lawyer-to-Lawyer, Volunteer since 2013
  • Washington County Bar Association, Member since 2012
  • Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, Member since 2012

Bar Admissions
  • Oregon State Bar, 2004
  • Washington State Bar, 2011
  • United States District Court, District of Oregon, 2006

  • Lewis and Clark School of Law, LLM, Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law, 2021
  • University of Oregon School of Law, J.D., 2001
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A. High Honors, 1997