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Practice Areas


J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law

M.A., Music Performance, University of Southern California

B.A., Music, San Jose State University



New Mexico

U.S. District Court, Northern & Eastern Districts of California

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


AV Preeminent® (highest level of professional excellence) Peer Review Rated
CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.

James R. Hawley

Affiliated Attorney *

Practice Overview

James R. Hawley’s practice is focused in the areas of environmental law, real estate, ADA compliance, and land use. He has extensive experience representing clients in those areas, including advice and counsel and all phases of litigation, from alternative dispute resolution to jury and bench trials.

Mr. Hawley represents businesses and individuals in matters involving land use and industrial contamination, including negotiations with regulators, appearances before various agencies, advice and counsel regarding environmental compliance and risk management, and coordination with environmental consultants to oversee investigations and cleanups and to obtain site closures. He also represents clients in hazardous substance litigation, including CERCLA and RCRA cost recovery actions, petroleum contamination from leaking underground storage tanks and actions brought under other state and federal environmental protection laws. He also has expertise in so-called “toxic mold” claims and remediation, as well as disability access issues and claims.

Mr. Hawley represents clients in litigation arising out of t he California Environmental Qualify Act (CEQA), including claims involving the siting of buildings for particular purposes, the application of statutory and categorical exemptions, negative declarations, and EIRs. He also provides advice to clients regarding compliance with CEQA before the approval of projects, and during the approval process, to help avoid problems before litigation can arise.

Mr. Hawley also provides advice and guidance concerning land use and environmental issues in real property transactions, including the negotiation and allocation of environmental risks and indemnities in purchase and sale agreements and leases. He assists clients in the drafting of commercial leases and represents both landlords and tenants in litigation involving the breach and termination of such leases. He has represented clients in negotiations with, and appearances before, public entity boards concerning land use and development issues such as zoning changes and disputes, permitting problems, and takings issues , and has significant experience in easements, boundary disputes, liens and mortgages.


Representative Matters

Environmental & Land Use

  • Successfully defended two separate CEQA lawsuits challenging the clients’ development plans and decisions
  • Was successful in obtaining court reversals of land use decisions by two different municipalities denying the clients’ development applications

Hazardous Materials

  • Has represented property owners and tenants in cases involving alleged contamination by solvents and petroleum products
  • Represented chip manufacturer who allegedly contributed to chemical plume
  • Counseled clients whose property was contaminated by a major oil company; negotiated with City and oil company regarding indemnities, eminent domain acquisition of property, and settlement of potential claims
  • Represented hazardous waste recycler against claims by District Attorney for civil penalties due to violations of statutes and use permit
  • Successfully represented a small partnership against a multi-billion dollar corporation in a six-year water board case involving cross-claims of solvent contamination on neighboring properties

Americans With Disabilities Act

  • Has defended numerous restaurants, retail facilities, office buildings, and other places of public accommodation against claims of inaccessibility
  • Working with a consultant, performs audits of ADA compliance for businesses of all sizes

Professional & Community Activities

Mr. Hawley served for eight years as Chair of the American Beethoven Society’s Board of Trustees, a national organization affiliated with the Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University, and was a long-standing member of the Advisory Board of San Jose State University’s School of Music and Dance. He also serve d for several years on the board of directors of Symphony Silicon Valley.

Military Service

During the period 1970-1972, Mr. Hawley served as a lieutenant in the United States Army. His service included duty in Vietnam as an artillery battery fire direction officer, forward observer, and liaison officer to a South Vietnamese artillery unit. Upon his return to the U.S., he was a training officer at the U.S. Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.





* Affiliates are not employees of Hoge Fenton