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James M. Lyons

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"Retains his reputation as a go-to lawyer for a range of issues including insurance disputes, IP litigation, and securities litigation. He is also noted for his arbitration practice and has handled a range of disputes including international commercial matters." - Chambers USA

Jim Lyons focuses his practice on complex business ‎litigation, mediation, and arbitration of all types, including corporate, securities, ‎insurance law, and crisis management. Jim has more than 40 years of courtroom ‎and jury trial experience in state and federal courts. He also has ‎extensive government relations and international trade and ‎diplomatic experience from his work in Ireland and the United ‎Kingdom as special advisor to the President and Secretary of State ‎for Economic Initiatives in Northern Ireland and the border counties ‎of the Republic of Ireland.

More About James M. Lyons


  • J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1971
  • B.A., College of the Holy Cross, 1968

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1971

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Colorado Supreme Court
  • Colorado Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois


  • Ireland's Honorary Consul/Denver, 2009-present
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 2011-2012
  • Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System IAALS University of Denver, Advisory Board
  • Colorado Denver and Illinois Bar Associations, Member
  • Member of the AAA and ICDR Roster of Neutrals, Panel of Arbitrators, and Panel of Mediators
  • National Association of Distinguished Neutrals
  • Doyle's Inn Chapter of the American Inns of Court, Master Barrister
  • Board of Trustees, Regis University, 1999-2008; 2012-2021
  • Advisory Board, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
  • Advisory Board, Center for Dependency Addiction and Recovery, University of Colorado Hospital

Representative Matters

Arbitration and ADR Experience

In the past five years, Jim has served as a sole arbitrator, arbitration panel chair, or member in 35 major arbitrations, including international commercial disputes. These have included disputes over intellectual property, royalties, commissions, mergers, acquisitions, and distributions, as well as insurance coverages, shareholder rights, and claims from real estate development interests. Jim has also served as a court-appointed mediator and has been selected by the AAA and by counsel for private litigants in numerous cases facing imminent trial.

Recent Litigation Experience

Recent clients include The Anschutz Corporation, the City and County of Denver, Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, HealthOne, Rocky Mountain Health Care (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado and New Mexico), STET, Qwest Communications, and Tracinda Corporation. 

  • Lead trial counsel for a major Colorado school district in defense of statutory and constitutional challenges to its school voucher program. After an adverse 4-3 decision by the Colorado Supreme Court, the case was successfully appealed by the school district to the United States Supreme Court which granted certiorari, vacated the judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court and remanded the matter for further consideration in light of Trinity Lutheran. After a change in the composition of the elected school board, the case was then dismissed as moot.
  • Served as independent counsel and lead litigation counsel to independent members of the Board of Directors of Qwest Communications in civil and regulatory matters and for the merger Qwest/Century Link.
  • Served as independent counsel to the Board of Trustees of Colorado State University and as acting general counsel to Colorado State University.
  • Lead counsel for the City and County of Denver in federal court litigation brought by the ACLU and organizations claiming infringement of First Amendment rights for parade routes, permits, and public demonstration areas for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Case was tried to judgment in favor of the City on all issues.
  • Lead trial counsel for the principal defendant in one of the largest CERCLA/Superfund cases in the United States, United States and State of Colorado v. Friedland et al., Civil Action No. 96-N-1213, United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Summitville Mine, Del Norte, Colorado). Case was favorably settled with the U.S. and Colorado state governments.
  • Lead defense counsel for the City and County of Denver in multiple securities class actions involving the public issuance of more than $3 billion of Denver International Airport bonds (case dismissed).
  • Representation, advice, and strategic counseling to boards of directors, independent directors, and board committees of public companies in connection with securities litigation, class actions, and regulatory and compliance investigations. Also representation of hospital boards and nonprofit health care insurance entities in connection with asset sales, conversion to for-profit status, and formation of foundations to receive proceeds. Related representations include matters involving D&O liability and D&O insurance carriers.
  • Pro bono co-lead counsel for a group of Colorado state prisoners with untreated hepatitis C. Federal court settlement resulted in a state of the art treatment protocol.

Honors & Recognitions

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
    • Colorado State Chair, 2004-2006
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow
    • Trial Law Institute, Member
    • Diversity Law Institute, Member
  • Barrister's Best 2022 - Arbitrator of the Year, Law Week Colorado, October 2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America, “Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year” for Denver, Arbitration, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense-White Collar, and Mediation, 2010, 2016-2024
  • Benchmark Litigation, "Local Litigation Star" in Colorado, 2016-2024
  • Colorado Super Lawyers in the area of Business Litigation, 2021-2024, Top 100 Lawyers, 2021-2024, Top Ten Lawyers, 2006-2019; Top Vote Getter, 2012; 2006-2020
  • Chambers USA, Top Band, Commercial Litigation, 2013-2023
  • 5280 [The Denver Magazine], "Top Lawyers" List, 2020
  • Corporate INTL Magazine, "Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney of the Year" in Colorado, 2014
  • DePaul University College of Law, Outstanding Alumnus, 2011
  • Law Week Colorado, "Best Arbitrator," 2011 "Lawyer of the Decade," 2010-2011
  • Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (Inaugural) Leadership Award, 2010
  • Colorado Super Lawyers, Featured cover story, "The Gold Standard - How Jim Lyons Helped Bring Peace to Northern Ireland," 2007
  • University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Honorary Doctorate of Law (LL.D.), "In recognition of his service to peace & the people of Northern Ireland," 2002
  • Learned Hand National Award, American Jewish Committee, 1998
  • St. Thomas More Award, Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, 1998



  • A Call For Additional Federal Judges
    Co-Author, The Docket, 2016-01-01


  • Jim is a frequent lecturer on the Northern Ireland peace process and current affairs in Ireland.
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