color photo of Jim O'Brien

James (Jim) P. O'Brien

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Jim O'Brien is a partner resident in the Chicago office, and is the past chair of the Firm's Global Projects Practice Group, which consists of over 200 lawyers who work on large energy, mining and infrastructure projects and financings.

Practice Focus

Jim serves as counsel in major project and infrastructure transactions such as large infrastructure and renewable energy projects. On behalf of project sponsors, investors and lenders, Jim has led the counsel team moving complex projects through development, project financing and operation. From 2007 to 2012, Jim served as General Counsel of Oncor Electric, the largest transmission and distribution utility in Texas, with over 3.5 million customers. Jim now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Led the legal team on the development, contracting, and project financing of the USD 850 million Advanced Clean Energy Storage project, which is an energy storage project near Delta, Utah utilizing a 240MWe hydrogen electrolysis conversion facility and underground storage. The ACES project is the world's largest hydrogen conversion and storage project. The offtaker is a government power producer and the project was financed with a USD 504.5 million project finance loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Jim has led the team on all of the project agreements and the project financing.
  • Advised J-POWER on the USD 1.5 billion Jackson Generation Project. Jim led the team on all aspects of the development, construction and project financing of 1100MW combined cycle gas-fired generation project located in PJM.
  • Advised Hannon Armstrong, a publicly traded REIT, in over USD 2.5 billion of investment in renewable energy wind, solar and battery storage projects, including tax equity partnerships and supporting back-leverage facilities, both on a project and portfolio basis.
  • Advised the sponsors on the USD 586 million Lesedi and Lesatsi Solar Power plants. Development, construction and financing of solar power projects in South Africa.
  • Advised Jupiter Power in the USD 540 million acquisition of cash equity interests in nine wind power projects and four solar power projects. 
  • Advised the sponsors on the USD 1 billion Redstone CSP Project. Development and sale of the 150MW concentrated solar power project in South Africa.
  • Advised the sponsor consortium on the USD 1 billion DEWA III Project. Development and construction of the DEWA III 800 MW PV project in Dubai.

Professional Honors

  • Recognized in Project Finance Law, Best Lawyers in America, 2014
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers Individual Awards, 2005-2007, 2009-2012, 2015-2021

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Wyoming State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission - Chair
  • American Bar Association
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Wyoming State Bar Association


  • Wyoming~United States (2020)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit~United States (1993)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit~United States (1993)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois~United States (1988)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit~United States (1988)
  • Wisconsin~United States (1983)
  • Illinois~United States (1983)


  • University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif) (1983)
  • University of Notre Dame (B.S., cum laude) (1980)


  • English
  • French
  • Author, "African Economy Gets New Source of Energy," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, May 2014