color photo of Jim O'Brien

James (Jim) P. O'Brien

Baker & McKenzie LLP


James P. O’ Brien chairs the Firm’s Global Projects Practice Group, which includes over 225 lawyers working on the development, financing, and acquisition and sale of energy, mining, chemical and infrastructure projects. Jim is lead counsel in major project and infrastructure development and financing transactions such as power generation, chemical and waste recycling facilities. Both on behalf of project sponsors and lenders, Jim has led moving complex projects through development, project financing and operation. He has also been lead counsel on limited recourse project financings, using traditional bank debt, leveraged leases and Rule 144A capital markets issues. And during project development, he has successfully managed complex siting, permitting and transaction issues.

Practice Focus

Jim's power project development and finance work includes fossil-fuel, renewable and waste-derived fuel projects. Amid a changing US energy market, his work includes acquisition and divestiture of power project assets for both financial and strategic parties. Previously, Jim served as outside General Counsel to Oncor Electric Delivery, the largest transmission and distribution utility in Texas, with more than 3.5 million customers. Jim lectures widely on energy and environmental law, and is the author of over 25 articles on various financing transaction issues. Jim now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Representative Legal Matters

  • USD 1.5 billion Jackson Generation Project. Development, construction and project financing of 1100MW combined cycle gas-fired generation project located in PJM.
  • USD 540 million Jupiter Transaction. Acquisition of cash equity interests in nine wind power projects and four solar power projects.
  • USD 515 million acquisition and project financing of Gas-fired Combined Cycle Plant, Hood County, Texas. 
  • USD 150 million Sheboygan Falls Peaking Plant. Development and project financing of gas-fired peaking plant, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. 
  • USD 7.6 billion Scottish Power Acquisition of PacifiCorp. 
  • USD 4 billion TXU Sale of TXU Australia.

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

  • 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