Jim Cousar is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Austin office, where he focuses his practice on land use planning and municipal law, state regulatory matters, and federal and state election law and campaign finance regulation.

Mr. Cousar has more than 40 years of experience in campaign finance and election law at the federal, state and municipal levels, as well as extensive experience representing individuals and private entities before local governments and Texas state agencies.

Representative Experience

  • Represented an elected official in the successful judicial appeal of a public admonition issued by a Texas state commission
  • Represented a flagship Texas public university, a river authority and large Texas city in open government matters, including litigation
  • Represented the City of Austin in public-private downtown and airport redevelopment projects
  • Provides advice to officeholders, candidates, corporations, nonprofits and political action committees (PACs) on compliance with campaign finance and election laws
  • Counsels and represents major landowners and lenders on development agreements and land use regulations
  • Represented PACs created by Fortune 500 companies in ballot measure elections
  • Represented the largest auto dealer in south Texas in proceedings before Texas Department of Motor Vehicles


  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., with honors
  • Harvard University, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Texas
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas, Member, 1979-Present; Administrative and Public Law Section, 1986-Present; Legislative and Campaign Law Section, 2016-Present
  • Austin Bar Association, Administrative Law Section, 1985-Present
  • Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration and Environmental Law, The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Advisory Board, 2011-2018
  • Texas State Historical Association; Reviewer for Southwestern Historical Quarterly
  • Texas Host Committee for American Bar Association (ABA) Pro Bono Conference, Austin, Co-Chair, 1992
  • Travis County Bar Association, Board of Directors, 1994-1996
  • Thompson & Knight Foundation, Director, 1990-2016
  • Thompson & Knight Political Action Committee (PAC), Secretary-Treasurer and Director, 1986-2016; Treasurer, 1986-Present
  • Thompson & Knight Federal PAC, Director, 2000-2015
  • Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee for the State of Texas (FJEC), Member, 2012-Present
  • Mayor's Task Force on Austin Libraries for the Future, Chair, 2000-2001
  • City of Austin Blue Ribbon Ethics Review Commission, Member, 1985-1986; drafted new City Ethics Ordinance adopted in 1986
  • City of Austin Planning Commission, Member, 1986-1988; Committee on Interim Land Development Code, Chair, 1988
  • Appointee to numerous City of Austin task forces and working groups on land development and environmental issues
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Advisory Council, 2003-2016; Chair, 2013-2015
  • KUT Leadership Council, Member, 1990-Present; KUT Advisory Council, 2002-2012
  • Austin Shakespeare Festival, Past President, 2000-2003
  • Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Board Member, 1985-1995; Vice President, 1987-1989; President, 1989-1991
  • Harvard Club of Austin
  • Current or Former Campaign Treasurer for U.S. Congressman, Mayor of Austin, Appellate Judge and various PACs
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Lawyer of the Year, Administrative/Regulatory Law, 2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Administrative/Regulatory Law, 2013-2021, 2023, 2024
  • Texas Super Lawyers magazine, Land Use/Zoning; International; Administrative Law, 2003-2004, 2008-2019