Jim Cousar focuses his practice on regulatory and corporate dispute resolution, land use planning and municipal law, state regulatory matters, oil and gas litigation, and federal and state ethics laws and campaign finance regulation.

Representative Experience

  • Represented Texas public university, river authority, and city in open government matters, including litigation
  • Represented City of Austin in public-private downtown and airport redevelopment projects
  • Represented publicly traded multinational oil company in major arbitration
  • Provides advice to officeholders, candidates, and corporate political committees on compliance with campaign finance laws
  • Counsels and represents major landowners and lenders on development agreements and land use regulations
  • Represented acetylene manufacturer in negotiated revisions to city siting ordinance
  • Represented industrial consumers and landowners in contested cases at Texas Public Utility Commission
  • Represented major landowner in water utility rights contested case at Texas Commission on Environmental Quality


  • 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
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of Texas; Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section; Administrative & Public Law Section
  • Member, Austin Bar Association; Administrative Law Section; Oil and Gas Law Section
  • Advisory Board, Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, The University of Texas School of Law, 2011
  • Advisory Council, University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Member, KUT Leadership Council
  • Past President, Austin Shakespeare Festival
  • Board Member, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, 1985-1995; Vice President, 1987-1989; President, 1989-1991 (non-profit providing legal assistance to low-income persons in civil matters)
  • Harvard Club of Austin
  • Texas State Historical Association
  • Co-Chair, Texas Host Committee for 1992 ABA Pro Bono Conference, Austin
  • Board of Directors, Travis County Bar Association, 1994-1996
  • Current or Former Campaign Treasurer for U.S. Congressman, Mayor of Austin, Appellate Judge, and various PACs
  • Director, Thompson & Knight Foundation
  • Secretary-Treasurer and Director, Thompson & Knight PAC
  • Chairman, Thompson & Knight Federal PAC
  • Member, Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee for the State of Texas (FJEC)
  • Chair, Mayor's Task Force on Austin Libraries for the Future, 2000-2001
  • Member, City of Austin Blue Ribbon Ethics Review Commission, 1985-1986; drafted new City Ethics Ordinance adopted in 1986
  • Member, City of Austin Planning Commission, 1986-1988; Chair, Committee on Interim Land Development Code
  • Appointee to numerous City of Austin task forces and working groups on land development and environmental issues
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Austin Administrative/Regulatory Lawyer of the Year, 2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Administrative/Regulatory Law, 2013-2022
  • Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters (Land Use/Zoning, International, Administrative Law), 2003-2004, 2008-2019