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Jim Johnson

Correen Crocker, 303.575.7541


Jim Johnson assists real estate developers and owners in sophisticated land use, development and transactional matters. Jim’s practice focuses on every aspect of the entitlement and development process for both in-fill projects downtown and master planned communities in the suburbs to the acquisition and disposition phase. He represents clients on the front end of development projects from acquiring real property to securing annexation, zoning, subdivision or other local government approvals, through acquisition, development and disposition . Jim’s background in civil engineering is an asset, as he also represents clients in the negotiation of construction and design contracts.

In addition to Jim’s land use practice, he has extensive experience representing clients in disputes regarding entitlement approvals and eminent domain issues. Jim’s litigation practice includes representing landowners in Rule 106 actions challenging local government decisions surrounding annexation, zoning and subdivision issues. Jim also represents landowners facing the threat of eminent domain, in pre-condemnation planning, valuation issues and condemnation proceedings.

Before commencing his legal career with Otten Johnson, Jim was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Gregory Hobbs of the Colorado Supreme Court. Prior to starting law school, he was an engineer with an international environmental consulting firm. Jim served on the firm’s Executive Committee from 2010 to 2020, and was managing director from 2011 to 2020. He is currently on the firm's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.


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Representative experience includes:

  • Negotiated annexation and development agreement for 3500-acre master-planned community in Denver metropolitan area
  • Represented developer in connection with construction and sale of mixed use building in downtown Denver
  • Assisted client in entitlement of large downtown Denver redevelopment project, including general development plan and affordable housing covenants
  • Represented international construction material company in connection with numerous land use and real estate matters, including CLOMR and LOMR applications, mining permits and regulatory disputes
  • Assisted client in negotiation of urban renewal project and entitlement documents in Denver metropolitan area
  • Represented land developer in entitlement and sale of lots to home builder in northern Colorado
  • Represented client in successful multi-million dollar eminent domain action, including trial court and arguments before the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court


  • Frequent speaker at Land Use Planning CLE and Colorado Real Estate Journal Conferences
  • Otten Johnson Alert: Hot Topics in Land Use: Land Development in Colorado Today (September 2013)
  • Otten Johnson Alert: DevelopDENVER - The Vision to Make the City's Development Services Office a "One-Stop Shop" for Developers (February 2012)
  • Otten Johnson Alert: Colorado Restricts Private Transfer Fees (June 2011)
  • Otten Johnson Alert: Colorado Amends "Agricultural Land" Classification (May 2011)
  • Author: Limits Imposed on Colorado Urban Renewal Areas (May 2010)
  • Author: Xcel Shifting Environmental Liability (May 2009)
  • Co-author: Legislation Prohibits Covenants for Transfer Fees Upon Conveyance, Colorado Real Estate Journal, September 7-20, 2011
  • Contributing Author: Colorado Land Planning and Development Law, Ninth ed.; Bradford Publishing (2008)
  • Author: Treaty Fishing Rights and Indian Participation in International Fisheries Management, 77 Den. U.L. Rev. 403 (1999)
  • Issue Editor: Natural Resources Symposium, Denver University Law Review

Awards & Involvement

  • Urban Land Institute, Co-Chair Community Development Product Council (2018-2020)
  • Law Firm Alliance, Board of Directors (2016-2020)
  • The Fax: Advisor
  • Denver Metro Chamber Transportation Council and Water Task Force
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Pro Bono Counsel
  • Urban Peak: Pro Bono Counsel
  • Best Lawyers (2014-2021)
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star (2010); Super Lawyers (2012-2019)
  • Denver Metro Chamber's Leadership Denver (2005)
  • Clerk for Justice Gregory Hobbs, Colorado Supreme Court (2000-2001)


  • State of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • American Bar Association
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association


  • J.D., University of Denver College of Law (2000); Order of St. Ives 
  • B.S., University of Virginia (1991)



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