James E. Lapeze
Shareholder, New Orleans
Hancock Whitney Center
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139


James Lapeze is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who handles oil and gas-related disputes, primarily before the state and federal courts and regulatory agencies of Texas and Louisiana.  His clients are often midstream and upstream oil and gas companies facing development and royalty demands, expropriation actions, legacy claims, land ownership disputes and other complex energy and environmental-related problems.  

A native of Baton Rouge, James also has extensive experience with high-stakes, energy and corporate issues throughout the region, including disputes involving oilfield operations, lease maintenance, pipelines, underground storage tanks and NORM.  One of James's main goals with each of his clients is to help them deal with the stress and unknowns of litigation, on either side of the docket.  “Litigation of any type creates uncertainty,” as he puts it, “and the best way to lower our client's anxiety is by walking them through the legal issues as well as their potential liability.”  

In addition to his litigation practice, James helps clients draft and interpret oil and gas agreements, payment of royalties, lease maintenance, lease development, assignment of lease interests, and obligations of operators.



  • Louisiana State, Texas State, American and New Orleans Bar Association – Member


  • Best Lawyers' – Litigation - Environmental "Lawyer of the Year" 2023

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 20202023

  • Best Lawyers' - Oil & Gas Law "Lawyers of the Year" 2022

  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business – Energy & Natural Resources: Oil & Gas; Environment: Litigation, 2013–2014

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  • “Evolution of Environmental Citizen Suits in Louisiana," Louisiana State Bar Association, April 6

  • “Deposing Technical Experts," Louisiana State Bar Association’s Art of Deposition Seminar, September 2018

  • “Louisiana Legacy Update,” Liskow & Lewis Energy Law Seminar, Houston, Texas, October 2013

  • “Louisiana Oil and Gas Law Update”, LAPL Spring 2013 Educational Seminar, Lafayette, Louisiana, May 2013

  • “Louisiana Oil and Gas Law Update” 60th Mineral Law Institute, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, March 2013

  • “Maintenance and Obligations of Mineral Servitudes”, New Orleans Bar Association Oil & Gas Section Presentation, May 2012

After Hours

"My family is my rock, and I spend as much free time with them as possible when I get away from the office.  We also spend a lot of time traveling together and playing sports."