Education & Honors

Washington University School of Law, 1975, J.D., with honors

University of Notre Dame, 1972, A.B., with high honors

Awards & Recognition

Phi Beta Kappa

Best Lawyers' 2017 Denver Mergers and Acquisitions Law "Lawyer of the Year"

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Colorado Super Lawyers

Articles Editor, Washington University Law Quarterly

Bar admissions

Colorado

Illinois

James L. Palenchar

Denver Office
1801 Wewatta Street
Suite 1200
Denver, CO 80202
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Professional Practice

Jim Palenchar has over 40 years’ experience as a lawyer in complex corporate transactions. During his career, Jim has handled mergers and acquisitions for strategic and financial buyers and sellers in a variety of industries, pursuit and defense of hostile takeovers, financings, joint ventures, proxy contests, other corporate governance disputes, SEC disclosure questions, and litigation settlements. He is a seasoned board room and management counselor valued for his practical sense of how best to achieve his client's objectives with a minimum of friction. 

Jim has led the Bartlit Beck corporate team since the Firm’s founding and is perennially recognized in leading legal industry publications--including, most recently, as Best Lawyers® 2017 Denver Mergers and Acquisitions Law "Lawyer of the Year." Jim’s industry experience includes natural resources (coal, timber, potash and oil & gas midstream), industrial services, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications.

Clients interviewed by Chambers & Partners’ USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business note that Jim is "incredibly seasoned and experienced" and a "go-to guy" for high-level and complex corporate work. Chambers notes that, in addition to having strong technical expertise, clients value Jim for his "down-to-earth" and "practical" approach to transactions.  

Notable experience

Alpha Natural Resources.

  • Formation of coal mining business as a First Reserve Corporation portfolio company.
  • Subsequent roll ups by Alpha of Pittston’s and El Paso’s coal operations, several Northern and Central Appalachian acquisitions, and various financings.
  • Led Alpha’s initial public offering ($645 million) and provided corporate governance and SEC advice.

Trico Marine Services.

  • Led offshore oilfield services company’s acquisition of DeepOcean ASA, a Norwegian provider of subsea services to the energy industry ($810 million), and related financing transactions.
  • Successful defense of proxy contests waged by Kistefos AS and New Castle Partners, LP.
  • Provided corporate governance and SEC advice.

Aquilex Corporation.  

  • Formation of industrial services roll-up as a First Reserve Corporation portfolio company.
  • Handled debt and equity financing, add-on acquisitions and eventual sale to Harvest Partners.

E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.

  • Acquisition of Merck & Co., Inc.'s 50% interest in the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company ($2.6 billion).
  • Strategic alliance with Barr Laboratories.

NaPro BioTherapeutics.

  • Strategic alliance for development of paclitaxel formulations with Abbott Laboratories, including equity investment, development funding, and product development and sales milestones ($68 million).
  • Sale of worldwide generic injectable paclitaxel business to Mayne Group Limited ($71 million).
  • Provided corporate governance and SEC advice.

Foundation Coal Corporation.

  • Formation as a First Reserve Corporation/Blackstone Capital Partners portfolio company through the acquisition of coal operations in four states from RAG Coal International AG ($1 billion).

ScissorTail Energy, LLC.

  • Sale of Oklahoma-based natural gas midstream operator to Copano Energy, LLC ($500 million).

Johnson Controls Inc.

  • Acquisition of Saft Groupe S.A.’s 49% interest in the Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions LLC ($145 million).

Tejas Gas Corporation.

  • Sale to Shell Oil Company and related post-closing management arrangements ($1.45 billion).

Platte River Ventures I, L.P.

  • Counsel to 20% stockholder in pre-IPO restructuring and subsequent IPO of Intrepid Potash, Inc. ($1.1 billion).

General Motors Corporation.

  • Corporate governance advice in connection with activism by Kirk Kerkorian.

Federal Signal Corporation.

  • Successful defense of proxy contest initiated by Warren B. Kanders.

Colorado MEDTech, Inc.

  • Successful defense of hostile takeover attempt by HEI, Inc.

Harold C. Simmons Family Trust.

  • Settlement of fiduciary litigation, including trust partitioning (corpus value $1 billion).

Community Health Systems.

  • Represent management in leveraged buyout by Forstmann Little & Co. ($1.3 billion).

EchoStar Communications Corporation.

  • Acquisition of the US direct broadcast satellite business of The News Corporation Limited and MCI WorldCom, Inc. ($1.5 billion).