James J. Hanks, Jr.

James Hanks
Jim Hanks received his A.B. from Princeton University; his LL.B. from the University of Maryland Law School, where he was an editor of the Maryland Law Review; and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School. For a year after receiving his LL.B., Jim was law clerk to Judge Charles Fahy of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Jim is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor from Practice at the University of Maryland School of Law. 

Jim has advised clients on Maryland corporation law for decades. Jim regularly serves as independent counsel to boards of directors and board committees of REITs and other major U.S. corporations, and as an expert witness in connection with significant transactions, stockholder litigation, conflicts of interest, and corporate governance issues. Jim also advises governments on revision of their corporate and securities laws.

For more than 20 years, Jim was a visiting senior lecturer of management at the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School, where he taught securities regulation, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance. For more than 15 years, Jim was also a senior lecturer at Northwestern Law School, where he taught mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. He has also taught classes in corporation law at various law and business schools in the United States, the Republic of Georgia, Guatemala, the Republic of South Africa, and Zambia and at the Institute of Law in Beijing. From 1996 through 2014, Jim taught a course in U.S. and European corporate law and governance at the Cornell Law School–Université de Paris 1 (Sorbonne) Summer Institute in Paris. Jim has also taught corporate law and governance in the Northwestern Law School–Instituto de Empresa Executive LL.M. program in Madrid from 2006 through 2015. During fall 2003 he was Commerzbank visiting professor of law at Bucerius Law School, in Hamburg, Germany, and has taught there several times since.

Jim is an elected member of the Committee on Corporate Laws of the Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association and previously served on the Committee from 1984 to 1990 and from 1996 to 2002. For more than 30 years, Jim has been actively involved in the revision of the Model Business Corporation Act, the Maryland General Corporation Law, and the Maryland REIT Law. Jim has also been a drafter of the Corporate Director's Guidebook (3rd, 4th, and 5th eds.) and the Fund Director's Guidebook (all editions), and is co-editor of the first two editions of the Handbook for the Conduct of Shareholders' Meetings.


Representative Clients

  • Arden Realty
  • Town and Country Trust
  • Bedford Properties
  • MeriStar Hospitality
  • Prentiss Properties
  • Pan Pacific
  • Reckson
  • Sears Holdings
  • Vornado Realty Trust
  • Brixmor Property Group
  • InfraREIT
  • Equity Office Properties
  • Innkeepers USA Trust
  • Eagle Hospitality
  • General Growth Properties
  • 3M
  • Huntington Bancshares
  • Stanley Works




  • LL.M. Harvard Law School 1969
  • LL.B. University of Maryland School of Law 1967
    • Editor, Maryland Law Review
  • A.B. Princeton University 1964

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Charles Fahy U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit 1967 1968

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Law Institute


  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (four categories: Corporate Governance and Compliance Law, Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, and Securities / Capital Markets Law), 2006 - 2017, 2019 - 2020
  • Named Baltimore Corporate Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers, 2014, 2018, 2020
  • Recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Legal 500, 2018 - 2020
  • Recipient, University of Maryland School of Law Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award, 2015
  • First American recipient, Medal of Honor of Bucerius Law School, presented by former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Hamburg, November 2012
  • Recipient, Leadership in Law award of The Daily Record (first place) in Maryland, November 2012
  • Recipient, inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to the Practice of Business Law, Maryland State Bar Association, Section of Business Law, May 2008 – subsequently, the award was named in his honor
  • Recognized in Chambers USA, REITs: Maryland Counsel, Senior Statespeople, Nationwide, 2020
  • Recognized in Chambers USA (Senior Statesman & Star Individual), Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions, Maryland, 2019 - 2020
  • Recognized in Chambers USA (Star Individual), REITs: Maryland Counsel, Nationwide, 2014 - 2020
  • Recognized in Chambers Global (Band 1), Capital Markets: REITs: Maryland Counsel, 2014
  • Recognized in Chambers Global (Band 1), Capital Markets: REITs, 2011 - 2013
  • Recognized in Chambers USA (Band 1), Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions, Maryland, 2010 - 2018
  • Recognized in Chambers USA (Band 1), Capital Markets: REITs, Nationwide, 2010 - 2013
  • Named Baltimore Corporate Governance and Compliance “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers, 2011, 2013
  • Listed in Who’s Who Legal, Corporate Governance, 2011, 2017 - 2018
  • Recognized as a “Best of the Best” and “Best of the Best USA” in Expert Guides, 2014
  • Recognized in Expert Guides, Banking, Finance and Transactional Law, 2014
  • Recognized in Best Lawyers Baltimore Corporate Governance Law “Lawyer of the Year,” 2014, 2018
  • Named to “Attorney Top List” in Super Lawyers Business Edition, Business/Corporate, Baltimore, 2013
  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized in Legal 500, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), 2011 - 2020