James G. Powers

“Every day I find winnable solutions to my client’s legal issues.”

In today’s legal environment, Jim is a bit of a rarity.  He started at McGrath North as a law clerk in 1982 and has never left.  He is now Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors.  The reason for this is simple.  Jim loves what he does.  He provides clients with expert legal advice, and they know and trust Jim’s judgment.  Jim has developed long-lasting relationships with clients who appreciate his no-nonsense legal advice.  Over the years Jim has developed a wide range of expertise in commercial law and business litigation.  Jim’s focus is on commercial litigation, and he’s happy to provide counsel regarding contracts, commodity transactions, bankruptcy, product liability, and land use and eminent domain issues.  Clients have learned to trust Jim’s prompt and practical representation, and appreciate his cost-effective approach to risk reduction and problem resolution.

Jim’s goal in representing a client is to provide winnable solutions.  He has had a unique, broad base of experience over his three decades at McGrath North.  Jim’s practice includes the representation of many of the top financial and agribusiness companies in the Midwest.  His recent cases include obtaining a dismissal of preference claims against forward contract merchants based on the “safe harbor” provisions of the Bankruptcy Code in the Cascade Grain and VeraSun bankruptcies; an important victory for the FDIC in the Nebraska Supreme Court in a case of first impression involving the duties of a secured lender; serving as an energy company’s lead counsel in numerous condemnation cases in Nebraska; and obtaining a defendant’s verdict in a jury trial in the United States District of New Jersey in a fraudulent transfer case arising out of the sale of a meat processing company in Chicago.

Jim understands that clients come to him to avoid risk and resolve disputes in their favor.  Jim knows the ultimate decision maker is often a judge or jury and realizes not every dispute needs to end up in their hands, but when it does, Jim’s clients are proud to have him represent them in court.   The bottom line for Jim is he is never satisfied unless his clients are, and that is why he has achieved the success he has.

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(402) 633-1480
Professional Background

Nebraska, 1984

U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, 1984

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 1985

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2003


Iowa 2013

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa, 2016


Creighton University School of Law, J.D., 1984

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, B.A., 1980


Creighton University Moot Court Board

Captain, University of Nebraska Rugby Team, 1979-80

Listed: Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Nebraska, Litigation: General Commercial – Band 1)

Listed: “Best Lawyers in America”, Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Banking and Finance, Litigation – Bankruptcy, Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Land Use and Zoning

“Best Lawyers in America” Omaha Lawyer of the Year, Litigation-Banking and Finance, 2016, 2019

“Best Lawyers in America” Omaha Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – Construction, 2015, 2018, 2020

Listed: Great Plains Super Lawyers (Business Litigation, Construction Litigation) 2009-2020

Listed:  BTI Consulting for unsurpassed excellence in client service.  (BTI conducts annual interviews with more than 250 general counsel of Fortune 1000 Companies.

Professional Organizations

Omaha Bar Association

Nebraska State Bar Association

American Bar Association – Subcommittee on Agriculture and Agribusiness Financing

Speaker at regional and local seminars on creditor rights and resolution of commercial disputes