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James F. Lang Partner

Jim heads the firm’s telecommunications and public utility practice and is also co-chair of its e-discovery practice area. He provides litigation counsel to a wide-range of clients, including public utilities, municipalities, private-property owners and publicly and privately-held businesses.  Jim’s multi-disciplinary legal interests include constitutional law, telecommunications and energy, information technology, class actions, property taxation, and municipal and public law.


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He has represented clients before trial and appellate courts at both the state and federal level, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Ohio Power Siting Board, Ohio Board of Tax Appeals, county boards of revision, private mediators, and AAA and NASD arbitrators.

Jim’s accomplishments in the public utility area include:

  • Assisted telephone and electric utilities in obtaining essential regulatory approvals from the PUCO, and assisted telecommunications company in obtaining video competition agreements from Ohio municipalities.
  • Obtained dismissal of complaints filed by cellular resellers against CMRS provider on basis that PUCO lacked jurisdiction over complaints, and successfully defended dismissal on appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Authored and presented legal analyses demonstrating that proposed legislation to restructure regulation of electric utility industry violated the Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause, and Takings Clause.

Jim’s accomplishments in the public law area include:

  • Successfully opposed ballot initiative promoted by anti-fracking group as a “Community Bill of Rights.”
  • Advised municipalities and other Ohio political subdivisions regarding all aspects of public and municipal law, including home rule powers, public records, tort immunity, vacating streets, zoning, and eminent domain.
  • Advised vendors providing services to Ohio agencies and political subdivisions of legal limits on campaign contributions, and also advised private companies and municipal law directors of Ohio’s ethics requirements applicable to public officials.
  • Has served for more than ten years as editor and an author of Local Government Law – Municipal (1st ed. 2004), which is part of Baldwin’s Ohio Practice series published by Thomson West, and previously edited Babbit’s Ohio Municipal Service between 1995 and 2000.

Jim’s accomplishments in the Information Technology area include:

  • Advised clients in cost-effective harvesting, review and production of electronically stored information and efficient e-discovery procedures, and drafted records and information management and litigation hold policies for clients.
  • Obtained compensation from software vendor for damage caused to a state agency resulting from a large-scale IT system project failure.

Jim’s accomplishments in the ad valorem taxation area include:

  • Obtained Board of Tax Appeals decision reducing client’s public utility property taxes by more than $25 million by successfully introducing alternative valuation rebutting presumption accorded tax commissioner’s standard valuation method.
  • Assisted property owners in reducing the assessed value of their real property by pursuing complaints filed with county boards of revision and, when necessary, pursuing appeals to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and Ohio Supreme Court.

Jim’s accomplishments in the complex litigation area include:

  • Won certification of eight-county class of property owners seeking declaration of their rights regarding ownership and use of the shores of Lake Erie, and then won on behalf of class a declaration, which was unanimously affirmed by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals and Ohio Supreme Court, that state’s public trust interest in Lake Erie does not extend beyond water’s edge.
  • Coordinated expert testimony valuing multiple plant assets for purposes of proving damages in binding arbitration that resulted in $396,000,000 settlement.

Jim is a member of the Ohio State and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations and also is a 2002 graduate of LeadDIVERSITY, a diversity and leadership training program operated by the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.  Jim has lectured in public and private forums to representatives of companies and public agencies regarding electronic discovery challenges and effective records management.  He has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer and was named a 2016 “Local Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation.

Prior to entering law school, Jim served as a production coordinator for U.S. News and World Report magazine and as a research assistant for Martin P. Stevens J.P., M.P., in England’s House of Commons. Jim began his tenure with Calfee in 1992 and became a partner in 2002.