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James “Jim” J. Bender Counsel Emeritus

Mr. Bender is retired and no longer practices law.

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Before joining Hall Estill in an Of Counsel position, Jim Bender was Senior Vice President and General Counsel for WPX Energy, Inc., from December 2011 to December of 2014. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Williams Companies for 9 years. He also served as General Counsel for NRG Energy in Minneapolis, MN and was an associate in the Denver and London offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. 

Jim is a native of Aurora, Illinois and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Olaf College in 1978. He received his juris doctorate degree in 1981 from the University of Minnesota Law School where he graduated magna cum laude. Immediately following law school, he was a law clerk for the Honorable Donald D. Alsop, a federal district court judge in St. Paul, MN.

Jim currently serves as a director of the general partner of Shell Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SHLX) and is a member of the Audit and Conflicts Committees. He also serves as a director of Two Harbors Investment Corp. (NYSE: TWO) where he serves on the Compensation and Corporate Governance and Nominating Committees. Mr. Bender is also an advisory board member at Orion Energy Partners, a New York based private equity fund. 

While still in Tulsa, Jim served on the Board of Directors of the Tulsa Area United Way and chaired the 2011 community-wide fundraising campaign. He also was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Board of Directors of the KIPP Preparatory School Tulsa, and the Board of Visitors for the Sustainable Energy and Resources Law Program at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Jim and his wife, Kristin, volunteer in the Denver community and are involved in the Mile High United Way, receiving the Tocqueville Ascent Award in 2017.


  • University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 1981)
  • St. Olaf College (B.S. in Mathematics, summa cum laude, 1978)
    • Phi Beta Kappa
Legal Experience
  • 2016-Present Hall Estill
  • WPX Energy, Inc. (Tulsa, OK)
  • The Williams Companies, Inc.—Senior Vice President and General Counsel (Tulsa, OK)
  • NRG Energy, Inc. – Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (Minneapolis, MN)
  • AlliedSignal Inc. (now Honeywell) – Assistant General Counsel (Richmond, VA)
  • Pfizer Inc – Senior Counsel (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand – Partner (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP – Associate (Denver, CO and London, UK)
  • United States Federal District Judge Donald D. Alsop – Law clerk (St. Paul, MN)
Teaching/Lecture Experience
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Denver Sturm School of Law
  • Successful Partnering between Inside and Outside Counsel (ACC), co-author of chapter entitled “Communication Methods and Skills”
  • “Structuring Power Projects – The Developer’s Perspective” American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry
  • SEC Issues Update (Bowne Financial/Glasser Legal Works Conferences)
  • How to be an Effective Board Member (National Bar Association Seminar)
  • Panelist, Energy Sector Mergers and Acquisitions, University of Tulsa College Law Master's in Energy Program (January 2017)