Owners Counsel of America Honors an Outstanding Lawyer




A graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, Mr. Burling joined the Pacific Legal Foundation as an attorney in 1983. Over the last 3 decades, he has litigated cases involving regulatory takings, environmental and land use regulations, eminent domain, and Indian law. In 2001, Mr. Burling successfully argued a landmark property rights case, Palazzolo v. Rhode Island, 533 U.S. 606 (2001), before the United States Supreme Court. Palazzolo established that government is not freed from liability for regulatory infringements against property rights simply because the property might be transferred to a new owner.

Mr. Burling is the Chairman Emeritus of the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He is a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education courses on topics such as the regulation of wetlands, eminent domain, and the taking of private property. He has also been a panelist at the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, including the 2011 international conference in Beijing, China. Mr. Burling is often invited to speak before community and property rights organizations on subjects ranging from the regulation of wetlands and endangered species, federal land policy, zoning, regulatory exactions, the public trust doctrine, and the condemnation of private property.

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James Burling, who has worked in the trenches on behalf of property owners for years, deservedly received the Owners Counsel of America 2013 Crystal Eagle Award, signifying his outstanding efforts on behalf of private property ownership. As the Director of Litigation for the Pacific Legal Foundation, Jim has been a pillar working on behalf of private property ownership, dealing with almost every relevant property rights case in our judicial system. He deservedly has received an award and is to be credited with the wonderful work he has done over the years.