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James Gilpin is a civil litigator whose practice emphasizes real property litigation. This includes eminent domain, construction and other public works litigation. A partner at Best Best & Krieger LLP, James represents clients in all phases of litigation, including writ proceedings, jury and court trials, and appeals. He also serves as office managing partner to the firm’s San Diego office.
James represented the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority on the following matters:
Mojadam vs. SDCRAA
Successfully represented the Airport Authority in a class action filed by commercial taxicab drivers. The drivers challenged the Airport Authority’s power to enact and impose “trips fees” on taxicabs entering the San Diego International Airport to pick up passengers. The action was dismissed in favor of the Airport Authority.
Successfully defended the Airport Authority in a promissory estoppel action filed by Diego Concession Group LLC. The action arose out of two requests for proposals issued by the Airport Authority seeking proposals from experienced food service concessionaires to operate food service concessions at the San Diego International Airport. James obtained a decision and judgment in favor of the Airport Authority following trial in San Diego Superior Court.
James is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Inns of Court and International Right of Way Association. James served as legal consultant to the Appraisal Institute in the development of Appraisal Course 710 (Eminent Domain - Part A) and served as an instructor to the International Right of Way Association on the subject of eminent domain. James served as chairperson for the San Diego County Bar Association Eminent Domain Section.
During law school, James was a Case Notes Editor for the Land & Water Law Review. James also completed the Trial Advocacy Skills Program at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

  • San Diego Magazine Top Lawyer, Special Districts, 2015, 2018-2021
  • ​San Diego Super Lawyers, Eminent Domain, 2007, 2009, 2013-2021
Professional & Community Involvement
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Inns of Court
  • International Right of Way Association
Thought Leadership


  • "A Superior Court Victory for Water Efficiency and Budget Rates: How Western MWD Prevailed," 2020 Fall Virtual Conference, Association of California Water Agencies, Dec. 2, 2020
  • "When We Need It Now: Multi-Parcel Acquisition programs. How to Win Before - or When - You File," CLE International Annual Eminent Domain Conference, Feb. 10, 2017
  • "Multi-Parcel Acquisition Programs and Prejudgment Possession," CLE International’s Southern California Eminent Domain Conference, Feb. 26, 2016
  • "Roadway and Transit Rights of Way: Understanding the Legal and Practical Issues," Lorman Education Services Webinar, Jan. 15, 2015

Education & Admissions

University of Wyoming
J.D., Order of the Coif
University of Wyoming
Bar Admissions



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