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James L. Joyce

Fax +1.919.743.7358

Jim Joyce’s practice focuses on analyzing the risks and navigating the minefields of environmental compliance, land use, waste management, zoning, and other areas of complex regulatory law for clients in the energy, biotechnology, chemical, real estate development, manufacturing, and banking industries.

Mr. Joyce’s practice includes a broad spectrum of environmental, energy, and land use matters, including: 

  •  Advising clients in the acquisition, cleanup, and redevelopment of contaminated properties;
  • Preventing and resolving regulatory compliance issues under federal, state, and local laws;
  • Supporting business and real estate transactions with advice and due diligence on land use, zoning, and environmental issues;
  • Representing clients in land use and environmental permitting and litigation matters, from zoning entitlement hearings to permit and enforcement defense matters; and 
  •  Negotiating with state and local agencies to drive successful outcomes in land use, real estate, and environmental matters.

Professional Background

 Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Joyce was a fellow at the University of North Carolina School of Government, where he co-authored a book on inclusionary zoning. His education in law and land use planning makes him well versed in zoning and land use related law.


  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2015-2018.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Triangle Community Coalition, 2013-2017 Board of Directors
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Section, Cleanup & Waste Programs Committee Chair and Section Council Member
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section
  • Urban Land Institute

Speaking Engagements

  • “2016-17 North Carolina Case Law Update,” NC Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section 2017 Annual Meeting, May 2017. 
  •  Energy Educator, E4 Carolinas Emerging Leaders and Leadership Energy Carolinas leadership training programs, covering management of federal, state, and local energy regulatory issues, August 2013 - April 2018.
  • “Shale Gas Development in North Carolina,” presented to Professional Engineers of North Carolina with Stanford D. Baird, December 2015
  • “North Carolina Legislative and Case Law Update,” NC Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section 2014 Annual Meeting, May 2014.
  • “Zoning, Planning, and Land Use Issues,” at Legal Issues Involving Local Governments, National Business Institute Seminar, September 2013
  • “Ethics in Quasi-Judicial Practice,” with Craigie Sanders, NC Bar Association Zoning, Planning, and Land Use Annual Meeting and CLE, April 2013.
  • “Potential Economic Impact of Shale Gas Development in North Carolina,” keynote panel, Manufacturers and Chemical Industry Council of North Carolina [now North Carolina Manufacturer’s Alliance], 11th Annual Environment, Energy, Health and Safety School, August 2012.
  • “2012 Legislative & Case Law Update,” presentation to North Carolina Chapter, American Planning Association, August 2012.
  • “The Shifting Line of Beachfront Property Rights,” North Carolina Beach, Inlet & Waterway Association 2010 Local Governments Annual Meeting, March 2010.

Additional Information

  • North Carolina Oil and Gas Update, Texas A&M Law Review 2015 Survey on Oil & Gas, 2 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 227 (2018)
  • North Carolina Oil and Gas Update, Texas A&M Law Review 2015 Survey on Oil & Gas, 2 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 227 (2017)
  • North Carolina Oil and Gas Update, Texas A&M Law Review 2015 Survey on Oil & Gas, 2 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 227 (2015)
  • North Carolina Oil and Gas Update, Texas A&M Law Review 2014 Survey on Oil & Gas, 1 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 249 (2014)
  • North Carolina Oil and Gas Update, Texas Wesleyan Law Review 2013 Survey on Oil & Gas, 19 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev 413 (Spring 2013)
  • "Triangle-Area Local Government Opt-Out Roundup," K&L Gates Triangle Land Use Newsletter (Winter 2011)
  • “Hazardous Waste Financial Assurance: A Comparison of Third Party Risk Management Mechanisms – Suggestions for Reform” with Lindene E. Patton; Environment Reporter Vol. 39, No. 24, (June 13, 2008) pp. 1181-1191
Transactional support on environmental, zoning, and permitting issues
  • Environmental due diligence, advising, and contract drafting for seven-, eight-, and nine-figure corporate and real estate transactions, including analysis of regulatory and permitting compliance
  • Land use and zoning due diligence for shopping center developers and managers, as well as research and development laboratories
  • Property due diligence and coordination of permit transfers for a North Carolina recycling facility

Permitting and compliance
  • Defense of industrial clients against enforcement actions under RCRA and similar North Carolina laws
  • Advice to national food manufacturing company on progress and findings of company-wide environmental compliance audits
  • Advice on regulatory compliance and potential self-disclosures, particularly those involving Toxic Substances Control Act and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

Contaminated properties
  • Analysis and negotiation of eligibility and agreement terms for redevelopment of contaminated property through North Carolina Brownfields and Dry-Cleaning Solvent Cleanup programs
  • Advice and negotiation assistance to a pharmaceutical company regarding the purchase of a large contaminated site with an open voluntary cleanup project 
  •  Assisting national land developer in environmental and zoning due diligence and redevelopment of large industrial brownfield property just outside Raleigh, North CarolinaAdvised on and assisted with acquisition of wood treatment facilities

Land use, permitting, and zoning
  • Advice to buyers and purchasers of real estate projects in varying stages of development regarding regulatory processes, options, and timelines
  • Serving as zoning, environmental, and permitting counsel for companies financing residential real estate development and renewable energy development projects in North Carolina 
  • Zoning text change and map change matters in Triangle-area municipalities, including Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, and Knightdale
  • Advising major retail client and real estate development client through comprehensive local rezoning procedure
  • Assisting clients with obtaining tax exclusions for redevelopment of contaminated properties and understanding implications of transactions involving property subject to present use valuation

Renewable energy
  • Advice and due diligence regarding acquisition or financing of renewable energy projects, including site due diligence issues, advice regarding regulatory processes, and transfer of key site control documents
  • Assistance with regulatory reporting and compliance requirements

Procurement and public policy
  • Tracking and reporting of environmental and energy legislation, including extensive monitoring of and reporting on development of new oil and gas regulatory program for nationwide industry group
  • Advice to global retailers regarding compliance with public contracting statutes and implications of public records statutes