James R. Walston


James R. "Jim" Walston is a commercial real estate attorney with 35 years of in-depth professional and industry experience covering a broad range of commercial real estate matters in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

Jim's practice presently includes legal representation of clients in connection with commercial real estate purchases, sales, leases, real estate finance transactions, public transportation projects, zoning and land use matters and real estate loan workouts.

Jim also serves as a reliable and experienced resource for small- to mid-market owner-managed businesses in Minnesota and South Dakota on a variety of real estate-related and general corporate matters.


Representative Matters

Real Estate Transactions

  • Represented purchaser and investor lending group as local counsel in $120 million sale-leaseback transaction of a Minneapolis office tower complex
  • Represented national manufacturer in $40 million multi-state sale-leaseback transaction
  • Represented a nationwide motor freight carrier company in connection with real estate site acquisition, zoning and land use compliance, construction, leasing and sales matters involving over 150 freight distribution and service centers throughout the United States
  • Represented a regional public transportation agency in connection with the planning, construction, and acquisition of real estate interests for a shared commuter light rail corridor project in the Twin Cities metropolitan area
  • Represented a regional senior housing developer in site acquisition and land use matters for senior housing facilities in Minnesota

Real Estate Finance Transactions

  • Represented state-chartered banks in over 300 commercial real estate loan transactions in Minnesota and South Dakota
  • Represented a regional national bank in a $60 million multistate hotel construction loan facility
  • Represented a regional bank in a $38 million multi-state real estate loan refinance of industrial properties and related credit facilities

Real Estate Zoning and Land Use Matters

  • Negotiated, processed, and obtained land use approvals for the construction and operation of industrial and commercial projects in Minnesota
  • Negotiated, processed, and obtained land use approvals for the construction and operation of a $45 million entertainment facility in the Twin Cities area

Real Estate Loan Workout and Real Estate Title Disputes

  • Represented state-chartered and national banks in scores of loan workouts, receivership matters, and foreclosures
  • Represented title insurance companies and their insureds in the resolution of hundreds of real estate title disputes

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Real Property Trust and Estates and Business Law sections

Minnesota State Bar Association, Real Property Law Specialist (certified in 1991)

Hennepin County Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Legal 500 US, Real Estate and Construction, 2019; Real Estate - Land Use/Zoning, 2020

The Best Lawyers in America, real estate law, 2019-2021

Chambers USA, real estate (Minnesota), 2018-2020

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "Owner-Managed Business/Closely Held Business – Three-Part Webinar Series," Ballard Spahr webinar, May 1, 2020

2017 Advanced Lending Seminar, Complimentary Seminar, May 11, 2017

2016 Advanced Lending Seminar, Complimentary Seminar, April 21, 2016

Board Memberships & Community Service

Pro Bono — Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) Real Estate Clinic

Pro Bono — Northeast Senior Services, Inc. Legal Clinic

Volunteer — Ujamaa Place

Volunteer — Urban Homeworks


Co-author, "The Interplay Between Tenant Possession and Landlord Control," BOMA Magazine, September/October 2019



William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) (J.D. 1985)

University of Nebraska (B.A., Political Science, 1982)



South Dakota