James Abrams, 36, associate
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Just six years out of law school, land use attorney Abrams was featured as one of The Recorder's Attorneys of the Year for his work on some of the most significant development projects in the Bay Area. He drafted and negotiated a development agreement with the city of San Francisco for Parkmerced one of the largest entitlement projects in the city's history. Abrams, who also holds a master's in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a 2005 Stanford Law School graduate who joined Gibson Dunn that year. He is also on the team representing Lucasfilm Inc. in its effort to develop Grady Ranch, the next phase of Lucasfim's production campus in Marin County that was approved unanimously by the Marin County Planning Commission in February. Abrams serves on the leadership committee of Lambda Legal and on the regulatory committee of the Housing Action Committee.
Word that best describes you?
Most interesting place you've traveled?
The Sichuan, Gansu and Xinjiang provinces in Western China, which border Tibet and Afghanistan. No other part of the world has been as foreign to me.
Most unusual hobby?
Estes model rockets.
A lawyer you admire?
I don't always agree with his jurisprudence, but I often admire Justice [Antonin] Scalia for his conviction and willingness to be iconoclastic.
Trial or deal you wish you could have worked on?
Either Lawrence v. Texas or District of Columbia v. Heller. I love that both of these cases raise such deep questions about judicial philosophy, the purpose of the U.S. Constitution and the degree to which tradition and history should affect jurisprudence.