James L. Magavern

1100 Rand Building 14 Lafayette Square Buffalo, New York 14203

James L. Magavern

James L. Magavern is senior counsel to the Buffalo, New York law firm of Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP. He concentrates in the areas of state and local government law, corporate law, and land use regulation and development.

Practice Areas

Corporate Law, Environmental Law, Land Use Regulation and Development, Municipal Law, State and Local Government Law


In private practice, Mr. Magavern has represented a leading hospital, HMO and other health care providers across the full range of their activities; Erie County, the City of Buffalo and other municipal corporations in litigation and in internal and inter-governmental disputes; business corporations in mergers and acquisitions, land use and environmental matters, and contract negotiation and litigation; not-for-profit corporations in organizational, tax exemption, and a wide variety of other matters; and individual clients in defamation, civil rights, employment and contract matters.

In a survey conducted by Business First, Mr. Magavern was selected as the best lawyer in Western New York in Government Negotiation. In 1998, he was honored as Lawyer of the Year by the Bar Association of Erie County. In 2001, he received the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award, the highest honor bestowed by the University at Buffalo Law School.

He has taught a wide variety of courses at the University at Buffalo Law School, including contracts, civil procedure, counseling small business, environmental management, and municipal law, and is currently teaching state and local government finance. He is the author or co-author of several law review articles and of the chapter on the right of real property owners to compensation for interference with their property by government regulations and operations in the leading treatise on New York real property law.

He has served as counsel to the Comptroller of the State of New York, County Attorney of Erie County, and Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York.

Court Admissions

He is admitted to practice before all New York State Courts, the United States District Courts for the Western and Southern Districts of New York, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States Court of Claims, and the United States Supreme Court.

Professional & Community Associations

Mr. Magavern has served as President of the Bar Association of Erie County, Chair of the Charter Revision Commission of the City of Buffalo, Vice-Chair of the Erie County Charter Revision Commission, Member of the New York State Commission on Government Integrity, Chair of the Buffalo State College President's Blue Ribbon Committee on Equity and Diversity, Chairman of the Buffalo Baseball Stadium Design Advisory Committee, Chair of the Panel to Revise the Code of Ethics of the City of Buffalo, and as a member, director and officer of many professional and civic organizations.


Mr. Magavern attended Dartmouth College and graduated from the University at Buffalo Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Buffalo Law Review.