James D. Leonard



Jim Leonard represents privately held clients and advises on mergers and acquisitions, complex contracting, sports, entertainment and media deals and transactions, advertising and marketing matters, and general counsel-type representation. He is a corporate and intellectual property lawyer and a leader of Faegre Drinker’s sports and entertainment practice.

Corporate Representation and Transactions

Jim works with companies, and associated management and owners, to achieve their goals in a full range of transactional matters and contexts, including:

  • Formation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Purchase, sale and lease arrangements
  • Product and intellectual property distribution, exploitation and licensing arrangements
  • Financing
  • Reorganizations and recapitalizations
  • Liquidations
  • Brand management and combating unauthorized use of intellectual property
  • Sponsorship and promotional arrangements
  • General contracting
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Dispute resolution

Sports and Entertainment

Jim has extensive experience in the professional, Olympic and amateur sports industries, and he understands the unique needs of the various participants in the complex and interconnected sports world. Jim has worked with teams, sponsors, event operators and municipalities in a wide range of transaction and operational matters, including:

  • Facility development, construction and operation
  • Event bidding/selection, structure and operation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Team relocations
  • Naming rights
  • Sponsorships and promotions
  • Intellectual property licensing
  • Media (traditional and interactive) transactions
  • Public relations
  • Governance
  • Player and team agreements and relations
  •  Dispute resolution
  • Insurance and risk management
  • General counsel representation

Jim also advises media, publishing, music and other entertainment interests in transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, licensing, distribution, branding, spokesperson agreements, and artist and venue agreements.

Advertising and Promotions

Jim provides a broad range of services related to advertising and promotions, including review and clearances, licensing, sweepstakes/contest/giveaway design, rules and implementation, and advertising and public relations agency arrangements and agreements.

CPA Background

Before attending law school, Jim was a Certified Public Accountant in the Los Angeles office of Ernst & Young. He focused on tax compliance and consulting for emerging growth companies.

Related Industries


Bar Admissions



University of Denver Sturm College of Law
J.D. Order of St. Ives, Law Review (editorial board member) (1993)

Southern Methodist University
B.B.A. (1987)

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Sports Lawyers Association

Civic Activities

  • Advocates for Children/Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
  • Swallow Hill Music Association


  • 5280 MagazineTop Lawyer, Entertainment & Sports, 2015-22
  • Best Lawyers® — Corporate Law, 2014-24; Entertainment Law - Music, 2011-24; Sports Law, 2007-24; Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures & Television, 2011-24
  • Who’s Who Legal — Sports & Gaming, 2023
  • Denver Business Journal — Forty Under 40
Awards Methodology
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.
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