As a born-and-bred Vancouverite, James is passionate about Vancouver’s development. Ever since he was young, he has been interested in subways and roads, trains and planes, buildings and bridges and how everything works together to support people, goods and business.

Throughout his life, James has followed closely the transition of metropolitan Vancouver from a “village by the sea,” economically based on resource extraction, to one of the most livable cities in the world with a varied economic base.

This passion has formed his career, which has been focused on commercial real estate, both in private business and legal practice, for over 30 years. He was a senior executive in the real estate industry for 10+ years and has practiced law in the real estate sector for 20+ years. In doing so, James has earned a varied and cross-disciplinary experience. This duality allows him to better help our clients, implementing practical and grounded legal solutions that advance their business goals in the transactions and developments that help build our city.

James enjoys working with people and companies who share his passion.

Work Highlights

Sunstone Realty Advisors Inc.

  • Established 10 multi-million dollar private real estate funds, which raised nearly $400 million in syndicated private equity
  • Acted as lead real estate counsel in the acquisition over six years of a portfolio of 58 Canadian real estate properties having an acquisition cost of over $1 billion, including negotiating purchases, drafting purchase and sale agreements and supervising all matters relating to closing purchase and sale transactions

Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust

  • Counsel in connection with its initial public offering and subsequent offerings totaling over $800 million
  • Real estate counsel in connection with the establishment of its Western Canadian property portfolio, including the acquisition of the four-property Richmond business park for $170 million in 2012 and 2016
  • Have acted as ex-officio Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Pure Multi-Family REIT LP

  • Counsel in connection with its initial public offering and subsequent offerings totaling over US$200 million
  • Member of the Board of Directors
  • Member of the Audit Committee
View more work highlights >

As lead counsel in establishing over a dozen multi-million dollar private and public real estate funds, James has acted on over 30 initial and follow-on public offerings, which have raised over $1.8 billion dollars in investor equity and acquired over $3.5 billion in assets.

Services

Matching equity with real estate Private real estate investment trusts
Residential, mixed use and commercial projects Publicly-traded real estate investment trusts
Syndicated limited partnerships and mortgages Mortgage trusts
Public company debt structures General business advice for entrepeneurial and growing companies
Mortgage investment corporations

James’ primary focus is matching real estate opportunities with investor capital for our clients. This requires a strong background in the business and legal aspects of real estate combined with a vigorous knowledge of securities law and regulation as well as the income tax aspects of real estate investment. In addition to his legal practice, James cultivated this robust background through his senior executive positions with two leading real estate development companies:

  • Anthem Properties Inc.
    • Served as senior business executive for seven years from start-up to public listing to going private, during which time the company raised over $100 million in syndicated private investor equity and completed a public listing on the TSX with an associated $35 million private placement and the issuance of $36 million in equity on the initial IPO and built a $500 million portfolio of real estate in Canada and the United States
  • Pennyfarthing Development Corp.
    • Served as Executive Vice President of privately-held real estate development company for four years, during which the company completed several high-rise condominium projects in Vancouver, developed, owned and operated two high-rise retirement communities in Bellevue, WA and Las Jolla, CA and completed townhouse and subdivision projects in metropolitan Vancouver

This experience gives James the ability to understand the opportunities, priorities and challenges that our clients juggle from the inside.

Energetic people who strive for success inspire James. As the Managing Partner of our firm, James leads our team of determined lawyers who serve our clients with efficient and effective solutions. He draws on his experience to grow the businesses and meet the needs of our diverse and dynamic clients who span an array of business sectors in BC, Canada and in the United States.

James has worked to establish and build businesses in BC for over three decades. He is sought by business executives for planning corporate strategies and legal initiatives that impact the business community. He is a member of the Regional Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

A life-long Vancouverite, James is passionate about the city, the region and the province, their business community and their residents. He brings the same dedication to serving our clients that our clients bring to operating their businesses. He helps companies accomplish their goals so that they can grow, compete and succeed in the markets they serve.

*James Speakman Law Corporation
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Sunstone Realty Advisors Inc.
  • Established 10 multi-million dollar private real estate funds, which raised nearly $400 million in syndicated private equity
  • Acted as lead real estate counsel in the acquisition over six years of a portfolio of 58 Canadian real estate properties having an acquisition cost of over $1 billion, including negotiating purchases, drafting purchase and sale agreements and supervising all matters relating to closing purchase and sale transactions
Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust
  • Counsel in connection with its initial public offering and subsequent offerings totaling over $800 million
  • Real estate counsel in connection with the establishment of its Western Canadian property portfolio, including the acquisition of the four-property Richmond business park for $170 million in 2012 and 2016
  • Have acted as ex-officio Secretary to the Board of Trustees
Pure Multi-Family REIT LP
  • Counsel in connection with its initial public offering and subsequent offerings totaling over US$200 million
  • Member of the Board of Directors
  • Member of the Audit Committee
Anthem Properties Inc.
  • Lead counsel in respect of its purchase, with an undisclosed Canadian institutional investor, of Grandview Properties Park in Vancouver
  • Counsel in the purchase of a 10 acre site in Surrey, BC for $62.5 million
  • Counsel in the acquisition of Calgary-based United Communities, a leading residential land developer, for $200 million
GMC Projects Inc.
  • Development of a 110,000 square foot two phase office development in Victoria, BC
Private Vancouver real estate investment group
  • Counsel in sale of multi-family rental property for $73 million
Private Vancouver real estate developer
  • Development of a mixed-use, two building 213 unit residential project with 30,000 square feet of commercial space in Vancouver
Private Vancouver real estate developer
  • Development of a mixed-use, two tower 500 unit residential project with 250,000 square feet of commercial space in several air space parcels in Burnaby
Private Vancouver real estate investment group
  • Acquisition of a 216 unit strata unit, short-stay residence for $17 million
Private Vancouver real estate developer
  • Development of an urban, mixed-use high-rise residential and commercial project with 96 residential units and a car dealership
Private mortgage investment corporation
  • Counsel to private mortgage investment corporation with equity in excess of $30 million
Various private entities
  • Raising equity through offering memoranda in limited partnerships, RRSP-eligible bonds or syndicated mortgage structures for several dozen different private clients for real estate investment and development projects
Private mortgage investment manager
  • Creation and offering under offering memorandum of two private mortgage trusts
Anthem Properties Inc. (business experience)
  • Served as senior business executive for seven years from start-up to public listing
  • Actively participated in the structuring, marketing and sale of $100 million in syndicated private equity and the completion of a public listing on the TSX with an associated $35 million private placement and the issuance of $36 million in equity on the initial IPO
  • Actively participated in the acquisition of a $500 million portfolio of real estate in Canada and the United States, including negotiating letters of intent, drafting purchase and sale agreements and overseeing counsel in completing all matters relating to closing
Pennyfarthing Development Corp. (business experience)
  • Served as Executive Vice President of privately-held real estate development company for four years Development, financing and construction of a 145-unit, high-rise luxury, full-service retirement community in San Diego, California
  • Ownership, operation and on-site management of a 120-unit, high-rise luxury, full-service retirement community in Bellevue, Washington
  • Developed two wood-frame townhouse projects in suburban Vancouver, totaling 160 residential units
  • Consolidated lands for the development of a 40 lot subdivision in Surrey, BC and completed the subdivision and sale of such lots
Prospero International Realty and its partners
  • Acquisition of the Thunderbird and Westport Marinas
View more >
Industry Involvement
  • Simon Fraser University, Beedie School of Business, Directors Education Program, 2017
  • Pure Multi-Family REIT LP, Director, 2014 to present; member of Audit Committee
  • Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Regional Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, member, 2016-present
  • NAIOP National Association of Office and Industrial Properties, Vancouver, board member and Government Relations Committee Chair, 2001-2003
  • Business Council of British Columbia, member
  • Institute of Corporate Directors, member
  • Canadian Bar Association, 1986 to present
Community Commitments
  • District of North Vancouver Advisory Planning Commission, 1994-1996
  • Delbrook Basketball Association, Former President, Board Member and coach, 1998-2004
  • Forest Hills Soccer Club, soccer coach, 1993-1998
Education & Call to Bar
  • Call to Bar: British Columbia, 1986
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of British Columbia, 1985