Debra G. James
Partner / Galveston Office

Debbie James advises financial institution and individual clients on a wide variety of real estate developments and projects, as well as major commercial lending, and other banking-related transactions and matters.

For nearly four decades, Debbie has been providing guidance on complex transactions to lender and developer clients.  From structuring financing for hotel properties, to restructuring corporate ownership and management documents for master planned residential communities, she has significant experience in commercial real estate development and acquisition.  In addition, Debbie has handled mortgage loan originations and workouts, myriad sales and leasing issues, bankruptcy and collection matters, and historic property preservation transactions.

Her institutional representations include work for Moody National Bank, American National Insurance Company, the Moody Foundation, the Transitional Learning Community and the Galveston Historical Foundation, among others.Further, Debbie has represented financial institution clients with unique challenges such as assisting local government with disaster recovery financing and navigating SBA PPP loan regulations and interpretations, as well as handling the issuance and purchase of municipal bonds.


  • University of Houston Bates College of Law – J.D., cum laude, 1982
    • University of Houston Law Review
    • Houston Journal of International Law
  • University of Southern California – B.A., 1978 (International Relations)


  • Texas

Recognition and/or Publications

  • 1988-1989 Named Outstanding Young Lawyer of Galveston County by the American Bar Association.
  • Mayor’s Public Service Award for Galveston Neighborhood Partnership Steering Committee

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • Texas Association of Bank Counsel
    • Board of Directors (2015)
  • Galveston County Bar Association
    • Secretary (1987-1988)
    • Director (1988-1989)
  • State Bar of Texas
    • District 5B Grievance Committee Member (1991-1994)

Civic Involvement

  • Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church Permanent Endowment Fund
    • Current Advisory Board Member
    • Past Trustee
  • Moody Methodist Day School
    • Current Advisory Board Member
    • Past Secretary and Director
  • Ronald McDonald House Galveston
    • Legal Liaison
  • Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church Member
    • Past Administrative Board Chair
    • Past Staff Parish Relations Committee
    • Past Board of Trustees Member
    • Past Finance Committee Member
  • Galveston County Food Bank
    • Past Board Member
  • Galveston Neighborhood Partnership Steering Committee
    • Past Member
  • Champions of Children
    • Past Member

Representative Matters

  • Advised and represented financial institutions as lead lenders and participants in multimillion dollar complex commercial real estate loan transactions involving loan participations.
  • Counseled lender in a suite of commercial real estate loans involving ownership restructuring and refinancing of multiple vehicle dealerships.
  • Represented lender in providing phased financing for master planned subdivision development.
  • Represented developers in master planned communities, including crafting of deed restrictions and property owners’ association documents.
  • Advised lender in commercial real estate financing of multiple hotel properties on issues including ground lease, construction and debt restructure.
  • Represented financial institution in providing lines of credit for local governmental entities for disaster recovery needs.
  • Counseled financial institution in transaction involving issuance and purchase of municipal bonds.
  • Developed process and form documents for financial institution use in SBA PPP loans.
  • Provided guidance to financial institution in interpretation and application of SBA PPP loan regulations and procedural rules in real time as developed by government.