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James Geoffrey Durham

Professor Emeritus


School of Law


Email: James Durham


Before joining the School of Law faculty, James Durham taught law at the University of California at Davis School of Law and practiced law in San Francisco, concentrating in real estate transactions law. He enjoyed doing real estate transactions work because, to make a deal, no one loses. “You have to make it work for both parties,” he says. "I like solving problems and creating win-win situations."

Since coming to Dayton Law, Professor Durham has been elected Professor of the Year five times by Dayton Law students. Since 2003 he has been active in the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section. With ABA RPTE he has served as the Chair of the Ethics and Professionalism Committee, Chair of the Law Practice Management Group, and Chair of the Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group. He currently is one of the 24 members of the Council which oversees the operation of the 23,000 member section and he serves as Real Property Vice Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee which develops and presents live and online national CLE programs.

In addition, Professor Durham is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Attorneys (one of only 33 Ohio real estate attorneys so honored) and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. From 1997-2002 he was a member of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists, serving as Vice Chair in 2001 and Chair in 2002.

Among his publications are the 5th and 6th editions of Ohio Real Property Law and Practice, written for use by practitioners, as well as a casebook for use in advanced real estate transactions classes that emphasizes the practical aspects of real estate practice. In addition, Professor Durham has enjoyed the challenge of serving on the Planning Commission in the Dayton suburb in which he resides because it allows him to practice what he preaches. “It lets me take and deal with the practical application of what I teach my students,” he says. He feels that his work outside the classroom makes him better inside the classroom. “Rather than just teach law,” he says, “I prepare my students to practice law.”

Professor Durham retired from the University of Dayton School of Law in May 2018.

Courses Taught

LAW 6104 Real Property I
LAW 6804 Real Property II
LAW 6829 Professional Responsibility


J.D., University of California at Davis, 1976
B.A. with honors, University of California at Berkeley, 1973

Areas of Law

Real Estate Law
Land Use Planning
Legal Ethics

Selected Publications

Avoiding a Lawyers’ Race to the Foreclosure Bottom: Some Advice to Lawyers for Lenders and Borrowers on Their Roles in Foreclosure Litigation, 32 Northern Illinois Law Review 419-443 (2012).

The San Francisco Report:  “Foreclosure in California – A Crisis of Compliance” - A Nationally Significant Statistical Portrait Of Problems In The Foreclosure Process, Probate & Property, July/August 2012, pp. 22-26.

Is the ABA Ready for the Driver’s License Rule?  The Ethics 20/20 Commission Flirts with an Expanded Multijurisdictional Practice Rule, Probate & Property, November/December 2011, pp. 54-60.

Commercial Real Estate Transactions: A Project and Skills-Oriented Approach, LEXIS Law Publishing (with Stark, Cameron and White), 2nd ed. (2009)

Transfer Fee Rights: Is the Lure of Sharing in Future Appreciation a Flawed Concept? (with Bardwell), 21 Prob. & Prop. 24 (2007)

Multijurisdictional Real Estate Practice and Implementation of ABA Model Rules 5.5 and 8.5, ABA Real Property, Trust & Estates Section eReport (2007)

Ohio Real Property Law and Practice, 6th Edition (with Curry) (2006 and 2007)

Commercial Real Estate Transactions: A Project and Skill-Orient Approach (editor and coauthor with Cameron, Stark and White, LEXIS Law Publishing 2001)

Ohio Real Property Law and Practice, 5th Ed. (3 vols., with Curry, The Michie Company/LEXIS Law Publishing 1996 and 1997, with annual supplements)

Ohio Land Contract Law, 19 University of Dayton Law Review 563, 587 (with Curry, 1994)

Towards Resolving Prosecutor Conflicts of Interest, 6 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 415, 500 (with Brenner, 1993)

Ohio Land Contracts Revisited, 14 University of Dayton Law Review 451, 502 (1989)

Variances, The Law of Zoning and Planning 1-87 (Arden H. Rathkopf, ed., Clark Boardman 1988)

The Supreme Court Fails to Decide the Inverse Condemnation Issue: MacDonald, Sommer & Frates v. Yolo County, 32 Washington University Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law 69, 90 (1987)

MacDonald, Sommer & Frates v. Yolo County: The Supreme Court Again Dodges the Inverse Condemnation Issue, 9 Zoning and Planning Law Report 65, 72 (1986)

Reprinted as MacDonald v. Yolo County: Continuing Questions on Inverse Condemnation, Chapter 8 in 1987 Zoning and Planning Law Handbook (Gordon, ed. 1987)

Private Revitalization and Low-Income Housing, 9 Zoning and Planning Law Report 41, 47 (with Sheldon, 1986)

Reprinted as Housing in Gentrifying Areas: Social Benefits and Policy Options, Chapter 24 in 1987 Zoning and Planning Law Handbook (Gordon, ed. 1987)

Efficient Just Compensation: An Exchange of Views, 12 University of Dayton Law Review 45, 56 (with Gerla, 1986)

Mitigating the Effects of Private Revitalization on Housing for the Poor, 70 Marquette Law Review 1, 40 (with Sheldon, 1986)

Efficient Just Compensation as a Limit on Eminent Domain, 69 Minnesota Law Review 1277, 1313 (1985)

In Defense of Strict Foreclosure: A Legal and Economic Analysis of Mortgage Foreclosure, 36 South Carolina Law Review 461, 510 (1985)

Forfeiture of Residential Land Contracts in Ohio: The Need for Further Reform of a Reform Statute, 16 Akron Law Review 397, 446 (1983)