James Kezele practices in the firm's Real Estate and Environmental Groups where he represents public and private companies and municipalities to ensure compliance with state and federal environmental laws and regulations.

James routinely counsels clients through transactions involving the purchase and sale of contaminated properties, and has significant experience evaluating environmental due diligence investigations including Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, and other regulatory due diligence. James also counsels clients through voluntary remediation and Brownfield redevelopment, including under Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) and Kentucky’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program. 

James has significant experience counseling clients on the Clean Air Act and state air pollution laws as well as on the processes for applying for, negotiating the terms of, and complying with various environmental permits, including Title V permits, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits, and NPDES wastewater permits. James also advises his clients on environmental regulatory program specific to their businesses, and work with his clients to implement operational and compliance strategies.

James also regularly works with clients to perform facility or programmatic environmental audits and prepare for facility inspections and develop regulatory responses. He also advises clients on mineral leasing.

Prior to joining KMK, James was an associate for a mid-sized law firm in Cincinnati, Ohio and was a member of the firm’s litigation group. There, James advised and represented clients with respect to environmental litigation, labor and employment law, transportation law, and general commercial litigation. Prior to law school James served as a Paralegal Specialist for the United States Department of Justice - Environment & Natural Resources Division where he gained valuable experience in environmental compliance and environmental litigation. 

Professional and Community Involvement

Cincinnati Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee, Chair  

Kentucky Bar Association

Northern Kentucky Bar Association

Ohio State Bar Association

American Bar Association

Josh Cares, Board Member (2018-2021; Chair: 2019-2021), Junior Board (2016-2017)

Volunteer Soccer Coach (2016-2019)

Awards & Recognition

Leadership Cincinnati, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Class XLIV

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, 2021-2023

Named to Ohio Rising Stars, 2017-2024

Named to Cincy Leading Lawyers, 2023

Dean Lisa A. Kloppenberg Outstanding Student, University of Dayton School of Law, 2012

Presidential Scholarship and CALI Awards for Excellence in obtaining the highest grade in Civil Trial Lab; Interviewing, Counseling & Negotiation; Cybersecurity National Security Law; and Capstone: Cybersecurity Law.

  • 2022 Best Lawyers One to Watch
  • Super Lawyers (Don't Delete)
  • Cincy Leading Lawyers

News & Resources

Speaking Engagements


Blog Posts


  • Ohio
  • Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky


J.D., University of Dayton School of Law, 2012

B.A., Claremont McKenna College, 2007

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