The law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is pleased to announce that R. James “Jim” Nicholson has joined the firm as senior counsel. His practice areas will include public policy, health care, international law, state and federal regulatory law, real estate, oil and gas, and alternative energy. Secretary Nicholson will begin work at the firm’s Washington office on February 1.
“I am enthused to join this prestigious law firm, which is so highly respected around the country for the quality and breadth of its legal work," said Nicholson.
Nicholson served most recently as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, having been confirmed on January 26, 2005 by a unanimous vote of the Senate. As Secretary, he was responsible for the second largest department of government with more than 250,000 employees and a budget of $77 billion. Nicholson is credited with affecting major reforms at the VA including the transformation of the information technology (IT) and security systems, an overhaul of the VA’s vast contracting and acquisition systems, and real estate management and construction programs. He also launched initiatives to eradicate staph infections in VA hospitals and greatly expanded the VA’s health care capabilities.
“We are grateful for Jim's many years of public service and we know that his tremendous experience in the public arena will make him a great new addition to our team,” said Norman Brownstein, chairman of the firm.
Prior to his tenure at the VA, Nicholson served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. As the representative of the president and the people of the United States at the Vatican, he gave special focus to the issues of human trafficking, religious freedom, starvation and biotech food, HIV-AIDS, and international terrorism. In October 2003, Pope John Paul II knighted Nicholson for his leadership on human rights issues.
In January 1997, Nicholson was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. During his four-year tenure, the Republican Party, for the first time in 50 years, won the White House, both houses of the U. S. Congress, a majority of state governorships, and a majority of State legislatures.
In the early ‘70’s, Nicholson practiced law as a partner of a well-known Denver firm. In 1978, he established Nicholson Enterprises, Inc., which he built into a nationally recognized land development and home building company, earning a reputation for quality land use planning with a keen balance between growth and environmental sensitivity.
Nicholson served as a commissioner on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission. He was a director of St. Mary Land and Exploration Company, a director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado, Inc., and chairman of the board of the Volunteers of America of Colorado. Currently, he serves as director of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.; The Daniels Fund; Federated Funds; and is a fellow of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Nicholson is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was an Army Ranger in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantry Badge for his service in combat. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of colonel. In May 2005, he was recognized with the Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy Award.
Nicholson earned a master of arts degree from Columbia University and a law degree from the University of Denver College of Law.