Jim Thomson is a shareholder and former president of Kennedy & Graven, Chartered.  He practices in the areas of Litigation, Land Use, and Local Government Law. 

Jim has over thirty years of experience in the areas of local government law, land use, and litigation.  He has been recognized by his peers as a Minnesota Super Lawyer since 2003.  He served as a deputy city attorney for the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, both in the Criminal Division (1976-78) and in the Civil Litigation Division (1978-82), where he focused on real property, eminent domain, construction, environmental, and land use litigation.  He also has served as the city attorney for the cities of Plymouth (1986-92) and Mounds View (1992-95).  Jim currently is the city attorney for the cities of Brooklyn Park, Oakdale, and Shakopee.  He is also a defense attorney for the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. 

Jim earned a B.A. degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1969, after which he served in Vietnam as a Marine Lieutenant.  Upon his discharge from the Marines in 1973, Jim entered law school at the University of San Diego where he served as editor-in-chief of the San Diego Law Review and graduated magna cum laude in 1976.

Among his many interests, Jim is an avid baseball fan and a former coach in the youth baseball and fastpitch softball programs for the City of Bloomington.  Jim also is an avid runner.  He is a former member of the U.S. Reserve Officers International Pentathlon Team and has completed over thirty marathons.  He also serves as a pro bono attorney for Volunteer Lawyers Network.

Jim has this to say about Kennedy & Graven:

In both my governmental law and litigation practices, I enjoy helping cities accomplish their goals and achieve what the city officials think is best for their city.



  • University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California
    • Juris Doctor magna cum laude – 1976
    • Law Review: University of San Diego Law Review, Editor-in-Chief, 1975
  • University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
    • Bachelor of Arts – 1969
    • Major: Sociology

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1976
  • Minnesota, 1982
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1982
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1976
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 1992
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1994

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of California, Member
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association, Member
  • Minnesota Association of City Attorneys, Member, Former President


  • Lecturer, Inverse Condemnation, Land Use, Governmental Liability, and Regulatory Takings, CLE

Honors and Awards

  • Minnesota Super Lawyer

Pro Bono Activities

  • Volunteer Lawyers Network

Published Works

  • Regulation of Churches after City of Borene v. Flores, Municipal Lawyer, September, 1997
  • Report of the Municipal Labor Relations Committee, 40A Municipal Law Review 13, 1977
  • Landlord Tort Liability in California, 12 San Diego L.Rev. 401, 19