Office: 303.327.1415

Jim Leh

jim leh

Jim retired after 27 years as a Colorado District Court judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District, 17 years of which he spent as Chief District Judge.

He presided over thousands of bench trials and hearings, and hundreds of jury trials. He also conducted numerous settlement conferences. In his last Judicial Performance Survey before stepping off the bench, 98% of the attorneys and 75% of non-attorneys surveyed favored his retention (compared to state-wide averages of 70% and 68%, respectively). He was a co-recipient of the Colorado Judicial Institute’s Judicial Excellence Award and the Colorado Judicial Department’s Outstanding Judicial Officer Award.

Drawing on his 27-year experience as a Colorado state trial court judge, Jim helps civil litigants to resolve their disputes through arbitration, mediation, and neutral case evaluation. As a judge, he presided over hundreds of bench and jury trials and facilitated hundreds of settlement conferences for cases assigned to other judges. He brings to his work those experiences as a neutral, as well as the ability to listen carefully and sympathetically to all litigants, analyze carefully their competing legal positions, and calmly cajole those parties and their lawyers toward settlement or reach fair and reasonable decisions.

Experience | Military Service | Education | Awards and Recognition
Community Service and Professional Involvement | Interests


  • Sole Practitioner, Law Office of James Leh, Sterling, CO.  Served as outside general counsel to closely-held company regarding its oil and gas interests, real estate holdings, and corporate issues. Practiced trusts and estates law. Represented indigent clients as court-appointed or pro bono counsel.
  • Chief District Judge, Thirteenth Judicial District, State of Colorado. In addition to fulfilling other duties of a District Judge, managed day-to-day operations of district and county court systems and probation office in seven-county area. Oversaw management and resolution of human resources issues involving judges and judicial and probation staff members. Served as member of Chief Judges’ Council and met routinly with the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court to address state-wide issues. Implemented Judicial Department’s pilot program to computerize court records years in advance of the remainder of state court system. One of the first districts to submit voluntarily to Colorado’s judicial evaluations program.
  • District Judge, Thirteenth Judicial District, State of Colorado. Trial judge in court of general jurisdiction. Handled civil, criminal, juvenile, and probate cases. Presided over thousands of bench trials and hearings, as well as hundreds of jury trials. Conducted numerous settlement conferences. In his last Judicial Performance Survey in 2004, 98% attorney approval rating and 75% non-attorney approval rating (compared to state-wide averages of 70% and 68%, respectively).
  • Partner, Arnold, Ross and Leh, Sterling, CO. Engaged in private practice in auto insurance defense and other commercial litigation, estate planning, probate, local government, real estate, and corporate law.
  • County Commissioner (part-time), Logan County, CO. Twice elected to represent one of three districts in the county. Accomplishments included improving in county commercial development, paving roads to agricultural operations, multiple expansions of county hospital expansion, and completion of senior center, and upgrading of county fair entertainment.
  • Logan County Attorney (part-time), Logan County, CO. Advised county commissioners in governmental matters and represented commissioners and county in litigation.
  • Partner, Wolvington and Leh, Sterling, CO. Engaged in private practice in domestic relations, criminal, and probate litigation; and real estate.
  • Sole Practitioner, Sterling, CO. Engaged in private practice in tax law; criminal, commercial, domestic relations and probate litigation.

 Military Service

  • Specialist 5, U.S. Army – Active Duty; Army Reserves/National Guard.


  • Princeton University, B.A., cum laude, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
    • Senior Thesis: “The Origins of Criminal Responsibility”
    • Student Assistant to sociology professor who conducted research into early impact of Brown v. Board of Education on community in North Carolina
  • Yale Law School, LLB
  • Co-Winner, Cardozo Prize for best brief in moot court competition

 Awards and Professional Recognition

  • Judicial Excellence Award, Colorado Judicial Institute – conferred on outstanding judges who:
    • Are innovators who are creative in dealing with the processes within the courtroom
    • Exemplify the highest standards of judicial excellence throughout a distinguished career
    • Display extraordinary courage, energy and tenacity in handling high profile, controversial, or difficult cases
    • Efficiently, expeditiously and objectively manage cases and dockets, and
    • Are recognized as respectful and even-handed, but in firm control of activities within the courtroom
  • Outstanding Judicial Officer, Colorado Judicial Department
  • Jacob V. Schaetzel Award, Colorado Bar Association – conferred on those lawyers and non-lawyers who have made significant contributions in the development of delivery systems for legal services to low-income citizens in Colorado
  • Citizen of the Year, Sterling Chamber of Commerce
  • Outstanding Young Man Award, Sterling Jaycees


 Community Service and Professional Involvement

  • Tenor, Sterling Master Chorale
  • Member,  Colorado Supreme Court committee to revise discovery rules for domestic relations cases (CRCP 16.2)
  • Member, Chief Judges Council. Met routinely with Chief Justice to address state-wide issues
  • Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Bar Association Lend-A-Lawyer Program
  • Board Member, Centennial Mental Health Center (Treasurer, President)
  • Member, Council of Governments (6 rural counties)
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association
  • Member, Thirteenth Judicial District Bar Association (President)


  • Running
  • Singing
  • Attending Operas
  • Listening to Jazz
  • Enjoying grandkids