James C. Chen

Area of Emphasis

Jim Chen is a shareholder in the Transportation Technology and Energy, Emerging Technologies, and Environmental groups.  Mr. Chen joined Babst Calland after more than a decade as an executive at several successful start-up electric vehicle manufacturers, notably as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Tesla, Inc. and as Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Regulatory Counsel at Rivian Automotive, LLC.  During that time period, he also served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at two other start-up manufacturers.  Prior to his in-house experience, Mr. Chen was a partner at two other AMLAW 100 law firms where his practice focused on product-related issues in the areas of automobile emissions and safety regulation, chemical and pesticide regulation, and general environmental and safety law.

Mr. Chen’s clients are entities in the transportation and energy industry focusing on alternative fuel powertrains, energy storage, energy delivery systems and semi-autonomous and autonomous driving technologies.  In addition, he has experience in business development matters including leading commercial deals for new sites/facilities.  Mr. Chen has an established track record of working across all levels of governments to achieve client objectives and goals; and has testified before Congress and numerous state legislatures, as well as interacted with executive levels of government in the U.S., Canada, and abroad.


Mr. Chen graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1988 and earned his Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University – School of Law in 1991.

Memberships and Affiliations

Mr. Chen is currently admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York (inactive).

Mr. Chen is active in the community serving as a patroller and immediate past Patrol Director for the Liberty Mountain Ski Resort in Carroll Valley, Pa. where he supports ensuring the safety of the skiing public while providing emergency medical assistance and transport off the slopes for injured guests.  He is also an active alumni with Case Western Reserve University – School of Law currently serving as a member of the Law School’s Scholarship Committee and having past served as a member of the Dean’s Council on Diversity.


  • Co-Panelist, “Asian Identity,” Case Western Reserve University School of Law for The Academy for Inclusive Leadership Development II, October 20, 2023.
  • Facilitator, “In-House Counsel Perspectives, Case Western Reserve University School of Law for The Academy for Inclusive Leadership Development II, October 19, 2023.
  • Presenter, “Keynote Address,” Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Cox International Law Center, September 28, 2023.
  • Commencement Speaker, Case Western Reserve University School of Law Graduating Ceremony, May 16, 2021.
  • Co-Presenter, “TECH Talk: Technology that Meets the Climate Challenge,” Climate Leadership Conference, March 6, 2020.