LAWYER, FARMER, MAYOR
James Decker is a lawyer, farmer, and mayor in Stamford, Texas, and a shareholder in the Shahan Guevara Decker Arrott law firm. James represents rural property owners and business owners in a variety of legal matters, with a special focus on the intersection of estate planning, probate, and real estate law with agriculture and oil and gas concerns. James also represents several municipalities and political subdivisions and owns a title insurance company serving two rural West Texas counties.
James is a member of the American Agricultural Law Association, the State Bar of Texas John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course Planning Committee, the Texas Land Title Association, and the Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources and Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law sections of the State Bar of Texas.
Outside of the practice of law, James is a co-owner in his family’s commercial real estate, farming, and cattle operations. He is also an event chairman at the Texas Cowboy Reunion, vice president of the Stamford Art Foundation, president of the local economic development corporation, and a member of the Texas A&M College of Agriculture Development Council.
James is a 2006 Agribusiness graduate of Texas A&M University and a 2009 graduate of Texas Tech School of Law. James resides in Stamford with his wife Lauren, a rancher and field representative for Congressman Jodey Arrington, and their daughter.
What character traits make James stand out?
Trusted by the people of his town, which was solidified when they voted him in as mayor, James cares about providing great service to his clients and treating them as friends. As a lawyer at Shahan Guevara Decker & Arrott, James is part of a company that specializes in efficient, straightforward service for agricultural and rural clients. As he says, he represents the kind of people he enjoys being around.
How is he impacting rural America?
While still in the thirty-something club, James’ resume includes more accomplishments than most of us will achieve in a lifetime. James fulfilled his promise to return to his hometown of Stamford and serve as a leader in the community -- as a lawyer, providing representation to those in rural communities, and now most recently as mayor.
As someone with an agricultural business/economics background who was raised in and around production agriculture, James didn’t always know that he wanted to be a lawyer, but he did know that he wanted to be in the professional realm in rural West Texas. When he discovered a limited number of people involved in the law who had an innate understanding of how agriculture works and how its people tick, and very few ag lawyers with ag backgrounds, he saw a unique opportunity. As a lawyer he now works to help people with their various businesses and see the ins and outs of agriculture and real estate, oil, and gas—all different things that are engines of the rural economy.
His commitment to his hometown of Stamford, both before and after being elected mayor, stands second to none. From restoration of historic buildings to addressing the city’s water needs to helping revive the Texas Cowboy Reunion and the town’s historic theater, he’s had a hand in it all. And what he’s accomplishing in Stamford is setting an example for other rural towns all across America to follow.
James works tirelessly to build and advocate for a better future in rural America. He posts weekly essays about new ideas and vision for the revival of rural America in several Texas newspapers and on the Rural Revival website.