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James F. Williams



James Williams is a partner in the firm's Litigation practice. He has been trying cases and managing litigation for over 25 years as a government attorney and a private practitioner. James graduated in 1985 from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, with honors, and earned his law degree in 1988 from the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school, he served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Air Force before moving to Seattle and joining Perkins Coie in 1993. His practice involves complex business litigation and civil trials (see a sample opening statement), with a focus on contract disputes, mass torts defense, corporate plaintiff asset recovery, consultant liability, consumer protection and unfair business practices, trade secrets, bankruptcy court adversary actions, and federal and state agency litigation.

James has served on the firmwide Executive Committee and Associate Evaluation Committee, and has chaired the firmwide Litigation Training Program, Community Service Committee, Women and Minority Lawyers Committee, as well as the Seattle Office United Way Campaign. 

Professional Recognition

  • Elected to the American Law Institute, 2014
  • Selected as a recipient of the 2013 Perkins Coie Annual Pro Bono Leadership Award for the Wilbur v. City of Mt. Vernon indigent right to counsel class action litigation
  • Selected as the recipient of the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Outstanding Mentor Award, 2012
  • Selected as a recipient of The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement, 2010
  • Selected as the recipient of the Loren Miller Bar Association President's Award, 2008
  • Selected for membership in The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, 2007
  • Selected as the recipient of the WSBA President's Award, 2005
  • Selected to serve Washington as an ABA House of Delegates Member, 2005 - 2011
  • Selected by the ABA as a Business Law Ambassador, 2004 - 2006
  • Selected as a faculty member for “WSBA's Best of CLE 2004” based on instructor evaluations
  • Selected for “40 under 40,” a profile of young leaders in the business community demonstrating vision and innovation, Puget Sound Business Journal, 2002
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2010 - present: Commercial Litigation
  • Listed in Corporate Counsel Edition of "Super Lawyers" in Business Litigation, 2008 - present
  • Listed in Washington Law & Politics, “Washington’s Super Lawyers,” 2001 - present, and selected as one of "The Top 100 Super Lawyers"
  • Listed in Washington Law & Politics, “Rising Stars,” 2000
  • Listed in Seattle Business, “Best Lawyers in the Business,” 2012 - 2013

Professional Leadership

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Lawyer Representative to Judicial Conference, 2011 - 2013
  • U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Western District of Washington, 2004, 2012
  • ABA House of Delegates Minority Caucus Resolutions and Recommendations Committee, 2010 - 2011
  • ABA House of Delegates Committee on Credentials and Admissions, 2008 - 2009
  • American Bar Insurance Plans Consultants, Inc., Board of Directors, 2011 - present (sale of comprehensive major medical, long-term care, Medicare supplement, partners' universal and variable life and car insurance to American lawyers)
  • WSBA Leadership Institute (WLI), Inaugural Chair and creator of WLI policies and procedures, mission statement, and training curriculum, 2004 - 2009; Co-Chair, 2012 - present
  • Loren Miller Bar Association (Washington affiliate of the National Bar Association), President, 1998 - 1999; Judicial Screening Committee, Chair, 2000 - 2005; Brown v. Board of Education Celebration Committee, Chair, 2004
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Legal Committee
  • King County Bar Association, Judicial Screening Committee
  • Dwyer Inn of Court Founding Member
  • Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington, CLE Committee Co-Chair, 2006

Community Involvement

  • The Seattle Foundation Board of Trustees, 2010 - present
  • YMCA of Greater Seattle A.K. Guy Awards Committee, 2009 - 2012
  • King County Charter Review Commission, 2007
  • United Way of King County Campaign Cabinet, 2004 - 2005
  • Treehouse (nonprofit resource for abused and neglected children in foster care), Board Member, 2000 - present (see James' overview of Treehouse)
  • Leadership Tomorrow, Class of 2000
  • United States-Japan Foundation Young Leaders Project, Fellow, 2000 - 2001
  • Seattle High School Minority Youth Forum on Ebonics

Related Employment

  • U.S. Air Force, Judge Advocate General's Corps, 1989 - 1993
  • McNair Law Firm, Columbia, S.C., Staff Attorney, 1988 - 1989

View James making the opening argument at a civil trial


  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1988
    Executive Editor, Virginia Journal of International Law
  • The Citadel, B.A., Political Science, with honors, 1985

Bar Admissions

  • Washington

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit