Prominent trial and complex business litigation attorney James Williams serves as the Seattle Office Managing Partner and Chair of the Business Litigation practice. In more than 30 years of courtroom victories, arbitrations, mediations and litigation management, James has continually prevailed for his clients and eliminated or reduced the risks triggered by lawsuits. He handles sophisticated allegations for plaintiffs or defendants related to breach of contract, fraud, product liability, corporate plaintiff asset recovery, consultant liability, consumer protection and unfair business practices, trade secrets, bankruptcy court adversary actions, Washington Public Records Act, and federal and state agency litigation.
Skilled at early case evaluation, value-driven pre-litigation resolutions and litigation management, James is as effective before a courtroom judge and jury as he is in settlement negotiations, arbitrations, mediations and other alternative dispute resolution forums. James focuses on the most influential case elements and measures to resolve disputes. These can include the development of compelling case themes and theories and strategic venue selection or the use of litigation tools such as videotaped depositions. James also has extensive experience in responding to subpoenas, preparing witnesses for depositions and preparing Rule 30(b)(6) witnesses as corporate representatives.
The strength and substance of James’ litigation style are evident in several dispute outcomes he has achieved. For example, in Stalwart Capital, LLC v. iCap Pacific Northwest Opportunity and Income Fund, LLC, et al., a matter involving federal court allegations of business fraud and deception by the entity and its owner, James turned around an unfavorable case and obtained a unanimous defense verdict after less than two hours of jury deliberations. In Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, 989 F.Supp.2d 1122 (2013), James achieved major change within the criminal judicial system in his successful representation in a “civil Gideon,” Section 1983 class action on behalf of indigent misdemeanor defendants seeking enforcement of their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. His other notable trial successes include Associated Grocers Inc. v. Alexander & Alexander of California Inc. (federal court jury verdict), Intermec, Inc. v. IBM Corporation (federal court jury verdict), and Campbell v. Abney Mills Corporation/Honeywell (state court jury verdict).
Legal Leadership and Pro Bono Practice
James’ professional leadership spans national, regional and local levels. As the Seattle Office Managing Partner, James helms the firm’s headquarters, its largest location, with over 300 lawyers and 600 staff. He has also served on the firmwide Executive Committee and Associate Evaluation Committee; as the first Chair of the firmwide Litigation Training Program and of the Community Service Committee; and as Chair of the Seattle Office Diversity Committee.
In the wider legal community, James is an elected member to The American Law Institute (ALI), Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws, has been a long-serving member for Washington to the ABA House of Delegates, and was elected by Washington State American Bar Association members as the State Delegate to the House of Delegates.
James was named one of the “Top 100 Super Lawyers” in Washington. One of only 100 lawyers selected nationwide, James was named an “Influencer” in law by The Business Journals in 2018 for his impact on the business and legal communities. He received the 2014 Champion for Justice Award by the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for the Wilbur class action litigation as well as accolades from the ACLU of WA, Loren Miller Bar Association and Washington Defenders Association. Additionally, James was recognized as an outstanding mentor by the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.
After graduating from The Citadel and University of Virginia School of Law, James served as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Air Force. In addition to the Wilbur impact litigation, James has led and contributed to numerous pro bono cases in the area of civil rights.
- Named an “Influencer” in law by The Business Journals, 2018
- Elected by Washington State ABA members as the State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, 2017
- Elected to The American Law Institute (ALI), Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws; The American Law Institute, Adviser, 2014
- Recipient of the 2014 American Civil Liberties Union of Washington’s Civil Libertarian Award for the Wilbur v. City of Mt. Vernon indigent right to counsel class action litigation
- Recipient of the 2014 President's Award by the Washington Defender Association for the Wilbur v. City of Mt. Vernon indigent right to counsel class action litigation
- Recipient of the 2014 Champion for Justice Award by the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for the Wilbur v. City of Mt. Vernon indigent right to counsel class action litigation
- Recipient of the 2014 Loren Miller Bar Association Social Justice Award for the Wilbur v. City of Mt. Vernon indigent right to counsel class action litigation
- 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
- Recipient of the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Outstanding Mentor Award, 2012
- Recipient of The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement, 2010
- Recipient of the Loren Miller Bar Association President's Award, 2008
- Selected for membership in The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, 2007
- Recipient of the WSBA President's Award, 2005
- Selected to serve Washington as an ABA House of Delegates Member, 2005 - 2011; 2015 - present
- 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; Litigation - Bankruptcy
- Listed in Corporate Counsel Edition of "Super Lawyers" in Business Litigation, 2008 - present
- Listed in Super Lawyers Magazine, “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
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Jury Trial Improvement Committee, 2016 - present
- 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 Standing Committee on the American Judicial System and Subcommittee on Federal Courts, 2016 - present
- ABA House of Delegates Minority Caucus Resolutions and Recommendations Committee, 2010 - 2011
- ABA House of Delegates Committee on Credentials and Admissions, 2008 - 2009
- American Lawyer Insurance Plans (formerly known as American Bar Insurance Plans Consultants, Inc.), Board of Directors, 2011 - 2016 (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
- The Seattle Foundation Board of Trustees, 2010 - 2014
- 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 - 2015 (see James' overview of Treehouse)
- Leadership Tomorrow, Class of 2000
- United States-Japan Foundation Young Leaders Project, Fellow, 2000 - 2001
- U.S. Air Force, Judge Advocate General's Corps, 1989 - 1993
- McNair Law Firm, Columbia, S.C., Staff Attorney, 1988 - 1989