Professional Biography
Image of James Zimmerman

James M. Zimmerman Partner

  • San Diego

    D +1.415.344.7052

    F +1.858.720.5799

    San Diego

    11452 El Camino Real, Suite 300

    San Diego, CA 92130-2080


  • Beijing

    T +86.10.6561.8188

    F +86.10.6561.6188


    25F Beijing Kerry Center South Tower, 1 Guang Hua Road, Chao Yang District




A prominent leader of Beijing’s American expatriate legal and business community, James Zimmerman counsels foreign companies on corporate, transactional, regulatory and litigation matters in China. Jim is the author of the ABA’s China Law Deskbook (1999, 2005, 2010, 2015), which is the go-to legal reference for companies conducting business in China. He was elected to four terms as chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce China and currently serves as its chairman emeritus.

Jim has been practicing law for 30 years and has lived and worked in China since 1998. Jim has amassed industry experience that ranges from hospitality, automotive, aviation and infrastructure construction to high technology, medical devices and pharmaceutical, petroleum and financial services. Jim helps clients overcome the complexities of doing business in China’s rapidly expanding market. Jim also advises Chinese-based companies. He guides clients in navigating domestic regulatory regimes; securing approvals from the government; and enlisting the support of government authorities for modifications and enhancements to prevailing legal processes, standards and measures.

Jim has received long-standing recognition as one of China’s leading business lawyers from such publications as the Asialaw Leading Lawyers Survey, in the areas of Chinese law, dispute resolution and general corporate law, and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: The Guide to Asia’s Commercial Law Firms in the area of corporate/M&A for foreign law firms in China. Jim is an in-demand presenter, media commentator and author on issues related to U.S.-China relations and the operational environment for foreign companies conducting business in China, and his Op-ed articles have been published in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the South China Morning Post, the China Daily and the ChinaFile.

Professional Recognition

  • Ranked by AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers Survey as a leading business lawyer in Asia in the categories of Chinese Law, Dispute Resolution and General Corporate Law, 2006 - 2009
  • Named as a leading individual in the category of Corporate and M&A for foreign law firms in China by Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2004 - 2010
  • Listed in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyer for Arbitration, 2006 - 2008




Bar and Court Admissions

  • California
  • Registered Foreign Lawyer with the Chinese Ministry of Justice
  • U.S. Court of International Trade


  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., 1987
  • University of California, Irvine, M.B.A., 1984
  • University of California, Irvine, B.A., 1982