James Sigel is a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Appellate and Supreme Court practice. James briefs and argues complex appeals for clients nationwide. He has particular experience in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and in the California state appellate courts, having argued more than a dozen times in those courts. Clients call him “wicked smart in understanding all the nuances of cases,” and say he “has this way of zeroing in on the heart of a case and reframing it so that your position becomes impossible to reject” (Chambers USA).
James has handled appeals in many areas of law, including class actions, securities, antitrust, contracts, false advertising, and environmental regulation. He has filed over a 100 briefs in federal and state appellate courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits, as well as the New York and California state courts.
James is an experienced appellate advocate on the west coast, where he clerked on both the Ninth Circuit and the California Supreme Court. His successful oral argument in the Ninth Circuit resulted in a victory for his client UPS in False Claims Act litigation that had been ongoing for more than a decade. Among James’s other victories, he has defeated multiple class actions against a leading consumer electronics corporation, secured a win for a major beverage company defending against a monopolization claim, and prevailed in another antitrust claim involving an alleged conspiracy in the shipment industry.
James has authored more than a dozen briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on constitutional and statutory interpretation issues important to businesses. James led the briefing on two merits cases during a recent Supreme Court term: Thole v. U.S. Bank and Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian. Law360 named Thole as among the “biggest ERISA rulings” and Christian as one of the “biggest environmental law decisions” of the year.
James is the lead editor of Morrison & Foerster’s Left Coast Appeals blog, which keeps tabs on the Ninth Circuit and its decisions. He is also a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and he serves on the Advisory Council of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society.
James maintains an active pro bono practice, having briefed and argued appeals involving constitutional, criminal, and immigration issues.
Before joining Morrison and Foerster, James clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Before the Supreme Court, James clerked for Judge David Tatel on the D.C. Circuit, Justice Goodwin Liu on the California Supreme Court, and Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the Ninth Circuit.
James graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a Notes Editor of The Harvard Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Economics.
Legal 500 US