JamesBurnham

Partner

Washington + 1.202.879.5429

James Burnham is an experienced litigator and legal strategist who has particular experience with high-stakes litigation involving government entities. As a senior Justice Department official, James led litigation teams in numerous cases of national importance at all levels of the judiciary, delivered over 30 arguments on behalf of the United States, and supervised complex individual and corporate investigations. He has been named a "D.C. Rising Star" by The National Law Journal.

As Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Federal Programs Branch, James was the federal government's principal advocate in district court, working closely with in-house counsel at virtually every federal agency. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Consumer Protection Branch, James served as the FDA's principal advocate in enforcement and defensive actions. And as Senior Associate Counsel to the President, James assisted in vetting and recommending judicial candidates to the President.

James rejoined Jones Day in 2021, where he previously represented clients at all levels of the judiciary. In the Supreme Court, James successfully represented Governor Bob McDonnell in McDonnell v. United States, a major challenge to the scope and validity of the federal corruption laws, and the Noel Canning Corporation in NLRB v. Noel Canning, a separation-of-powers challenge to the President's "recess" appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. James has also successfully tried two criminal cases, conducting direct and cross-examinations of witnesses at trial.

James is a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court.

Experience

  • Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell's corruption convictions unanimously vacated by Supreme Court and DOJ later drops caseIn a decisive victory for Jones Day client and former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell, the Supreme Court unanimously vacated Governor McDonnell's convictions for public corruption offenses, rejecting the Department of Justice's legal theory and holding that the instructions given to the jury were erroneously overbroad.
  • Noel Canning victorious as U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules to invalidate President Obama's 2012 recess appointments to NLRBIn a decisive victory for Jones Day client Noel Canning, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the President's three January 2012 recess appointments were unconstitutional under the Recess Appointments Clause.
  • Man charged with assault found not guilty following trialOn September 29, 2014, Judge Stephen Eilperin of the D.C. Superior Court found a Jones Day client not guilty of assault charges filed against him by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
  • Group of California public-school teachers granted certiorari in First Amendment case challenging mandatory union duesOn June 30, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to a group of public-school teachers represented by Jones Day.
  • Experian defends against series of nationwide class actions after breach of T-Mobile applicant dataJones Day defended Experian in series of nationwide class actions after breach of T-Mobile applicant data held by Experian company Decisioning Solutions, Inc.
  • Veteran successfully obtains firearm after attorneys establish lack of prior convictionOn August 30, 2013, Mr. Ronald Kelly, an honorably discharged United States Army veteran, successfully purchased a firearm after having been obstructed from doing so by the federal government.
  • EME Homer City secures major appellate victory in important Clean Air Act appealJones Day assisted EME Homer City Generation L.P. in securing an appellate victory in a case involving an important question of statutory interpretation under the Clean Air Act ("CAA").
  • Midwest Generation prevails on appeal of district court decision paring down Clean Air Act claim in DOJ suitJones Day assisted Midwest Generation, LLC ("Midwest Gen") and its parent, Edison Mission Energy ("EME"), in securing an appellate victory in a case involving an important question of statutory interpretation under the Clean Air Act ("CAA").
  • R.J. Reynolds wins summary judgment in settlement agreement enforcement proceeding against State of MississippiJones Day is defending R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in an action brought by the State of Mississippi in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi, alleging that RJRT violated its 1997 settlement agreement with the State.
  • Strong suppression motion results in prosecution's decision to drop highjacking chargeLocked up since May 2011, Mr. Mayes walked out of Cook County jail nearly a year later after he agreed to plead guilty to possession of a stolen motor vehicle, receiving a sentence of felony probation.
  • EME wins dismissal of putative class action alleging violations of Clean Air Act and state lawJones Day is defending EME Homer City Generation, L.P. ("EME"), an independent electrical power producer, in an action brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania by a putative class of private individuals.
  • EME obtains dismissal of federal suit alleging violations of Clean Air Act and related regulationsJones Day is defending EME Homer City Generation, L.P. ("EME"), an independent electrical power producer, in an action brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania by the Department of Justice and the States of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
  • Knoll resolves dispute involving cy pres fundsJones Day represented Knoll Pharmaceutical Company in connection with a dispute over the use of settlement cy pres funds.
  • Firestone Natural Rubber prevails in Seventh Circuit appeal of summary judgment in widely publicized case under Alien Tort StatuteOn July 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed an order granting summary judgment to Jones Day client Firestone Natural Rubber Company in a widely publicized case under the Alien Tort Statute.
  • Speaking Engagements

    • October 19, 2015
      Supreme Court Declines to Hear Blockbuster Insider Trading Case:What’s Next After United States v. Newman?, The Federalist Society
    • March 27, 2014
      President Obama's "Recess" Appointments: An Executive Power or Abuse of Power?, Georgetown Law School Symposium
    • February 21, 2011
      The Fast-Track Disparity: A Discussion of the Newest Frontier in Federal Sentencing Law