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James M. Burnham

Associate, Jones Day
James Burnham

James Burnham represents companies and individuals in civil and criminal litigation against the federal government, state governments, and other governmental entities. He has experience as both a trial lawyer and an appellate lawyer, having litigated high-stakes cases at every level of the judiciary.

Most recently, James successfully sought certiorari in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a major First Amendment challenge to the coerced payment of "agency fees" to public employee unions; that case will be argued in the upcoming Supreme Court Term. During the prior Supreme Court Term, he was the primary brief writer on behalf of the Noel Canning Corporation in its challenge to President Obama's "recess" appointments to the National Labor Relations Board — helping achieve a 9-0 victory at the Supreme Court.

James has delivered arguments in multiple appellate courts and trial courts, including before the en banc Seventh Circuit in a due process challenge to a $30 "user fee" imposed on people for the "service" of being arrested. He has conducted direct and cross-examinations at trials, including at one of the most notable criminal trials of 2014. He also recently co-chaired a criminal bench trial in D.C. Superior Court that resulted in a full acquittal.

James is a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, the Constitution Project's Young Professionals Committee and is a former lecturer-in-law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he co-taught a seminar on federal sentencing law.


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