Jim Bennett is one of the United States’ most experienced and accomplished first chair trial lawyers. He has successfully defended dozens of “bet the company” cases (including numerous billion-dollar and multi-hundred-million-dollar matters) for Fortune 500 companies. He has successfully prosecuted plaintiffs’ claims, recovering over $250 million for corporate and individual clients, and he repeatedly has obtained defense verdicts for corporate clients.
Jim has managed and tried complex cases in virtually every practice area, including patent, trade secrets, and other intellectual property disputes, securities class actions, false claims act cases, professional malpractice, products liability, insurance coverage and bad faith, employment discrimination and sexual harassment, inverse condemnation and governmental liability, trade defamation and libel, distribution and channel disputes and innumerable other commercial matters involving issues of contract interpretation and breach.
He has tried cases in involving a broad range of industries and technologies, including banking, finance and real estate, manufacturing, telecommunications, cell phones, semiconductors, and software, cryptocurrency, biotechnology and medical devices, accounting, products liability, construction, and other fields.
Jim has tried cases in federal and state courts, throughout the United States, and before domestic and international arbitration forums.
Jim’s accomplishments as lead trial counsel include the following:
- Successfully defended JDS Uniphase in the trial of the most significant securities class action ever tried in the U.S., obtaining a defense verdict of a $20 billion claim.
- Successfully represented a cryptocurrency inventor in a billion-dollar arbitral dispute with the company he founded.
- Successfully defended Ernst and Young in a professional malpractice case relating to the Madoff fraud—the only Madoff-related case ever taken to trial.
- Successfully defended Maxxam Corporation and its subsidiary Pacific Lumber Group against a $300 million False Claims Act case believed to be the largest FCA case ever tried in the Northern District of California.
- Successfully defended two back-to-back $100 million claims for theft of trade secrets and employee raiding against a major US Title Company by its principal competitor.
- Successfully defended Altera Corporation in a series of lawsuits and U.S. International Trade Commission proceedings brought against it by its principal competitor.
- Secured a $32.5 million judgment for Altera Corporation against a competitor in the only case ever tried under The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act (“The Mask Works Statute”)
- Secured a verdict resulting in a $40-million award for Paine Webber in a bad faith case against its insurer, which included what was at the time the largest punitive damage award returned by the San Francisco Superior Court.
- Secured a liability verdict resulting in a $50-million settlement on behalf of plaintiffs who had sued the State of California and Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties for damages caused by the 1995 flooding of the Pajaro River.
- Successfully represented a medical device inventor against the company that he had founded, and which later attempted to misappropriate his invention.
Jim prides himself on his ability to evaluate cases accurately and try them effectively. In the last 20 years, Jim has “parachuted” into numerous cases within weeks or months of trial, often working with co-counsel who have previously litigated the case. Jim has consistently delivered excellent results for his clients.
Jim has maintained an active pro bono and public interest practice. Most recently, Jim and his Norton Law Firm partner, George Harris, working with the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP), following a lengthy evidentiary hearing, successfully secured the exoneration of a client who had been wrongfully incarcerated for 29 years and then immediately negotiated an 8-figure settlement on his behalf—one of the largest civil wrongful conviction settlements ever obtained.
Jim appreciates the responsibility that trial lawyers assume on behalf of their clients. The trial of a client’s most important matter is not a lawyer PR or business opportunity. It requires the ultimate commitment and skill at trial and sober and mature advice beforehand.
Bottom line, Jim’s objective in every case he handles is to deliver the best result possible in the most economical manner possible for clients. He’s done it throughout his career and knows how to do it.
Jim is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and an Associate member of ABOTA. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his many trial successes.
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D.
- University of California, Berkeley, B.S.
Honors and Awards
- Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers
- Associate Member of The American Board of Trial Advocates
- California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award (2008)
- Northern California Super Lawyer, 2004-2020, 2022