James M. Burnham

James M. Burnham

Partner, Jones Day

Topics: Administrative Law & Regulation • Constitution • Criminal Law & Procedure • Election Law • Federalism • Federalism & Separation of Powers • First Amendment • Fourteenth Amendment • Fourth Amendment • Labor & Employment Law • Politics • Regulatory Transparency Project • Second Amendment • Supreme Court

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.

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.


A person listed as a contributor has spoken or otherwise participated in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations. A person's appearance on this list does not imply any other endorsement or relationship between the person and the Federalist Society. In most cases, the biographical information on a person's "contributor" page is provided directly by the person, and the Federalist Society does not edit or otherwise endorse that information. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues. All expressions of opinion by a contributor are those of the contributor.