James F. Jorden

james.jorden dbr.com
Phone: (202) 230-5228 (202) 230-5228


James F. Jorden represents many of the country’s largest financial institutions in securities, corporate, and pension litigation. He is experienced in national class action litigation, having served as lead or associate counsel in more than 100 securities, insurance, RICO, and other class actions. Over the past 20 years, Jim has been lead trial counsel in more than 50 individual cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He has argued before the United States Supreme Court, eight of the U.S. circuit courts, and numerous state courts of appeal.

Jim is regularly retained as senior counsel by national insurance companies, mutual funds, and banks, and he has represented industry groups on complex commercial litigation matters. In addition to his trial and appellate practice, Jim represents clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, and state regulatory agencies. Jim has lectured widely on corporate, securities, and employee benefit litigation and authored numerous articles on class actions and trial practice.

Jim has substantial experience representing his life insurance company clients as lead counsel in reinsurance disputes, including representation in contested arbitrations on behalf of both cedents and reinsurers. He also represents his insurance company clients in numerous state and federal regulatory hearings and multi-state market conduct examinations.

Jim served in the U.S. Army, First Aviation Brigade, Vietnam.


  • Served as lead defense counsel in a nationwide class action involving allegations of misrepresentation in the marketing of annuity products. The case expanded to cover other sales policies and practices becoming one of the largest class actions against a life insurer. Jim obtained a defense verdict after a three-week jury trial.
  • Lead defense counsel in six of the most significant federal court of appeals and state supreme court victories involving class actions in the life insurance industry.
  • In a suit alleging policy rate discrimination against more than 1.4 million putative class members, Jim defeated class certification in both the district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. 
  • Served as lead defense counsel in more than a dozen multidistrict litigation proceedings involving the sale of annuities.
  • As lead counsel for an insurer during a six-week jury trial involving a complex joint venture contract, Jim obtained a defense verdict and a counterclaim award for his client in excess of $70 million.
  • Recently represented a group of independent marketing organizations in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Labor’s “fiduciary” definition and standards under ERISA.

  • Co­-author of the “Trial Preparation and Presentations” chapter of the Thompson Reuters seven-volume treatise on Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel (2012).
  • Co-author of the Handbook on ERISA Litigation published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers (1992) (4th ed. 2015).


Named a Client Service All­-Star and one of the top “Go­-To” lawyers in a 2016 BTI Survey of Fortune 1000 companies

Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)


Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida


  • George Washington University, LL.B., Editor, George Washington Review
  • Dickinson College, B.A.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Claims Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida


  • Association of Life Insurance Counsel, Board of Governors, Securities Section Chair
  • ALI CLE Commercial Law, Advisory Panel, Bankruptcy and Insurance Law
  • Founder and Chairman, Annual ALI CLE Conference on Securities, Tax and ERISA Issues Affecting Insurance Companies
  • Founder and Chairman, Annual ALI CLE Conference on Life and Health Insurance Litigation
  • District of Columbia Bar Association, Past-Chairman, Division of Corporation, Finance and Securities Law
  • American Bar Association, Past Chairman, ABA Insurance Section's Committee on Employee Benefits; Corporation, Banking, and Business Law Section's Subcommittee on Securities Activities of Insurance Companies; ERISA Litigation Subcommittee; Member, Litigation and Taxation Sections
  • The American Law Institute
  • The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • The Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
  • National Learning Center in Washington, Past-Chairman