Our Team

Is On Your Side

James T. McDermott2021-03-04T21:03:57+00:00
101 SW Main Street, Suite 1100
Portland, Oregon 97204
T : 503.944.6025 F: 503.295.1058
“We are aggressive and creative litigators who can take control of a case from the beginning, or in midstream, find its economic essentials and drive it to a successful conclusion for the client.”

James T. McDermott

Jim McDermott is the long-time head of the firm’s Litigation Department and is past chairman of the firm. Mr. McDermott is a commercial business litigator and trial lawyer who represents both plaintiffs and defendants in complex cases. He has tried scores of cases and argued appeals in federal and state courts throughout the country on a broad range of issues for nationally known public and private companies, small businesses, and individuals.

Chambers USA has recognized Mr. McDermott for many years as an industry leader, with peers highlighting his “tremendous” “presence in court,” along with his “forceful stance and impressive technical skills.” They have also called him a “very impressive lawyer” with an “extremely responsive, client-focused litigation management approach” who provides “smart advice that is always on the money,” and he is “on top of his game when it comes to strategy.”

Mr. McDermott has received the AV® Preeminent™ Rating from Martindale–Hubbell®. He has been consistently listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Litigation – Construction; Litigation – Insurance; and Litigation – Securities. He has been selected as an Oregon Super Lawyer, by Super Lawyers Magazine for well over a decade. Mr. McDermott has also been listed as one of “Oregon’s Top Rated Lawyers” by ALM Legal Leaders, published by The National Law JournalThe American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel magazine, affiliated with Martindale-Hubbell®.

Mr. McDermott has successfully tried cases involving a wide array of large-dollar commercial business disputes, with particular emphasis on corporate governance, construction, shareholders’ rights, professional liability, securities, regulatory, false claims, civil penalty actions, real estate, and insurance recovery. More recently, he has handled internal investigations for clients and represented individuals being investigated for, or charged with, financial crime. He has also successfully resolved claims and lawsuits in a wide range of insurance areas, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for clients from domestic and foreign insurers. His insurance recovery practice ranges from large-scale litigation on behalf of corporate policyholders under complex occurrence-based and claims-made coverages, to individual claims under property, disability, health, and other personal policies. Mr. McDermott likewise represents brokers and agents and reinsurance intermediaries – including some of the largest firms in the world – when they become enmeshed in coverage disputes and litigation.

Mr. McDermott also represents public officials in high stakes political investigations. Recent engagements include his representation of United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in the Congressional impeachment inquiry, as well as a former Governor in an ethics investigation.

Before joining Ball Janik in 1993, Mr. McDermott practiced with Covington & Burling, the largest law firm in Washington, DC, where he litigated, arbitrated, and tried cases across the country for five years. After earning his law degree from the University of Virginia, he served for one year as a judicial law clerk to Federal District Judge James L. Latchum in the District of Delaware.

Throughout his 35 year career, Mr. McDermott has lectured on a wide range of legal and business issues, taught trial practice courses, and authored articles on insurance coverage matters and construction issues. He has been appointed as an arbitrator and mediator in several cases and has served as an expert witness in attorneys’ fee disputes, insurance coverage cases, and construction cases. For the past two decades, Mr. McDermott has also served on many Judicial Screening Committees for several Oregon Governors.



  • J.D., 1985
    University of Virginia School of Law
    Member, Virginia Law Review
  • B.S., summa cum laude, Accounting, Law and Public Policy, 1982
    Syracuse University


  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • AV® Preeminent™ Rating
    Martindale–Hubbell®, American Registry
  • Chambers USA Industry Leader, Litigation/Commercial, 2009–2017
  • The Best Lawyers in America list since 2012
  • Recognized as one of “Oregon’s Top Rated Lawyers” in 2013 by The National Law JournalThe American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel magazine, published by ALM Legal Leaders, affiliated with Martindale–Hubbell®.
  • Oregon Super Lawyers list, 2006–2019
  • Recognized in 2013 Super Lawyers Business Edition, The List, Litigation
  • Named in the Irish Voice’s “2013 Irish Legal 100”