Experienced Trial Lawyer James Fitzgerald Joins Akin Gump in Los Angeles

(Los Angeles) – Akin Gump today announced that James E. Fitzgerald has joined the firm as a partner in its litigation practice in Los Angeles. Mr. Fitzgerald, who has tried more than 40 trials in federal and state courts over the course of his career and handled more than 20 arbitrations, comes to Akin Gump from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

Mr. Fitzgerald has a broad-based complex litigation practice focused on representing insurance companies in a wide range of cases against them, defending professionals (officers and directors, attorneys and accountants) and handling complex commercial cases and arbitrations in a variety of forums.

Among his career successes are defending major insurers in a $1.4 billion first- and third-party coverage and bad faith environmental insurance coverage case in a Texas state court that included a companion California state action arising out of California Superfund sites, as well as leading a successful prosecution of an insurance coverage case on behalf of a policyholder drug manufacturer that resulted in a reported California Supreme Court case defining the law on lost insurance policies. Mr. Fitzgerald also spearheaded a federal national fraud case involving the sale of hundreds of fake workers compensation policies that were marketed nationally and that prompted companion criminal investigations by several state agencies, ultimately ending in favorable settlements for the clients on the eve of trial.

“Jim is a fantastic addition to our firm, who brings tremendous talent and depth to our West Coast litigation practice,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “His depth of skills, record of success across venues and substantial experience in an industry—insurance—where many of our clients reside make him an excellent complement to our California and firmwide litigation teams.”

In addition to his work in the insurance space, Mr. Fitzgerald advises major corporations in connection with internal corporate investigations concerning both civil and criminal liability. Among his matters in this area, he served as lead counsel to a major bank in a $200 million claim brought by a film distributor over the financing of a dozen films, resulting in a seven-week arbitration before the Independent Film and Television Alliance. The case ended with a defense verdict and a $10 million attorneys’ fee award in favor of the client.

“As an accomplished litigator with decades of experience, Jim is a perfect fit for our practice,” said Stephen M. Baldini, head of Akin Gump’s litigation practice. “He has had great success vigorously representing sophisticated clients in business-critical trials and arbitrations, and I’m excited to see him bring his trial skills to bear on behalf of our clients.”

“This move to Akin Gump presents me with a great opportunity to team up with some of the firm’s outstanding lawyers,” said Mr. Fitzgerald. “The group already in place is superb, having been involved with some high-stakes national class actions with very successful outcomes. I look forward to joining the team and continuing the record of success.”

Outside of the office, Mr. Fitzgerald serves as an instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and often speaks on general litigation/trial skills and various aspects of insurance law, including coverage, bad faith and claims handling.

Mr. Fitzgerald received a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.S.B.A. from Georgetown University School of Business.

About Akin Gump’s Litigation Practice

Akin Gump’s commercial litigation representations include nationwide class actions, parallel civil and administrative proceedings, and multidistrict and multistate litigation. The firm’s lawyers have the capabilities, experience and skills to successfully guide clients through nationwide disputes, while, at the same time, understanding the unique aspects of local court systems. Akin Gump’s insurance litigators successfully represent life insurance, health insurance, property/casualty insurance and reinsurance companies in cases challenging a wide array of alleged conduct under an equally broad number of legal theories. The firm also engages in litigation, arbitration and counseling on behalf of clients involved in all manner of reinsurance and insurance insolvency disputes.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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