James Stengel represents clients in large, complex and multi-party class action litigation, including significant actions involving the chemical, building products and medical device industries. He also has significant experience representing Chinese companies in litigation in U.S. courts. 

Jim is consistently recognized as a leading lawyer in legal publications such as Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation.  Chambers notes Jim's work on asbestos claims and environmental contamination and cites sources who say he is "very smart, very tactical and very much a big-picture guy who knows how to get things done."  

Jim has served in a variety of management roles at Orrick, including Managing Director of Litigation, Member of the Executive Committee and Board, Lead Director, and, currently, a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

Jim has written and lectured on complex litigation and mass tort subjects at a variety of law schools and seminars.

Before joining Orrick, Jim was a partner at Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine LLP.

  • Jim has substantial experience in litigating, trying and resolving cases involving procedural and scientific complexity, cross border or multi-jurisdictional elements in Courts across the United States, among these are the following:

    • Chinese Drywall Litigation. Jim is a senior member of the team representing a number of defendants in the Federal MDL litigation regarding allegations of defective drywall manufactured in China. Most recently he successfully argued for the sovereign immunity of a top level, State Owned Enterprise under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.
    • Sun v. Sinopec. Jim led a team which was successful in obtaining a denial of all counts against units of Sinopec on grounds that RICO and the other legal regimes forming the base of the claims did not have extraterritorial application and that, therefore, actions in Hong Kong and the PRC would not support domestic claims in Federal Court.
    • Environmental Contamination Litigation. Jim has been involved in a number of cases involving allegations of contamination of air or water. Those cases have been successfully resolved following challenges to class certification.
    • Union Carbide Corporation. Jim is the leader of the Orrick team serving as National Counsel for Union Carbide in asbestos litigation.
    • The Dow Chemical Company. Representing The Dow Chemical Company with respect to claims relating to silicone breast implants manufactured by Dow Corning Corporation, Jim has served as the company’s lead litigation counsel in the Dow Corning Corporation reorganization and as its lead negotiator in the successful efforts to achieve a consensual resolution of that case. He also represents Dow Chemical in ongoing litigation related to the use of the herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
    • Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Jim represented the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust in litigation against the tobacco industry to recover tobacco’s share of liability to those injured by occupational and other exposure to asbestos.
    • Drexel Burnham Lambert. Jim was actively involved in litigation concerning individuals and entities in Drexel’s High-Yield Bond Department following Drexel’s collapse and the criminal proceedings involving Michael Milken. This representation included services as Defense Liaison Counsel in the consolidated MDL proceedings, which sought to coordinate the active litigation and, subsequently, the settlement of more than 180 separate class and derivative cases, including In re Michael Milken and Associates Securities Litigation, In the Matter of Trading by Certain Accounts, In the Matter of Certain Transactions by, through or in Conjunction with Drexel Burnham Lambert, and Presidential Life Ins. Co. v. Michael Milken.
    • Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS). Jim was counsel to WPPSS in civil and SEC proceedings arising out of its $2.25 billion municipal bond default including In re Washington Public Power Supply System Securities Litigation and In the Matter of Transactions in WPPSS Securities. Jim was also involved for 12 years in proceedings relating to the proper allocation of construction and financing costs among the five WPPSS nuclear projects in Bonneville Power Administration v. WPPSS and Chemical Bank.