James McQuade


New York

James McQuade, an employment partner in the New York office, represents clients in high-stakes employment, trade secrets and restrictive covenant litigation throughout the United States. 

Jim's practice focuses on matters involving trade secret misappropriation and the enforcement of post-employment restrictions. Jim has conducted numerous temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction hearings in connection with these types of cases. Jim also has extensive experience defending employers on a broad range of employment matters, including whistleblowing, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination matters. 

In recognition of his career trade secrets and restrictive covenant work, Jim has been inducted into the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for Trade Secrets Litigation. Jim also serves as Co-Editor-In-Chief to Orrick's acclaimed Trade Secrets Watch blog.

  • Representative clients:

    • Microsoft. Jim recently represented Microsoft in connection with a lawsuit filed in federal court, seeking to enforce post-employment restrictive covenants against Microsoft’s newly-hired Chief Diversity Officer.
    • Applied Materials. Jim has secured temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions enforcing post-employment restrictive covenants and under the Defendant Trade Secrets Act in multiple federal court litigations for Applied Materials.
    • Worldwide Clothing and Accessories Retailer (U.S.). Jim successfully defended the retailer and its recently-hired Chief Marketing Officer in a case involving claims for breach of a non-compete provision and alleged misappropriation of trade secrets. 
    • Oracle.  Jim has represented Oracle in multiple trade secrets and restrictive covenant matters, including handling a full evidentiary hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction to enforce a non-compete agreement.
    • A Leading Investment Firm.  Jim represented a leading quantitative investment firm in connection with a lawsuit seeking to enforce a non-compete agreement against a newly-hired senior executive.  Following expedited discovery and a multi-day evidentiary hearing, the court issued an opinion and order reducing the length of the 24-month non-compete period to six months. 
    • Dow Chemical Company.  Jim obtained summary judgment on behalf of Dow Chemical Company in a complex disability discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court by a former employee.
    • Varian Medical Systems. Jim represented Varian in a trade secrets lawsuit filed against a former employee and was successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in that action.
    • AllianceBernstein. Jim represented AllianceBernstein in a FINRA arbitration against a group of former AllianceBernstein employees who created their own competitive investment advisory firm. The case, which included a full evidentiary hearing, involved claims for breaches of various post-employment restrictive covenants and misappropriation of trade secrets.
    • Professional Services Firm (UK). Jim successfully defended the fIrm and one of its executives in a lawsuit involving allegations of employee raiding and alleged breaches of various post-employment restrictive covenants.
    • Société Générale. Jim represented Société Générale in a FINRA arbitration proceeding brought against a former employee who allegedly breached his various post-employment restrictions and misappropriated trade secrets. Jim also successfully obtained a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction, enjoining the former employee from violating any of his post-employment restrictive covenants.
    • Wyeth/Pfizer. Jim successfully defended Wyeth/Pfizer in connection with eight related race discrimination cases filed in federal court, obtaining summary judgment in seven cases and obtaining a complete defense verdict following a two-week jury trial in one of the cases. He also successfully argued several of these cases on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Jim also represented Wyeth/Pfizer in several Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower litigations in federal court, including Livingston v. Wyeth, which was the first U.S. Court of Appeals decision on what constitutes protected activity under the whistleblower provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley.