James Stengel


New York

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 is "able to handle a wide range of mass torts and class actions, including particular strength in toxic tort-related mandates.” Clients told the publication that Jim “is extremely professional, with excellent brief writing and oral arguments,” calling him “a great guy and a great lawyer."  

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 as 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:

    • PFAS (Perflouralkyl substances) Litigation. Jim leads a team serving as national counsel to a defendant in the PFAS litigation in the MDL and a variety of other courts.
    • Climate Change Litigation. Jim is part of the Orrick team representing Marathon Oil Company in claims by both government and private entities relating to climate change as a result of the production and sale of fossil fuel products. These cases, which assert a variety of claims under private and public nuisance theories as well as products liability doctrines, are pending in a variety of courts across the country.
    • Supply Chain Human Rights Litigation. Jim is a senior member of the team representing a major technology company against claims that its purchase of lithium ion batteries subjected it to allegations of violating forced labor statutes in sub-Saharan African mining activities.
    • Johnson & Johnson Talc Litigation. Jim is a member of the Orrick team representing Johnson & Johnson in ongoing tort litigation related to use of its talc containing products.
    • 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.
    • 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.