James Jennings is a trial lawyer with more than 40 years’ experience in civil litigation in federal and state courts.

His practice focuses on commercial litigation, defending personal injury claims, product liability actions, toxic torts, and the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

James handles a wide range of cases for industrial, transportation, local government, and commercial clients throughout Virginia and in neighboring states. He is a past president of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, the Virginia chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, which is composed of select trial lawyers from the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

The Virginia Association of Defense Lawyers honored James with the 2014 Excellence in Civil Litigation Award. His previous awards include the Defense Research Institute’s Exceptional Service Award and being elected to the Virginia Law Foundation. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, Virginia Super Lawyers, Chambers USA-Leading Lawyer, and as a Legal Elite in Virginia Business magazine. James also holds a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review rating. In 2015, James received the Leaders in their Field distinction from Chambers USA. He is a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation.

The Texas native received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in 1965 and then entered the U.S. Navy. After his Naval service, he returned to the law school, where he served as an editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review, was inducted into the Order of the Coif, and graduated magna cum laude. He has been an adjunct professor at the Washington and Lee School of Law.

James served on Averett University’s Board of Trustees and has served in the community on the boards of directors of Downtown Roanoke Inc., Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, Opera Roanoke, and many others.


James has served in legal and leadership roles in the following organizations:

  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation—Fellow
  • American Board Trial Advocates—President, Virginia Chapter (1995-96)
  • America Inns of Court—Master of the Bench
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys—President (2001-02)
  • Defense Council Journal—Board of Editors (1986-88)
  • Defense Research Institute—Board of Directors (2001-03); Chairman, Railroad Law Committee (1984-87)
  • Federal Bar Association
  • International Association of Defense Council
  • Journal of Civil Litigation—Chairman, Board of Editors (1990-94)
  • Municipal Liability Reporter—Board of Editors (1990-93)
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Roanoke City Bar Association—Board of Directors (2002-04)
  • Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys—President (1988-89)
  • Virginia State Bar
  • Virginia Bar Association—Chairman, Committee on Professional Responsibility (1982-85)
  • Virginia Law Foundation—Fellow
  • Washington and Lee School of Law—Law Council (1995-98)

Thought Leadership


Lawyer case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by the lawyer.