Several times a year, Jim has been asked to present, moderate and participate in numerous panel discussions and seminars throughout the country with other judges and lawyers on current topics of interest to the legal community. Most recently, Jim conducted a one-hour “live” web broadcast seminar on the topic of New Rules in Gatekeeping: Jurisdiction and Venue to more than 1,200 federal judges participating in the online broadcast.
In conjunction with the Practising Law Institute, Jim was the Chair of 2013 California Trial Evidence program in October, 2013. The program was a day-long legal educational curriculum, focusing on the recent case law and statutory developments in the law of trial evidence.
Wagstaffe is a cutting edge litigator with broad range experience spanning strategic and procedural expertise to electronic discovery and ethics, to representing the State Bar of California in constitutional matters. Additionally, he heads up his firm’s appellate practice and is considered one of the most sought after First Amendment/defamation lawyers in the country.
Complementing his vast courtroom experience, Jim has authored and co-authored a number of publications, including the widely used Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial; a three-volume publication considered the nation’s leading practice guide on federal court practice. In addition, Wagstaffe is an adjunct professor in constitutional law and civil procedure at Hastings College of the Law and in Media Law at San Francisco State University.
Jim’s reputation as litigator is exemplified by his frequent retention in high stakes cases where his strategic and procedural expertise is particularly invaluable. For instance, this past year Jim represented lawyers and law firms in high level trials, obtaining a $5 million jury judgment for a law firm partner suing for breach of contract, and also successfully defending at trial a lawyer/Trustee sued for over $100 million by disgruntled beneficiaries.
Jim’s practice includes substantial work on virtual world issues, including electronic discovery, related legal ethics questions, and Wi-Fi technology. He was the successful lead attorney in the seminal e-discovery case, Qualcomm, Inc. v. Bathchelder et al., 327 Fed. Appx. 877 (Fed. Cir. 2008). Several years ago he began representing the Australian government in high profile litigation involving the patent for indoor wireless technology. See Microsoft Corp. v. Commonwealth Scientific and Indus. Research Organisation, 297 Fed. Appx. 970 (Fed. Cir. 2008). Jim and the firm continue to represent the Australian government in litigation over its WiFi patents.
The State Bar of California has looked to Jim for over 15 years to handle its most challenging cases, including those raising serious constitutional issues. For example, Jim recently successfully argued the arguing the high-profile in re Garcia case before the California Supreme Court. In Warden v. State Bar of California, 21 Cal.4th 628 (1999), Jim also represented the Bar in a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs alleged the exemptions from the MCLE (continuing education) program were unconstitutional. The matter went up to the California Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Bar.
Jim is considered one of the most sought after First Amendment/defamation lawyers in the country. He has represented broadcasters, newspapers, magazines, celebrities and public officials, as well as a host of others – both as plaintiff and defendant. He has been the lawyer on many of the leading anti-SLAPP cases in California and has tried more defamation cases to trial than perhaps any attorney in the state. Jim’s First Amendment and media experience is exemplified by his successful defense of The New Yorker Magazine in the libel trial Masson v. New Yorker, 832 F. Supp. 1350 (N.D. Cal. 1993), aff’d 85 F.3d 1394 (9th Cir. 1996).
In addition to his leadership as a trial lawyer, Jim heads up the firm’s appellate practice. Jim handles appeals in both state and federal courts, representing clients seeking to affirm a favorable trial court decision as well as those whose goal it is to obtain a reversal. Jim has established an enviable track record on appeal and has led the way in a number of groundbreaking decisions. For example, Jim has numerous recent appellate victories for governmental parties including achieving a total victory in a multi-million dollar takings case for the City of San Rafael MHC v. San Rafael, 714 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2013) obtaining an affirmance of a civil rights dismissal, Douglas v. Town of Portola Valley, (9th Cir. 2012) 468 Fed. Appx. 728, and a CEQA victory for the City of Redwood City in Wilson & Wilson v. City Council of Redwood City, (2011) 191 Cal. App. 4th 1559.
In Kremen v. Cohen, 337 F 3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2003), Jim secured a sweeping victory from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a landmark decision with far reaching implications in all areas of domain name registration and Internet infrastructure. Similarly, in Theofel v. Farey Jones, 359 F.3d 1066 (9th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 813 (2004), Jim succeeded in obtaining a reversal of the district court’s dismissal of his clients’ lawsuit in a published decision that established new boundaries on subpoenas aimed at email communications.
Businesses, individual, and government entities and agencies, and notably, other lawyers, are among the many clients who seek out Jim to represent them at trial and on appeal. See, e.g., Lintz v. Lintz, 222 Cal.App.4th 1346 (2014) (leading case in state on defamatory capacity); In re Apple, Device Address Book Litigation (2014) (appointed lead attorney in nationwide class action); In re Cathode Ray Tube Antitrust litigation (2013) (attorneys for Dell Computer in national class action); In his almost three decades of appellate experience, Jim has represented parties and amici on appeal in matters involving constitutional and civil rights claims, defamation cases, environmental/CEQA, probate disputes, securities fraud, and consumer rights, just to name a few. A listing of Jim’s appellate cases is set forth below.
Aside from his vast courtroom experience, Jim has authored and co-authored a number of publications, including the widely used Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial (TRG 2013 – Three Volumes, 3,500 pages, cited in over 1,000 published decisions), the nation’s leading practice guide on federal court practice. Jim’s other publications include: California Trial Evidence (Practising Law Institute; Litigation and Administrative Practice Course Handbook Series) (PLI 2013); Game Changers: New Federal Rule Amendments (Thomson Reuters 2011); California Legal Ethics (TRG 1999); Commencing and Removing Actions to Federal Court (TRG 1986); “Much Ado About Doe Defendants,” 5 Cal. Lawyer, No. 9; and “Life After Remand” Federal Litigation. In addition to his legal publications, Jim authored Romancing the Room (Random House), a spirited step-by-step guide to effective public speaking. He also was a contributing author with Donald Trump, Larry King, and Ira Glass, among others, to The Expert’s Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do (Clarkson Potter 2004).
Jim is committed to sharing his knowledge and experience with judges, lawyers and students alike. He has served as an instructor at the Federal Judicial Center’s annual “New Judges Workshop” since 1990, educating newly appointed federal judges on all aspects of federal procedure. Throughout the year, Jim has been asked to present, moderate and participate in panel discussions and seminars throughout the country with other judges and lawyers on current topics of interest to the legal community. In conjunction with the Practising Law Institute, Jim was the Chair of 2013 California Trial Evidence program in October, 2013. This program was a day-long legal educational program focusing on the recent case law and statutory developments in the law of trial evidence.
A listing of a representative sampling of Jim’s presentations is set forth below. In addition, Jim is an adjunct professor in constitutional law and civil procedure at Hastings College of the Law and in Media Law at San Francisco State University. He has also taught the Practical Speech Communication course at Stanford University for over 30 years.
This past year, Jim was appointed to serve as a member and Chair of the Federal Judicial Center Foundation Board by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
In 2009 and 2011, Jim was selected by the students at Hastings College of the Law as the Teacher of the Year and was chosen each year to be the graduation speaker at commencement. In 2011, Jim won the Federal Judicial Center’s Judge John R. Brown Award for Judicial Scholarship and Education, recognizing Jim as the top teacher in the country of federal judges.
Jim has also received numerous awards and recognition for his legal work. For example, in 2005, he received a Peabody Award for his legal counsel on the documentary “The DNA Project.” In December 1999, California Lawyer named him as one of its Top Twenty Lawyers of the Year, followed by his selection each years as a Super Lawyer, an honor given to the top 5% of attorneys practicing in Northern California. And in 1991, Jim received the prestigious James Madison Freedom of Information Award from The Society of Professional Journalists.